This man needs no introduction. If you do not know who he is, then either you have been living under a rock for the last five or so years, or we just feel really sorry for you. As the GAP session is just around the corner ( MARCH 8TH!) we thought who would be more fitting to catch up with than ‘Mr. Biggest Airtime Ever’, Christophe Schmidt.
Onboard: First off, you injured your knee a couple weeks ago, how is it?
Christophe Schmidt: Not too bad! I’m gonna strap in again sometime next week.
OB: Do you think you will be fit to ride at the GAP session?
CS: I’m pretty sure that I’ll be able to ride till then, seeing as I still have like three weeks time.
OB: I hate to sound like a pessimist, but do you think that the session will be able to happen considering the warm temperatures we are having and the lack of snow?
CS: Hmmm. You’re right. At the moment the conditions are far from optimal. As much as I know though, the organizers will only need a couple of cold days to produce the snow they need. It will also be possible to get some snow from the surrounding mountains. However, if it stays this warm, then things could get tight.
OB: It would be such a bummer! I know I was bummed when the session had to be cancelled last year due to that exact reason. Do you know how the setup is going to look? Will the kicker have a similar shape as the last one, or is this info on lockdown?
CS: All I know is that the kicker is gonna be a little different, and that it will resemble the one in Whistler that was seen in ‘In Short’.
OB: So it will be similar to the one you built on the Zugspitze for ‘91 Words for Snow’?
CS: Yeah, pretty much.
OB: I personally always piss my pants when hitting a kicker, where the kicker itself is quite high and you are flying over the flat with a big amplitude. I feel a lot more comfortable riding rollers or step ups, not begging for life while in the air. Are you phased by high kickers or is it just routine for you and you don’t really mind em? CS: Yeah, I agree with you. The big advantage I see with step over kickers is that even if something goes wrong, you are not going to slam onto the flat from a height of 6 to 7 meters. The impact on step overs is also way smaller than on the standard kickers. They give you the freedom to maybe try out something new without having to deal with major consequences of slamming. The only little disadvantage is that you need more speed with step overs making the take off a little sketchier.
OB: Oh thank God you agree! Now I have at least one person on my side! Who is actually responsible for the shaping and the design of the GAP kicker?
CS: The design was thought up mainly by Christoph Weber-Thorensen. He did all the 3-D animations for it. For the event itself, there will be a bunch of shapers including people like Nick Francke, who is one of the main shapers for the Air&Style.
OB: It seems as though Nick is almost at every event where proper snow obstacles are being built. He just can’t get enough eh.
CS: For sure!
OB: Why do think that standard type kickers (table tops) are still predominant in resorts? Does one really need that much more snow to build step overs? Or do you really need to work with earth forms?
CS: Hmmmm, that’s a difficult one. You definitely need A LOT more snow, especially if you want to have some proper airtime. Then you need the right terrain. You can build a standard tabletop almost anywhere nowadays. Furthermore, you have more options for different take offs on standard tables. With step overs it is little bit more tricky to build one with two or more take offs.
OB: I believe that these new types of kickers would be a huge enrichment for the snowboard scene. I mean, before you have kids shitting their pants dropping in.
CS: I agree 100%, but many times it’s just not affordable and too time intensive. Then one must not forget that you have to convince the resort that it makes sense and is economically feasible, which is also tricky business.
OB: Oh yes, human ignorance. Don’t forget that! You had the longest airtime at the last GAP session. How was the vibe while in the air? Were you ever able to repeat such a long airtime?
CS: No, I don’t think I was ever able to repeat it again. The feeling of taking off of that super steep corner was siiiiiick to say the least. Amazing feeling. I was very stoked after that!
OB: When I saw it I was like, ‚Holy S___!’. CS: Hehe
OB: The main idea and focus of the GAP session has always been progression. Speaking of progression: I noticed in ‘In Short’ that you were doing weird off-axis spins. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. How did it come to this. Did it just come naturally, or did you have to work at it?
CS: I wanted to do kinda Rodeos that were spun a little flatter than normal, cause I liked the feeling it gave me in the air. One thing led to the next and I was all of a sudden doing the spins you mentioned.
OB: They’ve got mad steeze I say!
OB: Staying on the topic of progression; I saw the trailer of Trice’s new film project, ‘That’s it, That’s all’. It blew my mind to say the least! He’s got four banger tricks, of which the others can only do two (Double Corks, Doube Bs Rodeo 10’s). He’s kinda without competition with the other two (Double Bs Rodeo 9, Double Backflip Revert). When do you think that the others are gonna catch up?
CS: Hmmm. Yeah the teaser is pretty much off the hook. I think that it won’t take too long till the others are doing ‘em though. Travis is definitely a pioneer of today, and will keep on blowing minds with new tech stuff. The whole double cork/rodeo thing will open doors for a lot of new stuff.
OB: I think so too. It will get a lot crazier than it already is. Does your buddy David have anything new up his sleeve? Or maybe you?
CS: I was trying Double Bs Rodeo 10’s in Cauterets last year, but wasn’t able to stomp them then. I’ll definitely try ‘em again as soon as there is a fitting kicker for it. David’s got a couple of ideas, but I can’t say more.
OB: Keep us waiting then! Good strategy. Christophe! Thanks a lot for the interview. Hope your knee gets better soon, and that you will be able join the session in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
CS: Thank you too! I want to give a shout out to David and Christoph for all the kickers they have built and thought up, and I hope that the GAP session will be able to happen. It was a blast last time around!
OB: Me too! Cheers.
(Words by The Grgas)
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