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Meant to shine An interview with Tijn Vuijk | part 2

Words: Cem Tanyeri
Art Direction: Stefan Kuil
Openingsphoto by Paul de Groot

Every once in a while, we all bump into a special person. Someone that’s inspiring and has a great story to tell. Young, energetic and armed with a care-free, ‘no guts no glory’ approach to life.
Tijn Vuijk, for us, ticks all the required boxes to star in UpprValley’s very first personal interview.
In Part 1 she will takes us behind the screens of the life of a professional Freeride Skier and in Part 2 we will venture down a more spiritual slope.
We hope you will enjoy her story and let us know how you feel about it.

This is part 2 of our interview with Tijn. You can catch up on part 1 here.

Name: Tijn Vuijk
Age: 27
Sport: Freeride skiing

Daily Occupation: Running my own catering business “Catering Het Kookstel

Sponsors: Patagonia, Black Crows Skis, Astis and Poederbaas

Other Passions in life: food, psychology and yoga

Website url:
Instagram url:

Current ranking at the freeride world qualifier:

As if you are not busy enough, you also run a successful catering gig called ‘Het Kookstel’, Tell us more!?

Yes, besides skiing I run my own catering business. Is started this business 2 years ago while I was studying. I do all kinds of catering work but mainly weddings. Weddings are mostly in summer so that goes well with my skiing. Big family style dinners are my specialty. I love to see people sharing food. I think presentation is my biggest strength.

How do you combine these two different worlds?

It’s pretty easy to combine as I can manage my own schedule. During the summer I am really busy with catering and have enough work for two people. On the other hand in winter I FREEride. If I have any big events I come back to Amsterdam to cater but otherwise I prefer to stay in the mountains and train.

During my studies I also chose subjects that did not obligate me to be stuck at University so I could ski all winter and just come back in time for exams. I am really grateful that the Dutch government and my father were willing to help me with my studies.

How and when did you start skiing?

My parents really spoiled me, I was able to ski 4 weeks a year in Verbier. They provided me with everything to become a good skier, equipment, lessons etc. I’m really blessed that I grew up having these possibilities. I started skiing around the same time I was able to walk.

It seems that once you’ve decided you want to reach a goal, you just go for it, isn’t there anything that scares you or slows you down?

Not really… I just go for it! If I break a leg it happens for a reason and therefore I can explore many other things in life and develop other parts of myself.

What’s your favourite food?

Breakfast is my favourite… Just yogurt with fruit, oatmeal with almond milk or an avocado-spinach-date-banana-shake.

FIH fotografie

Do you have a recipe you want to share?

Of course! My own version of ‘melanzane alla parmigiana’. Its a lasagne without gluten and meat. You can transport the ingredients quite easily if you have a long trip as the ingredients are not too perishable. I always bring it with me if we drive to the Alps as we don’t want to spend too much money and time at the local supermarket.

For 4 servings

3 eggplants thinly sliced

250 gr of mozzarella really thinly sliced.

700 ml of your favourite tomato sauce. If you are in a hurry buy one a good quality one from the supermarket. (Grand’Italia sugocasa herbe for example)

One big hand of basil leaves

200 gr of grated parmesan cheese

Variation: add some fried spinach to the layers.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Take a baking tray and start making layers. Start with some tomato sauce, put a layer of eggplant slices, a layer of tomato sauce (use just a little tomato sauce, just cover the eggplant layers slightly), layer of mozzarella (just a little, not fully covered), some basil leaves. Start again with eggplant, tomato sauce, parmesan cheese or mozzarella, basil and so on. End with eggplant, tomato sauce and top with parmesan cheese.

Put in the oven for 35 minutes or until the eggplant is soft)

Serve with a rocket salad with balsamic cream!

You really live your life to the fullest, what is your driving force?

“If you think, think big” is one of my mottos.

I want to make people more conscious about what they are doing and why are they doing it. Do they work for a corporation because it’s what their environment expect from them? Or is it what they really want and what makes them really happy. I hope I inspire people. I want to show that it is also possible to ski 6 months or even the whole year if you really want to.

