The village is chosen for its proximity to the Kauntertal Glacier, which is open until the end of May, and provides the perfect location for a spring shred.
Formerly known as The Snowboard Test, it was previously an industry event for snowboarding brands to showcase their new season gear to shops, pro riders, journalists and other industry insiders. However, this year organiser Ian Sansom, editor of The Reason magazine, decided to open the event to the public so that they too can get their hands on next season’s new snowboards, bindings, boots and outerwear before they hit the shops later in the year.
The test centre at the mountain base was a hive of activity, with representatives from every snowboarding brand imaginable fixing up excited shredders with gear so new it’s not even on sale yet. There was so much on offer that it was impossible to try everything, but we gave it a damn good shot, and were stoked on just how good everything was.
In addition to testing out the awesome new gear which awaits us for next season, there was a whole lot more going on to keep everyone entertained.
On-mountain events included the Whitelines rail jam which saw the likes of Andy Nudds, Ollie Dutton and Will Smith battle it out on a sweet set up in the Kaunertal snowpark. After an open jam, numbers were narrowed down to the top 9 males and 2 females. After killing it in the open jam, Ollie Dutton and Andy Nudds were nominated as team captains who picked their teams from the remaining selected riders, who included top UK shredders, Will Smith, Sparrow Knox, Gaz Andrews, Ross Needham, Angus Leith, Orla Doolin and Rio Peterson. The standard of riding in the comp was ridiculous, with some mind blowing tricks being stomped on the massive 7 metre stairset with down bar on one side, down-flat-down on the other, and flat rail at the top. It served as yet another reminder, if it were needed, of just how high a standard of rail riders we have in the UK. It was a closely fought battle but team Nuddsy just pipped team Dutton to the post. Props to Orla Doolin who smashed herself badly half way through the comp, but picked herself up kept on riding for the rest of the competition. Girl’s a legend!
Snow and poor visibility on Monday saw the Dragon Methodical Madness event being rescheduled to coincide with The Reason/Monster Big Air comp on Tuesday. This double whammy of awesomeness attracted another massive crowd who turned up to watch some of the UKs best riders sending it off the purpose built hip in the park. Again, the standard of riding was incredible with riders throwing down some super stylish methods, flips and rodeos. The battle for first prize was closely fought in both competitions, but it was Lewis Sonvico of SuperRad snowboard coaching who took the £200 prize for the best method and Sam Turnbull who scooped a tidy €500 in the Big Air with a super smooth rodeo 7.
Off the slope events included a Penny Skateboards dual slalom, Vans mini ramp skate jam and T Shirt tie dying workshop hosted by Neon Stash, with T Shirts supplied by The Reason.
Parties were also plentiful and largely centered around the Pfiffalm Bar in the village. Sunday night was the Whitelines party, which featured an impromptu guest appearance from DJ JB John who went down a storm. Tuesday night was another big one, which kicked off with the Analog après party up the mountain. The party then moved back to the village for the fantastic Westbeach BBQ, and then inside the bar for the Monster party which went off when stoner rock band, Steak took to the stage.
Up the hill the next day, we thought we must still be drunk when we were convinced we saw Gigi Rüf putting his boots on in the car park, but it was indeed the legend himself who had been invited along by the Dragon Alliance crew to promote his new signature goggles. To say we were star struck is an understatement!
By the end of the week we were a little weary from intensive board testing and partying, but buzzing from all the fantastic new gear we’d tried, and awesome people we’d met, during what was the best end to the season imaginable. We’re already stoked for winter 2013/14, and if its new snowboards are anything to go by, it’s going to be banger!
Watch this space for reviews on the best of next season’s snowboarding gear. Make sure you enter your email address to ensure that you don’t miss out on a post, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates.
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