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FIRST/LAST – Christian Haller

Haller getting low testing out Burton’s new Step Ons. Naturally, he was one of the first, not last. Photo: Cyril Mueller

Christian ‘Hitsch’ Haller has been a mainstay of the European snowboard scene since he blew up as a young grommet on the Burton Smalls program in the early 2000s. Since then he’s carved himself a niche as a transition master, regularly making finals at the Superpipe contests of the world and most memorably launching himself higher above a deck than anyone else when he sent it to the moon off the Nine Knights hip a couple seasons back. Though he was initially known for his contest riding, in recent years he’s also been responsible for some of the most memorable video content too: his below-the-lip attack in Memoires Memoires was a short-but-sweet approach at pipe riding from a fresh angle, and he backed this up with last winter’s most excellent movie, Glue.

Here’s Hitsch’s First/Last…

FIRST… TRICK

I don’t really remember, it’s been a while since then [laughs]. But most probably it was some grab I learned first. Maybe an Indy and I would not touch my board properly but just sort of tickle the edge of it. So therefore the style was way wack. I didn’t claim either. I do remember though that my first proper trick I wanted to learn was a front flip, not sure why though.

LAST… TRICK

To be honest I haven’t learned a complete new trick in a while, meaning like a new axis or some multiple cork or whatever. I did some backside rodeo alley-oop 7s & 9s in the pipe that I was pretty stoked on the past season. I got those after a few tries…

FIRST… TRIP

First proper trip, like taking an airplane and stuff, was the Burton US Open. I think it was in 2004. I won the European Open Junior Jam and then Hasi [Burton Europe team manager] took me over to the States. I was with the whole Burton Smalls team there – Mikkel [Bang], Luke [Mitrani], Olivier [Gittler], Freddy [Austbo].) At that time Luke was living in Stratton and we would hang at his house after riding and be building some rail features, eating candy and trying to stay up all night. Things kids do…

“I tried to figure out how these dudes would do their tricks and so on. And most importantly it would get me amped to go snowboarding and try for myself.”

LAST… TRIP

Japan last year. I was with my filmer Kris Lüdi, photographer Dominic Zimmermann and old friend/filmer Tom Elliott. We were there to film a segment we’re working on right now. Japan’s always good times so no need to explain the riding. While we were there we focused pretty hard on filming so nothing too loose happened. Kris lost the car key about two hours after we got our rental…

FIRST… SNOWBOARD MOVIE

VHS for sure. The first movies I watched were in some snowboard shop, probably around the time Decade and Technical Difficulties came out. It looked cool and exciting, so I just kept going to the shop and watch those films. Then the first movie I owned was Mack Dawg’s Stand and Deliver. I watched that thing over and over again. The riding was really technical, which I really liked when I was younger, I tried to figure out how these dudes would do their tricks and so on. And most importantly it would get me amped to go snowboarding and try for myself.

LAST… SNOWBOARD MOVIE

Probably Nico [Müller]’s movie [Fruition], which I really enjoyed watching. It made me realise again how good of a rider Nicolas is. I had to re-watch some segments because some tricks are switch and you don’t really get it on the first go because it all looks so smooth. It’s insane! Then of course the movie is first and foremost about his person/state of mind, which I thought was refreshing to see in a movie. I also think it’s one of the hardest things to do – portray riding combined with interviews – but it came out great.

[Below – Ripping pow in Kingfisher. Photo: Adam Moran/Giro]

FIRST… DRINK

I think it was beer. I drank one or two and then thought I was drunk because that’s what happens to people who drink alcohol, I thought. So I acted all funny and tried to be some sort of loose. I didn’t really get it…

LAST… DRINK

Uhm, probably the last weekend. Just a few beers with friends. Nothing special…

FIRST… CONTEST

First smaller pipe comp was some regional cup in Savognin, Switzerland. There was this tiny halfpipe and I remember that I really liked the vibe and the people there. It’s also where I met some of my best friends from today. I’d say I didn’t really get the tricks around that time, I just wanted to jump as high as possible. I think I did win something there but probably just because there were only one or two other kids in my category.

LAST… CONTEST

It was the X-Games in Aspen last year I think. I fell really hard in practice and knocked myself out for a sec… uhm, so I didn’t win. You know the tricks, double combo, some double 12, good amplitude…

“I just wanted to jump as high as possible. I think I did win something there but probably just because there were only one or two other kids in my category.”

FIRST… POWDER DAY

I grew up riding a local resort in the Engadin valley so I don’t really remember when my first day of pow was exactly. We would just always ride this one line down of a chairlift, all the snowboarders would ride that line and would sort of create a natural slopestyle by riding it so much everyday… So it was even better when there was powder of course. I didn’t really care if there was pow or not, it was just all about riding everyday.

LAST… POWDER DAY

I actually rode deep powder in late April/beginning of May on the Titis, Engelberg. It was just riding for fun with my friends Stephan Maurer, James Niederberger, Aaron Schwartz and Thomas Stöckli.

FIRST… THING OF THE DAY

Shower.

LAST… THING OF THE DAY

Set an alarm.

[Below – Christian Haller. To. The. Fucking. Moon. Photo: Sam Oetiker]

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