Elena Koenz embarked on a road trip to Greece for snowboarding and split boarding. She's joined by two other rad girls - Mirte and Valerie. Read about they're amazing journey below!
Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
We are Elena Könz, Valerie Schlieper and Mirte van Dijk and we all used to be snowboard team riders. It was time for a post-lockdown adventure, one that we initially wanted to do in 2020 and we finally made it to Greece this winter!
Vale: 33, from Germany, living in Munich
I'm an art director and designer. Through my passion for surfing, snowboarding and design I'm lucky to work with a wide range of media and companies within the board-sports community. I love to combine my surfing, snowboarding and visual skills to create inspiring content in front and behind the scenes.
Elena: 34, from Switzerland, living in Flims
I’m a snowboarder and an artist. I did ride slopestyle and big air competitions in the past. Now I love to go touring and ride pow and do anything creative and fun with my snowboard. I also work as a coach for the Freestyle Academy in Laax.
Mirte: 37, from The Netherlands, living in Spain
I’m a strategic text writer and editor but also write a good amount of travel stories. The stories are mostly about snowboarding, the remote life, hiking and camping. Photography is another passion of mine and has now become part of my job.
When did you first hear about Mizu and what made you do a MIZU Mission?
My oldest Mizu bottle is quite a few years old now and it’s been on many adventures with me. A good Mizu bottle is just essential for any mission.
I heard about Mizu when it first entered the market in The Netherlands during my time as Editor in chief of Taste Snowboard Magazine. It was a unique addition to the market and your vision fitted in with all the aspects that nature lovers value. I started working together with Mizu straight away. It must have been eight or nine years ago!
Where did the Mission take you and why did you choose this destination?
The MISSION took us to the mountains and coastal paths of Greece! We started off in Munich (Germany) and drove to the South of Italy where we continued by boat to Greece. For over ten days we travelled the curvy roads, from water to snow. Greece has it all when it comes to outdoor activities, whether you want to go mountain biking, snowboarding, climbing, surfing, or kitesurfing. Greece delivers!
Can you share a few highlights with us?
The number one highlight was our visit to Vasilitsa Ski Resort. It’s a beautiful, remote place, nestled deep in the Pindus Mountain range. We noticed that most people were snowboarding and there was an amazing community that welcomed you wherever you came from, showing you around the mountain as if it was their home.
Another highlight was cruising down the coastline from Igoumenitsa to find countless surf spots. It’s easy to park and sleep with the camper van and besides, who doesn’t love a sunset followed by a sunrise by the horizon?
Something to mention as well is how welcoming the Greek people are. They speak English, they want to help you, they like to tell you stories about their country, they show interest in why you visit Greece, and they make you feel very welcomed. The best hosts!
What inspires you to get outdoors and explore?
Vale: I just can’t be inside for too long; I need the outdoors to recharge, feel grounded and get inspired to be able to work. After I have been on my computer for too long there’s this urge to go outside and I can’t resist it. The fact that I love any kind of weather definitely helps.
I have always liked to spend time outdoors and explore. It’s a great way to learn about nature but also to learn about yourself. Whether it’s your backyard or a brand new place - snowboarding always brings me to the most amazing places that often leave me speechless.
Nature is something powerful and we are only a small part of it but yet it influences us a lot. Personally, I love to challenge myself and overcome the power of nature. Exploring new places, meeting unique people, and experiencing different things is the best way to get something rich out of life.
Reusing can be hard while on the go. Do you have any tips to help make going reusable a little bit easier while on the road?
Vale: Actually, I think once you’ve set your mind to it, reusing makes being on the road much easier. Limited space makes you aware of the trash you produce and having to carry around with you. It’s annoying to find trash on the road! Reusable products make it much easier.
Even the simplest way to adjust your routine while traveling (or at home for that matter) can help the nature we love. So, using Mizu products is already a great start.
What was your favourite MIZU product/s on this mission and why?
Vale: I love the D10!
Elena: The tumbler 10 for coffee and the D7 insulated bottle for the warm tee I like to take with me when I go snowboarding.
My all-time favourite is the D7 or D10 bottle. It goes wherever I go, and I even use it at home every day. The water stays hot for twelve hours and warm for up to twenty-four! A warm cup of tea saved me many times from a down moment while being on the road!
What does “Enjoy the journey, leave nothing behind” mean to you?
Easy one! We must protect and be mindful of nature and our surroundings (and each other). Be invisible. Nobody will notice that you were there if you leave no trace. Enjoy your journey in what is the most valuable in our world, nature. But treat it with respect!
Do you have advice for others to inspire them to continue their own mission in reducing single-use plastics?
Vale: Educate yourself! Don’t use single use plastic! Not only is it bad for the environment but it’s usually layered with PFAS chemicals which are one of the most toxic chemicals there are. If you don’t do it for the environment, do it for your own health.
Ask the locals if you can drink tap water. You can in Greece.
Nothing that you probably haven’t heard already, but that doesn’t make it less true; doing something is always better than doing nothing. So, please stop buying drinks in plastic bottles. It’s the easiest way to start reducing and reusing.