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„Cooking with the Snowmads“ is our new series about Food and Recipes from all over the World.

As Van Life, Traveling and Cooking go Hand in Hand we think it’s a Topic that might be interesting for you. Let’s cook a real Iranian Classic today: Lubia Polo

As we love to travel to Iran we got to know and love the Iranian Cuisine, so we want to bring you one of our favorite recipes.
The Iranian way of cooking is pretty simple in its ingredients yet amazingly complex in its taste and so is Lubia Polo, which simply translates to „Bean Rice“. Seeing the Ingredients maybe you would think to yourself „How could this turn into something special?“ But then you take the time and passion for the process as the Iranians do and in the end you’ll be stunned of how little things you need to create an amazing tasty meal.

What you need

1 Onion

500g Green Beans (best fresh ones, but frozen ones work as well)

2 1/2 cups of rice (Persian rice is perfect for this dish if you can get hold of it, or any other good medium to long grain white rice)

1 tea spoon of tumeric powder at least 1/2 a tea spoon of bloomed saffron

500g pure tomato sauce

Potatoes (optional)

If you’re lucky enough to find a Persian market close by you can easily get your Iranian ingredients there – a couple minutes of intense Persian experience inclusive. 😉

Fabi on a market in Teheran…

How the magic happens

You begin by frying the diced onions in oil until they get some color and add the turmeric powder and the green beans. The tumeric powder is important for the final taste of the Lubia Polo so don’t be shy on using it. The beans should start to get a glassy bright green color when you add the tomato sauce, usually you will use tomato sauce from a can or glass. If its a really thick sauce, pour some water in the can or glass to get the rest of the sauce out and make the sauce more liquid. You don’t wanna make a soup, but it shouldn’t be too thick in order to not burn in your pan. You let that cook for some ten to fifteen minutes if you’re using fresh beans, if its frozen beans that reduces the cooking time to around 5 minutes. Add some salt and let the sauce sit in the pan.

Meanwhile bring some water (about 1 1/2 to double the amount of rice) to boil, add the rinsed rice and let that simmer until the rice is al dente, which means that if you take one grain of rice between your fingernails the middle of the grain should still be a little hard. The Iranians are true masters in cooking rice and one of the many secrets is simply to rinse the rice before cooking to get rid of the starch around the grains. Pour the rice and water through a sieve. After around ten minutes, depending on which rice you use pour the rice and water into a sieve.

„Thadig“ Iranian rice cooking magic

Now the stacking of the rice and the bean/tomato sauce starts, which is probably the crux in the whole process. For that you use a deep pot, pour some oil in and put it on low to medium heat. Cause now another speciality of the Iranian rice cooking magic can be achived, the so called „Tahdig“ It means that in the bottom of the pot you get a amazingly tasty crust of rice, that if you got it right once you ask yourself why you would ever cook rice without Tahdig again. Optionally before you put the rice in the oil you can put thin sliced potatos, which would make for an Potato Tahdig, but to get that right its even more difficult than a plain Rice Tahdig, we ourselves still struggle with that, so probably start with rice only. Put a layer of around 2 to 3 thumbs thick of rice into the pot, take the bean and tomato sauce and stack that on top of the rice, also 2 to 3 thumbs thick. Continue with layering until the sauce and rice is finished, the rice should be the last layer. With every layer of rice you put in pour some blossomed saffron over the rice. „Blossomed“ here means that you put the saffron in some water and let it simmer on low heat for some minutes. Saffron can be amazingly expensive in some countries, so how much you’ll use will be depending on where you live or your budget. Generally we would say the more the better. It’ll give the typical taste of Persia, as Iranians use literally tons of it.

When you ́re finished with the stacking put a cotton kitchen towel around the lid of the pot, which will help to keep the steam inside the pot, so the before „al dente“ rice will be steamed to finish. Leave the pot on a small to medium heat for some 30 minutes while not letting the steam escape by opening the lid many times, which is another secret to a perfect rice. The crux here is to get the rice finished without the Tahdig at the bottom getting burned, you’ll probably need some tries to get it right, but if you do you’ll know that it was worth it. After around 30 minutes you can open the lid and check if the rice is finished and if it is you can stir and mix the rice with the bean/tomato sauce, The rice will get a beautiful yellow and red color and the aromas of sauce, rice and saffron will have merged.

Lubia Polo traditionally is a side dish, we recommend some white bread to go with it, best coming from a wood fire oven, maybe some salad. As there are often vegetarians under us we most of the time cook without meat, if you don’t wanna dispense on meat, you can put it in the bean/tomato sauce, traditionally Iranians use lamp for their Lubia Polo.