My goal is to become a “free” person. Somebody who can live without being judgemental, afraid and opinionated about other people’s beliefs. A good example is overcoming fear. Fear is something that makes me imprisoned.
Which means that I need to overcome fear so I can live more freely. I believe in faith and I think that everything happens for a reason. This way of thinking helps me a lot. I often ask myself why certain things cross my path and what I can from those things. This way you can grow from every situation. Growth is very important for me, it never gets boring.

This has turned into a deep and profound interview, do you have a tip on how to start chasing your dreams?

I suggest starting a dream book. Every New Year’s evening, write down what your dreams are for the coming year and where you want to be in five years. What do you want to do in life? If you write it down it becomes a commitment, it will be stored in your consciousness and it will happen for sure!

Ultimately, being happy is your own decision.

However, a friend of mine sent the following to me a couple of weeks ago.

“…Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

You playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
‘A Return To Love’ (1992) by Marianne Williamson

Koen Speleman,lonquimai vulcano, chile

Who would you consider to be your role model and why?

Many people in life inspire me, they are not always well known individuals but also people I have met once for example. I can look at people and learn something from them. The way they think or behave gives me food for thought. For example, I see people who have a lot of humour, are careful, that dare a lot or inspire others. People who carry a lot of love, are balanced and super dedicated. I can look at them and integrate a little part of them into myself.

If we were to interview you in 5 years from now, where would that be? What would your life look like?

I hope I got the most out of competitions and I am ready to do more filming, expedition and ski mountaineering. Catering is hopefully done by my employees. Let’s see what life brings.

Is there anything else you want to share with us?

These question really made me think about my life again. I discussed some of these questions with my boyfriend while driving through the mountains and had really good conversations about life for which I thank you!

End of part 2. You can catch up on part 1 here.

Salomon Running TV presents the Fast and Light episode

“Fast and Light” explores a tribe of runners who are motivated by pushing their limits in some of the world’s most extreme mountain environments.

Told through the eyes of pioneers and heroes including Kilian Jornet, Marino Giacometti, Bruno Brunod and Fabio Meraldi – the film unpacks the sport of Skyrunning, a practice that started with a few individuals following their passion and has evolved over 2 decades to a worldwide discipline reaching thousands of people across the globe.

What better way to end the 2015 season with maybe just the best episode of Salomon Running TV to date.

The Fast and Light episode is yet another quality production by The African Attachment.

Above all a caring girl An interview with Tijn Vuijk | part 1

Words: Cem Tanyeri
Art Direction: Stefan Kuil

Every once in a while, we all bump into a special person. Someone that’s inspiring and has a great story to tell. Young, energetic and armed with a care-free, ‘no guts no glory’ approach to life.
Tijn Vuijk, for us, ticks all the required boxes to star in UpprValley’s very first personal interview.
In Part 1 she will takes us behind the screens of the life of a professional Freeride Skier and in Part 2 we will venture down a more spiritual slope.
We hope you will enjoy her story and let us know how you feel about it.


Name: Tijn Vuijk
Age: 27
Sport: Freeride skiing

Daily Occupation: Running my own catering business “Catering Het Kookstel

Sponsors: Patagonia, Black Crows Skis, Astis and Poederbaas

Other Passions in life: food, psychology and yoga

Website url:
Instagram url:

Current ranking at the freeride world qualifier:

My top-5 playlist:

  1. Follow the sun – Xavier Rudd
  2. The Letter – The Box Tops
  3. Howling around my happy home – Daniel Norgen
  4. Take Over – Joe Goddard
  5. Gold on The ceiling – Black keys

Biggest accomplishments:

I would say finishing two Masters Degrees with honours (Clinical and Cognitive Neuropsychology) although I’m happy that for now I chose to follow another path in life.
I’m grateful to have decided to start up my own catering business and devote myself to freeride skiing despite the fact that it was the last thing my family and friends expected me to do. And yes I am truly happy with becoming the 2015 Dutch Freeride champion of course!

