After delivering one of our favorite parts of this season in Distorted Reality from pirate productions, Elias Elhardt is enjoying a pretty fun season of travels and shred, from Japan to India and Alaska. We caught up with him, on his way to the snowboard Mecca.
Elias, after Japan you went to India, how did you get the idea to go there to shred?
I had actually heard already a few years back that there was good snowboarding in India. I always thought it would be a great experience and I really wanted to go ever since! So, when Andi from Nitro asked me if I wanted to join this trip to Kashmir, I was straight fully into it.
So where exactly did you go to?
We were in the Kashmir Valley close to the Pakistan border, at the beginning of the Himalaya mountains.
What were the snow conditions there?
The powder was perfect. Super light! Probably because of the high altitude of 4000m, that we where riding on. It was also quiet tricky with hidden rocks though.
Have you seen any local snowboarders at all? Is there actually a scene there?
Yes, right on our first day they held the first Himalayan Banked Slalom. Of course we also attended the event! That was cool get together of passionate local shrdders and travelers from all over the world. And for us it was a perfect chance to connect with the local snowboard community.
What are your general impression of the country? Tell us the weirdest thing about it?
My general impression of the country is super positive. Lots of smiling faces and a new impression around every corner. Like riding past monkeys hanging out in the trees. Peoples driving style is pretty unique too. Full speed, always a hand on the honk on super busy road, that is often fully covered with a thick layer of snow.
How long did you stay and who where the other riders?
On this two weeks trip I was super stoked to hang out and ride with Marc Swoboda and Knut Eliassen. Marc is a super kind and mellow guy, that plays his guitar any second he can. Knut is always motivated and got a super positive vibe in any situation. Plus, he’s possibly the most funny person I’ve ever met!
I guess you watched the Olympics before going there, what did you think of the whole event from a snowboarder’s stand point?
I was actually quite exited to watch the Olympics. Especially this time, as some of my friends where in it. I’m generally stoked to see Snowboarding on this global level. I just think it sucks that it’s represented by the FIS, that still doesn’t seem to understand what Snowboarding really is about.
Japan, India, how has your season been so far ? And what else have you got planned this season?
As snow conditions where difficult at home, I’ve been traveling quite a lot this season, that’s true. First Japan, with Gigi for three weeks. This was such a good time! After that, I continued straight to the Mt. Baker Banked slalom, which I rode for the first time. There I met the Dakine team and traveled with them to Italy, Dolomites. After a week there, I went on this India trip. So after all that traveling, I’m super stoked to spend two weeks at home in Innsbruck now. Now in two days the journey continues though, and comes to a climax: Alaska!
So what’s the plan there?
I’ll go with the Pirates Crew, including Gigi Rüf and Manuel Diaz. Stoked about the chance to go ride with these guys and just really, really looking forward to this time. I’ll keep you guys posted!
Pictures: courtesy of Elias.