Enjoy! And „Nush e jahn!“ -Farsi for „enjoy your meal“, which translates to „Nourish your soul“

We’re curious on your Lubia Polo experience – you’re very welcome to send us a photo or tag @snowmads on Instagram.

Video Recommendation:
Happy camping, happy cooking and good times in the Snowmads Truck

Photo Credits
Florian Breitenberger
Anjuna Hartmann

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The Roots of Snowmads – Interview with Markus Ascher

Ever wondered how the whole Snowmads idea started?
Markus Ascher is talking about the first steps, how things developed and about the process of refurbishing the old fire truck. Read the full story now!

Markus „Moggä“ Ascher, skier, life artist and Snowmad from the very beginning! Moggä introduced the idea of combining skiing and vanlife with „Blacky“ , his 4wd Mercedes van. When Fabi came up with the idea of refurbishing an old fire truck, he didn’t hesitate to join the project and play an important role in the whole process of turning an old fire truck into an outstanding and unique vehicle to travel the world with. 

From your perspective: when and where would you say Snowmads was born? 

I guess I can’t name this one specific birth date or place, it was more like a years long process leading up to what Snowmads is today.
If you go all the way back the idea of chasing the snow and exploring mountains in a camper van started with a trip to Switzerland where Fabi, Matthias Egger and Jonas Blum, a swiss photographer borrowed the Volkswagen van of Fabis parents, in lack of money for hotels. We were freezing our asses off in the van because we neither had a heating system nor did we have good sleeping bags with minus 10 degrees outside. I remember Matthi saying „Moggä, i think my nose is frozen“ while shivering next to me in the middle of the night. Nevertheless we had some of the most amazing days of tree runs in that Swiss valley – thanks to a nice lady called „Chrige“ who we met in the gondola. She let us sleep on the floor in her living room, I don’t know if we could have made the whole week in the camper… That was in 2011 and we definitely learned that for winter camping you need a proper vehicle. We didn’t have that, neither did we have the money to buy it or the knowledge to build one. But the plant was seeded so to say and after some more years it started flowering.

The very first vehicle that later turned into a Snowmads Van – Moggäs „Blacky“
The Mercedes LAF1113 that would later become the Snowmads Truck

Moggä, we need to build another van like yours, but bigger and for more people“. 

How did the whole idea of building the Snowmads-Truck develop? 

It probably started with a phone call from Fabi some weeks after he, unexpected for almost everyone, quit the Freeride World Tour in 2015. He called and said „Moggä, we need to build another van like yours, but bigger and for more people“. 

Two or three years before that Fabi went on a six months road trip to climb, fly and ski with an almost falling apart standard camper van you can find in every camp ground, which him and two friends Leo and Domi bought for around 5000 Euros. They drove from Austria all the way to Kirgistan, learned how to travel big distances and to live on the road – even with a far from perfect vehicle for those dusty dirtroads. I remember when Fabi told me that one time their engine dropped down onto the road in the Kirgistan no mans land. When they came back the car was a total wreck for european standards. But Fabi still says it was one of his best trips.
Meanwhile I had rebuilt myself an old fire fighter truck with the goal to build a winter camping van which turned out really nice. The inspiration came from a 3 months surf trip to Portugal with my girlfriend in a super small and really basic van, just big enough for the two of us and no luxury whatsoever. We saw a lot of surf bums living at the beaches in their big, old Mercedes Trucks. Rusty, but luxury villas compared to our Renault Espace, some of them even had wood stoves inside.

The idea to bring that surfing lifestyle to the mountains fascinated me. So the idea for my second, now bigger van was born.

Surf vibes in Portugal and Moggäs Renault Espace
Truck and project became way bigger than expected!

The idea to bring that surfing lifestyle to the mountains fascinated me. So the idea for my second, now bigger van was born. I finished it just the same season as Fabi had his short stint on the Freeride Worldtour and it was his second FWT stop in Andorra coming up. We decided to drive to the Pyrenees one week before the contest to visit Aymar Navarro and we had an amazing time! Camping in the parking lot and skiing really nice lines in front of our door. When Fabi and Aymar left for Andorra and the competition Fabi already was like „Man, I really don’t feel like competition,  I would much rather stay here“ But yeah, usually when you’ve qualified for the tour, you just go there because as a freerider its one of the best opportunities to make it as a professional. Not so Fabi and when we had a chat on the phone the next day he was really considering quitting the tour – one day later he was already sitting in the bus on his way home. Of course we were far from being the only ones quite stunned by Fabis move to quit the world tour at the second stop in his first year. His explanation blog post reached a lot of people and gave everyone to understand that he wants to explore the world outside the contest scene. That was also the time when that „Moggä, we need to build a bigger van“ phone call happened… We were still talking about a „van“ back then.