Tijn in 140 Characters:

A strong, fearless, entrepreneurial, on the ball, smart, direct, social, sharp, hardworking, spiritual and above all a caring girl.

Last year, you made a conscientious decision to really commit to freeriding. How has this lifestyle choice worked out so far?

Holy shit, what a decision it was! One that was met with quite some resistance from family and friends at first but I’m so happy that I continued doing what I love doing most. Being happy is so important! I cater a lot of events in the summer, mainly weddings, and in winter I go skiing. Through my catering business I make just enough money to live the life I want, that’s for sure but nevertheless it’s important to plan for the future.
One of the things I realized is that to become a better rider I need to find more sponsors. More sponsors equals more travel and training which is crucial for my development as a free skier. Being from the Netherlands I don’t have unlimited access to mountains and snow so I need to improvise and get creative.

How do you get ‘creative’?

Last summer we have been to the Andes to experience more harsh winter conditions, this summer we have been to the glaciers in Les Deux Alpes and Cervinia to learn tricks in the park. When I’m in Amsterdam I train on an artificial indoor slope ( focusing on technique. I also spend a lot of time in the gym with a personal trainer to increase strength so I can tackle the cliffs an drops. To stay in shape and become stronger demands a lot of hard work and devotion but it helps to keep reminding myself why I do it in the first place. The better skier I become the more I can ski which would bring me closer to my dream. My dream is to ski all year round and making a living off it.

Doing the Freeride World Tour qualifiers seems to be a transient lifestyle, can you give some insights into this lifestyle?

My boyfriend (Paul de Groot) and I are doing the freeride competitions together which makes it really fun. We travel the world together and don’t really care where we sleep, it’s quite a nomadic way of life. We travel back and forth to the mountains as competitions are spread across the Alps. We spend many hours driving but that gives us a lot of time to reflect and come up with new ideas.


Photo by Bart Verbeek

It sounds cool to embody this lifestyle but can you tell us about what kind of sacrifices you are making to live your dream?

I love the freeride lifestyle but there are downsides. For instance, if I break a leg I have a little problem. It would mean that I’m not able to ski and work anymore. Additionally, I’m not saving up for retirement with this way of life, these are some of the risks I am taking. But I believe in fate and that everything happens for a reason. I’m convinced something else will come across my path that will take me in a different direction when I least expect it. I’m very grateful for what life has brought me so far and I continue living on the edge.
Skiing steep couloirs for example, truly empowers me and makes me feel alive while being grateful for life in general. I live with my whole heart and don’t hold back. Maybe this sounds stupid and who knows one day I might pay the ultimate price for living this way. But so far I have zero regrets!

It is clear that you are taking this adventure seriously, Project Backflip is an example of this. Can you tell us a little bit about this?

My goal is to be on the Freeride World Tour. The other girls on the Tour are technically more accomplished than me because they were born and raised in the mountains on skis. Becoming a better technical skier would be too time consuming for me….So, I decided to take a shortcut and learn to land a backflip.

I figured that if I could land this trick in a competition I would definitely have a shot at winning. Provided I stick it. This trick is often done by guys in comps but girls never do this. Hopefully one day I will have the courage to try it and land it in a comp!

I’m fortunate that my boyfriend (Paul de Groot) is a backflip master. He was throwing backflips left and right while we were riding backcountry last season. I was so impressed by this that I decided to start Project Backflip this summer. I went from the trampoline, to an indoor ski slope, to the freestyle academy in Stuttgart and eventually to a real park. I was not used to jumping kickers at all since I am not a park rider.

I wanted to land a backflip but here I was not even being able to jump off a kicker in a straight line. I was so f***** afraid and cried and I often asked myself why I was doing this stupid shit. You have no idea! I cried so many times. I bruised my chest twice, had stitches in my arm, I fell so many times and had to overcome a lot of fear…but I survived!

