[Matthias Weissenbacher double dips on the Absolut Park pro line. Sequence: Markus Rohrbacher]
This jewel in the crown of Austrian park setups has been at the forefront of freestyle terrain for many years. From the ever-awesome regular kickers and jibs, to one of Austria’s few full-sized superpipes, to one of Europe’s few Stash setups and even a banging undercover miniramp at the foot of the park, Flachauwinkl's Absolut Park has got its game going ON.
The renowned freestyle terrain of the Absolut Park sits in the Shuttleberg Flachauwinkl-Kleinarl area of the Salzburger Sportwelt resort, itself part of Austria’s Ski Amadé area – a huge posse of resorts located between Salzburg and Villach in central Austria.
But if prime time park setups are what you’re after, there’s no need to ever leave the Absolut Park’s boundaries. Whether you have dreams of slaying rails like Louif, quad-flipping like Morgan, kicking Shaun sized backside airs or just, you know, having fun and throwing stunts, this zone’s huge array of features will be sure to get you lit up.
THE ABSOLUT PARK
Unloading from the high speed six-man Absolut Shuttle lift (the chair that accesses most all of the Absolut Park’s terrain), the first thing that magnetises your eyes will be the Kicker Line. Here you can launch yourself off a succession of five perfectly shaped kickers that will have jumpers of a high standard frothing. They’re all in the solid-to-beefcake size range, but if your kicker game is on point you’ll be happy lapping from first chair to last call.
Beneath the wallride, to the rider’s right of the Kicker Line, is where you’ll want to head if you’re new to all the jumping, spinning and jibbing as this is where the Beginner Line can be found where you’ll be able to work on your tricks without the fear of a beatdown. The other side of the main kicker line is where you will be greeted by an array of jibs in all shapes and sizes, divided into a Rail Line and a Rail Yard.
Once you’ve negotiated your way through the Absolut Park's jibs and kickers, you can catch your breath admire the view, and dial in a bit more forward lean before dropping into the resort’s Superpipe. This beast is 160m long, has the 22-foot Olympic standard transitions and has its own lift that's open Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekends from 10am to 1pm. If you don't mind hiking or want to just include it in your regular lap, the Superpipe can be ridden every day until 2pm when it will close for reshaping. There’s also a ‘mini’ pipe, weighing in at 100m long with 4m high walls, for those who prefer a more cruisy halfpipe experience.
Finally, beneath where the pipe is and directly in front of the Chill House, you come to the Jib Park where another assortment of rails and boxes lie waiting to be blitzed. There’s also a stairset feature, too.
As if the Absolut Park wasn’t enough, the Powder Shuttle lift near the Hubertsalm gives you access to The Stash – Burton’s wooden wonderland of ever-evolving ‘natural’ terrain hits, comprised of natural jumps, bridges, logs, a-frames, whoops, banks and much much more. There’s even a Lil Stash for newbie slashers do get involved with.
THE NUTS & BOLTS
Just because the lifts have shut down doesn’t mean the goodtimes stop rolling at the Absolut Park. Nope, they keep on trucking in the most awesome Chill House, where you’ll find a killer miniramp – as far as we know it’s the only permanent, on-hill skate setup on the planet. This spined ramp is the perfect way to keep the legs warm if the weather closes in, and there’s also a climbing wall for the geckos out there. Free WiFi is abound – not just in the Chill House, but across the whole ski area – so you’ll be connected and able to Gram the banger of your bud hyper-asap if that’s your thing.
For quickest access to the park, you’ll want to stay in Flachauwinkl or Kleinarl. The park bossman recommended checking out the lodgings offered up by alpin-chalet.com so make sure you have a look at what they offer.
It’s a short drive to the valley lift, off the top of which you’ll then need to take another two to get to the drop-in. For nocturnal thirst-quenching, at least one of the Onboard crew can attest to Ema’s Pub in Flachau as being the place to be for beer, schnapps and good company, and if you fancy sending it at a fancypants club then check out Fire & Ice. In Flachauwinkl, Ofentürl is a good spot for afterski and eating out.
At the time of writing, two events have been confirmed for the 15/16 season in the Absolut Park. More will doubtless fall into place as winter gets rolling.
First up is the Jib King (9-10 January 2016) where metal lovers get to take over the Absolut Park’s rails and boxes. There are Over 15s, Under 15s, and Girls categories.
Then, as the season starts drawing to a close, it will once again be time for the renowned Absolut Park Spring Battle (12-18 March 2016), which regularly attracts some of the best riders from Europe and beyond to throw down. This, as anyone who’s ever been will attest, is always one of the funnest weeks of the year – both on and off the hill.
ABSOLUT PARK INFO
Length - 1.5km
Number of Features - 100+
Number of Lines - 6
Day Ticket - €48.00