Slightly turning into mechanics…

From a crazy idea to suddenly having bought an old fire truck – what happened in-between? 

From the idea to buying the truck it was just one and a half months actually. We quickly saw that with buying and rebuilding a simple van we ́ll never be able to fit eight people plus equipment and necessities like water and food and make that vehicle drive well in the offroads. So we came to a Mercedes Truck from 1985 that was actually used as a lorry in gravel pits and construction yards to carry heavy loads on heavy roads. You don’t see them a lot here in Europe anymore, in the east, specially Iran, you do a lot. If you see them here they’re mainly rebuilt into expedition trucks, cause they’re one of the most reliable vehicles you can think of. Really basic, but really well built. Fabi was just on a filming trip in Alaska with Legs of Steel and we were talking a lot on Skype, when I found the right model of the truck for sale on a scrapyard in Hamburg. Ready to be shipped to Africa, thats what usually happens to them when they get discharged from European Fire Departments with usually really little kilometers on them.

Fabi getting to know the Truck from the inside

The Snowmads Truck had 33.000km on it. The Price and condition of the Truck was too good to let it go, even though we had no fixed plan for the further rebuilding. So I took the train there and bought it for Fabi. It took one more month that he actually saw what he had just bought. Fun fact: None of us was even allowed to drive it, cause it is a Truck with more than 7,5 Tons and neither Fabi or me had the license for that.

Finally allowed to drive a Truck – Fabi and his brand new driving license

We talked to many people and companies if they would help us build the truck and quite a few of them told us, especially when we told them details, that we are crazy and would have no chance to do that with our amount of money.

The long process of refurbishing the old fire truck and finally hitting the road for the first time with the Snowmads-Truck. How would you describe that time? 

Woah that was crazy! Fabi once said that was probably the most exhausting time in his life. As I said, when we bought the truck we didn’t have a fixed plan and none of us had ever build something like that. We just had the experience and blueprint of my van, but the truck was an incomparably bigger project. The idea to buy the truck, put it in front of my house and rebuild it like I basically did with my van was not possible with that one, for once just because of its sheer size. We talked to many people and companies if they would help us build the truck and quite a few of them told us, especially when we told them details, that we are crazy and would have no chance to do that with our amount of money. Luckily Fabis‘ manager Karin of NINE&ONE had a lot of trust in our crazy idea and also Fabis‘ long time sponsors Red Bull and Scott where willing to join the adventure. But still we were far from being on a paved road and the rebuilding turned out to be 6 months of craziness that would actually fill another blog post. But in the end the truck turned out to be amazing! 

„With passion you can achieve a lot that is  thought to be impossible – and we definitely have a lot of passion! „

What do you connect with Snowmads? Which values? What kind of lifestyle? 

I guess the story of how it was born shows quite a lot of what Snowmads is.  It’s about realizing things you dream of, even when it seems unreachable or even impossible. I guess we learned that from skiing, just because no one has done a line you feel absolutely good with doesn’t mean it’s not possible – even if there will be people telling you that it is. When we came up with the idea of the truck and especially details about it, for example the fact that we wanted to insulate it with sheep wool cause we like natural materials, many people and even offroad camper building experts told us we were idiots. Most of them didn’t even believe we would be able to build something like a functioning truck in the first place, cause of too little money, not enough time and too little knowledge.

„One of the essences of Snowmads: going on adventures that are deemed impossible for whatever reasons

Probably you’ll always have those reactions… But yeah, with passion you can achieve a lot that is  thought to impossible – and we definitely have a lot of passion! Thats probably one of the essences of Snowmads, going on adventures that are deemed impossible for whatever reasons. I can tell you, buidling the truck was not the last time we got a lot of questionmarks on faces for our ideas… Generally we all love to be outside in the nature, the mountains, we love to ski, love to explore remote places and cultures and make deep connections with the people and places we meet. And we try to do all of that with open hearts and minds. I can tell you it was a crazy but beautiful ride till now and I’m looking forward to what’s still to come! 

… and finally a paint job! Our good friend Julian Vogel did all the art work for our Truck
Somewhere in Iran…

Want to know more about Markus „Moggä“ Ascher? Check out his episode from our webisode Snowmads Home Stories!