After 4 days I was able to master a backflip in the park on a real slope. Since then I’ve landed it many times so now I feel ready to take it to the backcountry and eventually into a competition! I’m so excited!

Unfortunately, a couple of weeks ago, my coach and boyfriend who helped me through the whole process, badly overshot a landing while training me. He displaced and broke his hip and tailbone. Poor him. He was not able to walk for a couple of weeks and probably not able to ski for a couple of months. Really sad, but this is the risk we take and it puts thing into perspective.

End of part 1. Stay tuned for Part 2 where Tijn shares her personal and spiritual outlook on life.
Salomon Running TV To The Sea

Salomon Running TV – To The Sea The connection between trail running and surfing

Salomon releases its 7th episode of season 4 titled ‘To The Sea’. A 3 minute film that took no less than 3 years to make. The movie explores the similarities between trail running and surfing through the perspectives of Salomon and Ultra Runner Ryan Sandes, Pro Big-Wave Surfer Frank Solomon and the first ever surfing World Champion and pioneer of professional surfing, Shaun Tomson.

In the late 70s, surfing was professionalised by a group of young surfers, allowing them the chance to make a career out of doing what they loved most. Today the sport of Trail Running finds itself following a similar path.

That feeling of freedom and openness is a commonality that surfers and runners share

Shaun Tomson, 1977 IPS World Champion

Trail running is all about purity, freedom, adventure and endless possibilities. Just like surfing is and that is why both sports are more kindred spirits than most of us would have thought. The connection that trail runners have with mountains and enjoying the outdoors is no different than what surfers have with the ocean and being outside.

Enjoy this beautiful movie produced by Salomon and The African Attachment.

Sellaronde Trail Running 2015

Sellaronde Trail Running 5th edition

Last weekend, September 12, the fifth edition of Sellaronde Trail Running was held. With more than 300 runners representing over 15 countries, from Europe to the United States and as far as Peru. All gathered in the Ladin valleys in the Dolomite mountains in Italy for a technically challenging race, with its 59 kilometers and 3,378 meters in altitude.

The participants have at most 12 hours of time to round the picturesque Sella Massif along the famous Sellaronda. On the 59 km long racetrack through the Dolomites, the participants have to master an altitude difference of almost 3,400 meters. Timekeeping spots subdivide the track into different stages. Who does not reach the spots in the predetermined time is eliminated from the race. The winners of the last years have accomplished the racetrack in less than 6 hours.

The mountain running race along the famous Sellaronda is a big challenge but the runners are rewarded with a magnificent view over the Dolomites.

From Squaw to Auburn - Billy Yang

From Squaw to Auburn A Western States 100 Race story

Great stories don’t need introductions but just need to be heard. Same goes for the ‘From Squaw to Auburn’ film that chronicles filmmaker Billy Yang’s first Western States 100 Race.

On June 27, 2015 mountainrunner and storytelle Billy Yang toed the line at the race of his dreams: the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run from Squaw Valley to Auburn. The film is his personal account of that day and all the people that helped him rally to the finish line. It wasn’t the day he had envisioned in his head in the days, weeks and months leading up to it, but it was still the experience of a lifetime.

Enjoy this inside look of running an ultra and be inspired by Billy Yang’s journey.

Visit Billy Yang on Vimeo for more filming goodness.

Karl Egloff meets Kilian Jornet

When Karl met Kilian

It’s not everyday that an athlete helps someone break his own records, but then Kilian Jornet has never been that kind of an athlete. When he was contacted by mountain guide Karl Egloff, a runner who’s broken his speed ascent records on Aconcagua and Kilimanjaro and was looking to meet up, Kilian’s response was, “great idea”’!

Luckily for us this meeting has been documented and makes for an entertaining 2 minutes footage of two amazing mountain running experts. And one of the two is actually breaking the speed records of the other. Most recently mountain runner Karl Egloff set a new FKT on Aconcagua in the Andes last February and broke Kilian’s record of no less than two months earlier. Karl’s secret? Make for a faster ascend than Kilian since he knew he would not outrun him on the descend.

