08/02/2009 | by Tom Copsey
The view from my hotel room at 7.30 in the morning. The village of Oberwiesenthal lies on 1000 meters and has got more snow than most of the resorts in the Austrian Alps right now.
It is 1.30 in the morning, we just came back from a 5 hours rail session, after searching and shovelling spots for the whole day, and I can’t move anymore. My back is hurting, my arms are not really working and my head is feeling like a boiling water melon. Nice, eh? But the riders are still smiling and they have probably moved around 100 hundred shovels full of snow more than I did today and, most importantly, did the riding as well! Well, they are a few years younger than I’ am which finally leads to my actual introduction for this text.
Doing some nice warm up runs with our unobtrusive hotel in the backyard. It doesn’t surprise me that it used to be a hotel for the Stasi, the former GDR’s secret service.\
Planet Sports team riders Tobias and Philipp Strauss and Torgeir Berre from Norway were still wearing diapers when one of the most important events in the history of Germany shook the world. On November 9, 1989, the wall that had separated East (GDR) from West Germany for over thirty years finally got taken down. Do you still remember the TV images of thousands of crying people running to the other side of the wall in Berlin, looking for relatives they haven’t seen for decades, even though they were often living only a few hundred meters away from each other? I don’t as I was too young (eight) and – I only reluctantly repeat this fact – I’m even a few years older than Tobias, Philipp and Torgeir…
Germany is reunited again: Fips Strauss and Sebi Müller. In the background filmer Pirmin shows that Austria likes both West and East Germans…
So Onboard decided it was time for a history lesson. We have had heard rumours of a vital East German snowboard scene, of cities with some serious rail potential (ever thought of jibbing Karl Marx’s head?) and some resort that got shit loads of snow just one week ago.
Enough sweetener for us to pack the three young riders into our car, call two local riders (Sebastian “Sebi” Müller and Jens Kretschmer) to ask if they would show us their home turf and fly Onboard’s historically interested senior Peter Lundström over from Sweden. Isenseven filmer Pirmin Juffinger and myself were completing the crew. We started in Munich Saturday evening but thanks to two traffic jams, one delayed flight and lots of badly signposted roads we arrived at our first stop, the resort of Oberwiesenthal, at three o’ clock in the morning. The result were some tired faces at breakfast but looking outside the window quickly made us all smile. Although it has been already a week since the last snow fall, temperatures around minus 20 degrees had preserved the precious white stuff. Sunday was the first day that the thermometer went up again which together with the sun and blue sky brought us conditions like in spring time.
This was before we got chased away by an angry lady who didn’t share our opinion that dropping from her roof would be a good idea.
As it was our first day and everybody had only slept for a few hours, we started it easy. Local Sebi showed us the resort which is a nice mix of mellow slopes – perfect for some fun tricks – and narrow tree runs which offered some big roots and logs to jib on. After we got chased away by an angry lady who was worried about Philipp’s life after he had climbed up her 10 meters high guest house in the middle of the resort and was only a second from inaugurating it with a massive bomb drop, Torgeir found a nice kicker over rail spot which we will try out today as the sun was already too low to get a good shot. After this we checked out the rail that we just came back shooting at night and still had time to build a massive booter somewhere in the backcountry which hopefully works out today.
Torgeir being the guinea pig for his kicker over rail spot. I’m really sorry, Torgeir, for being such a retard photographer, I know that Peter will take much better shots of you today!
During dinner I could hardly hold my pizza slice as my arms felt like somebody had filled them with concrete. Well, I can tell you it didn’t get better after shovelling for another five hours… But I think the guys did get some awesome shots, they are like machines, never tired and never giving up – Fips, Tobi, Torgeir and Sebi, you rule! After the rail Fips even wanted to shape a nice tranny to an old Dixie toilet which should be perfect for a funny handplant session. Well, I went back to the hotel before they started there because I wanted to finish this text but I’ sure they killed it again.
Fortunately we were more lucky with the night rail spot and didn’t get chased away.
This was only Day One of our trip through East Germany. We will stay in Oberwiesenthal one or two more days and then move on to Chemnitz, Ninive (a super small village where a crew of motivated locals has built a self-made jib park in their backyard) and our last stop will be Berlin where we hopefully not only will see the remains of the wall but pay tribute to her it in a snowboarder’s way if you know what I mean hehe…
Update on Day Two of “Onboard goes East” to follow soon!