Photo Credits
Florian Breitenberger
Marco Freudenreich
Fabian Lentsch
Markus Ascher
NINE&ONE

Thank you!

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Snowmads – Sense of Home FULL MOVIE out now

Good news and good content for tough times and long days at home!

Dear Snowmads Friends,
We really hope this finds you well and healthy!
It’s a tough and uncertain time for everyone of us and still or especially now we feel it would be a good time to look back and share some nice content. Time to appreciate insane winter days, be thankful and dream away.
But not to forget: Look forward to good times in the mountains – mountain days will be back, that’s for sure! 
Let’s spread the word, stay healthy, lean back and enjoy „Snowmads – Sense of Home“. 

During the film festival season last fall our latest NINE&ONE production toured across Europe. Now we’re grateful to announce that „Snowmads – Sense of Home“ will be available on the Snowmads YouTube channel now.

Watch the full movie, subscribe for the Snowmads YouTube channel and never ever miss out on any Snowmads action anymore.

Professional freeskiers Fabian Lentsch, Markus Ascher and Roman Rohrmoser spend a winter at home in the Alps, experience enormous amounts of snow and describe their feelings and perspectives of „Home“. What is home for well travelled pro skiers, how does it feel for them and is home really connected to one specific location? 

Snowmads – Sense of Home is a short movie about one of the best winters Austria has seen in recent years, about discovering Austria with the Snowmads Truck, friendship and three different perspectives on home. 

A NINE&ONE production
Produced by Karin Lechner
Directed by Marco Freudenreich 

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Snowmads – Sense of Home

The latest Snowmads / NINE&ONE production out now

Professional freeskiers Fabian Lentsch, Markus Ascher and Roman Rohrmoser spend a winter at home in the Alps, experience enormous amounts of snow and describe their feelings and perspectives of „Home“. What is home for well travelled pro skiers, how does it feel for them and is home really connected to one specific location? 

Snowmads – Sense of Home is a short movie about one of the best winters Austria has seen in recent years, about discovering Austria with the Snowmads Truck, friendship and three different perspectives on home. 

After big trips to Iran and Greece in the last years, Fabi and his Snowmads buddies decided to spend most of this winter at home in the Austrian mountains, touring around with the Snowmads Truck and chasing the perfect powder. The luck was definitely on their side as Austria’s seen one of the best winters since many years.

A NINE&ONE production
Produced by Karin Lechner
Directed by Marco Freudenreich 

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Snowmads Home Stories – Markus Ascher

Get to know our good friend Markus „Moggä“ Ascher

„Markus Ascher, aka Moggä, is one of my closest friends. We have had countless skiing missions together, his van „Blacky“ was the inspiration for the Snowmads truck, we did the rebuilding of the truck together and have driven it to Iran, Georgia and Greece in the past years. So many good memories that bind us together. I am stoked that in the Snowmads Home Stories episode Nr.1 you’ll get to know this special human a little bit better. Thanks for your friendship, Moggä!“
Fabi

Markus Ascher

Skier, traveler, explorer. People call him Fabi, he’s the head of the Snowmads idea. 

People call him Fabi, he’s the head of the Snowmads idea, the one with the crazy ideas of traveling to places far away and a professional skier with an aim for big and steep lines. A humble and open minded person, a traveler and explorer, always on the hunt for new lines in places no one has ever been skiing before. Paragliding, biking, mountaineering, surfing and recently martial arts and skateboarding are what the Innsbruck based Austrian is doing when not driving the Snowmads Truck or skiing wild terrain. 

Snowmads Films: A Journey Towards Eastern Suns, Ya Mas
Social Links: Facebook, Instagram

»For me Snowmads is a way of life, there are no boundaries. You can do what you want.«

Markus
Ascher

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Fresh Tracks in Iran

Good times and fresh snow in the Iranian mountains

What happens when you take an old fire truck and refurbish it into the ultimate ski-mobile, pack it full with professional skier Fabian Lentsch and his crew of Snowmads , and hit the road on a massive road trip in search of powder? The absolute journey of a lifetime! In this episode the boys head to Iran and meet up with some of the locals to claim some fresh tracks and good times on the mountain.

Journey to the Persian Gulf 

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Big Mountain Dream Lines 

Perfect days in Georgia

After a long and arduous journey searching for snow, the boys finally hit the jackpot in Mestia, Georgia. They were greeted by a heli, and immediately set out for the steepest and deepest lines they could find for an all-time big mountain session.