“Kilian is almost unbeatable on the downhill, so I needed to ascend faster than him to have a chance”
by Karl Egloff

According to the film maker nothing was set-up and it was really the first time they met. They were both excited to meet aand there was no such thing as rivalry between the two of them. Karl came all the way from Ecuador to Chamonix with ambitions to break Kilian’s 4h 57m speed record on Mt Blanc. As it happened the attempt was called off as conditions were not ideal but it proved to be a good experience for Karl.

The Wild A celebration of surf filmmaking

Presented by RED Digital Cinema & Surfer Mag. REDirect Surf was a filmmaking competition to see who can create the most unique and original surf short of the year using RED Dragon 6K cameras provide by RED. 11 film makers were hand selected to participate and after 10 weeks of filming and 4 weeks of post production all films were submitted.

I do not surf but does that mean I don’t appreciate or understand the beauty of surfing? Hell no! The Wild is a celebration of surf filmmaking and a nod to the technology being used these days to document surfing like never before. The short film featuring 15 years old surf prodigy Noah Beschen, came out as the 2015 REDirect Surf Film Festival Grand Prize Winner.

Enjoy and be amazed.

Cycle Me Home – The Trailer

Cycle me home is a documentary/road movie project founded by filmmakers and bike lovers in 2011. It all started with an idea of a Hungarian exchange student in Madrid who decided to ride back home to Budapest on his fixed gear bike after finishing his semester in the Spanish capital.

The idea inspired a big group of friends and all of a sudden the whole project turned out to be much more than a simple cycling holiday. Starting with a 38 days long Madrid-Budapest trip, the brand and the team behind it was born and have been pedaling and filming ever since.

The brand new cinematic masterpiece of the CMH crew is finally here! Exactly one year after the team left for Transylvania to get lost in the hills and forests with their brakeless track bikes, they present us the movie about the epic adventure that conquered the world famous Transfagarasan road. The soundtrack was done by Andras Toth, sampling original recordings of local musicians. Enjoy. Be inspired and go forth.

Under Armour Fat Tire trail shoes

Inspired by the oversized tires found on “Fat Bikes”, the Michelin® Wild Gripper outsole has amazing cross-slope grip and all-terrain performance.

The UA Fat Tire shoe is packed with features to please any outdoor enthusiast. The shoe is built in collaboration with Michelin Tires, is water proof and offers insane grip & traction for the toughest terrains. With hunters, trailrunners and hikers in mind, this shoe contains a copper bacteria killing liner, Gore-Tex protection, Michelin Tire sole and a Boa lacing system to help slide your foot in and out easily.


It comes as no surprise that Under Armour has been inspired by the fat-tire bicycles that let riders bounce over rough terrain and even snow without losing any grip. And while it looks that the biggest part of the maximum cushioning soles trend is behind us, Under Armour dives deep in and who knows might be reviving it one more time.

It drops this Fall in both a high and low top version.

Hoka Tor Ultra Hi WP Hiking will never be the same

Whether you run trails or roads, changes are huge you have heard, seen, fitted or own a pair of ultra cushioned Hoka’s. Love them or hate them but the oversized but lightweight midsole decreases body fatigue over long distances. And this is why so many ultra and trail runners sport Hoka.

What if you’re not that much of a runner, but more into hiking and would still like to shred miles in comfort? Not to worry. French manufacturer Hoka One One has got you covered with the Tor Ultra Hi WP hiking boots. The new Hoka One One Tor Ultra Hi WP is a lightweight, modern take on the classic hiking boot design. It has the same highly cushioned soles as their running shoe models. The shoe also has a Vibram outsole and a flexible soft closure above the ankle that provides all the support you need on your hikes.
The upper is made of soft and flexible leather and nylon and has been made waterproof with breathable eVent to be trail ready. The toe bumper is reinforced and thus offering protection from rocks and stuff.

Don’t be fooled about the hiking look and feel, because the Tor Ultra’s are more than suitable for mountaing running ass well.

Image by Trevor Morrow.