(Words by Marko Grgas)
Elias Elhardt was the up and coming ripper from Germany two years ago. He was having a killer season, and was the dominating force in many rookie contests. Then all of a sudden he disapppeared from the scene. There were rumours about injuries and a serious illness. After nearly two years of absence he has emerged once again with new energy, confidence and hunger. Watch out, the kid is back with a vengence and the talent to back it up for sure!
OB: Hey Elias, what's up?
Elias: Hi, I just came back from school...
OB: How is it trying to do both snowboarding and at the same time school work. Must be tough, eh?
Elias: Yes, it really is, sometimes! But luckily I'll be done with school in around 5 months and after that I can go snowboarding every day. It's also pretty hard to combine both because I go to a "normal" school in which I can't take many days off to go snowboarding...
OB: You were at the BEO last week. How did you like it?
Elias: I had a really good time there. It snowed at least a half a meter of fresh and we went riding powder every day...The qualifiers didn't work out so well for me and so I got 15th....12 made it to the semifinal. But it also had a good side... after that I had even more time to ride the fresh snow!
OB: For sure! Sick pillow line!
Elias: Yes, that was a very good day indeed!
OB: What would you rather do. Contests, or filming and shooting photos?
Elias: Hmm, contests are good sometimes, but I also see many advantages in shooting and filming. One reason I like contests is that you come together and meet your friends... On the other side filming gives you the oppurtunity to live the sport in its purest way, to be creative and show what snowboarding is all about.
OB: I hear you! I know it’s stupid to ask but, what is your preferred terrain to ride. Pow, Park, Pipe?
Elias: Powder, for sure!
OB: You blew up onto the scene two or three years ago killing the Snowpark Tour. Then all of a sudden you were gone. What happened exactly. All I heard were rumours of injury or illness. Can you shed some light on what happened?
Elias: After a pretty intensive year of snowboarding and traveling I got a lung inflammation. After that, I couldn’t get fit again. I went to many doctors and none of them could really help me. All together it took me 1.5 years to get fit again and back on my board!
OB: Well, we are all very stoked that you are back and healthy again!
Elias: Thanks! Me too!
OB: I saw a lot more footage of you doing competitions. Would you like to get into filming and shooting more photos or stay on the contest circuit? Elias: No, I really want to do more filming and shooting in the future because it gives me the opportunity to perform snowboarding in its purest and best way. OB: If you would be able to choose any film crew. Which one would you most like to film with and why. Elias: I really like the Pirates and the movies they produce. The guys who are running it and the riders are very nice guys and they show snowboarding in a way which I love to see. The German crew Isenseven are also friends of mine. They also do a really good job and get better every year.
OB: How did you get into snowboarding? Elias: I started snowboarding when I was 11 years old. The first years I did it beside skiing but as soon as I realised how incredibly fun it really is, I never touched my skis again.
OB: What's the thing that you like most about it?
Elias: The freedom to do what ever you want, to be creative on your board. This is probably the thing I love most in snowboarding.
OB: It seems as though you are not one of those people that gets caught up with fashion trends etc... you just ride the way you feel comfortable which I really respect. What do you think ist the most whack latest trend in snowboarding? Elias: Some guys are a bit too gangster for me.
OB: What are your plans for the rest of the winter?
Elias: I'll finish my school this year. So the mission will be to go riding as much as possible beside school. I would love to ride a lot powder and build some backcountry kickers. And I'm also looking forward to some good spring sessions in the Park with my friends.
OB: You have been around the European Alps a bunch. What would you say is your favourite resort or place to ride? Elias: My favourite place to ride is Hochgraht, my local resort which consists of just one, old gondola. It's a very big terrain and with no slopes. When we have some fresh snow, there is no better place to ride for me. OB: Are there any other mountains where you always wanted to go but never had the chance?
Elias: Hmm... I think it would be interesting to go snowboarding in South America once. But mostly because of the culture. OB: What is your favourite aspect of snowboarding? Elias: Freedom. OB: Do you have a favourite trick and if so why?
Elias: Powder turn, because there are so many variations. Or a slow bs 360, because there is a lot of time to enjoy the flight.
OB: What trick are you in the process of learning?
Elias: The 1080.
OB: Are there any scary tricks for you? Elias: Dropping in a very avalanche endangered face. And many other things...
OB: How do you see your future?
Eias: I'm looking forward to going snowboarding a lot! And I'd like to study something on the side. Maybe Psychology or Photography.
OB: Any shout outs or props?
Elias: Greetings to my friends Friedl, Heinz, Chistof,...Thanks to my Sponsors: Rossignol and Deeluxe, especially Matthieu and Holger.
OB: Thanks for the interview. See you at the ISPO!
Elias: Thanks to you!
OB: Over and out.