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Bataleon #3BTeamWeek in Flachauwinkl

[If there’s one photo that sums up both the 3BTeamWeek – and Bataleon itself – it’s this shot of this guy. Danny Kiebert is the brand’s creative director, sends it as hard as the team, and runs on 100% good vibes. All photos: Cyril Mueller]

This season, the Bataleon Snowboards crew acquired the keys to a box-fresh, hella pimp chalet nestled in a glorious fold of Austrian alpine and a mere 5 minutes’ drive from the epic terrain of Flachauwinkl. At the Bataleon Lodge the 3BT fam would be able to spend the winter fine-tuning prototypes, introducing stores to their 17/18 range and – as the season wound down – hosting their ample global team for a week-long photo- and video shoot in the spring slush. When we were invited to swing by, hang out and shoot for a week, we checked our calendar, saw it said ‘office shit’ and peaced the hell out there to check what the team would be throwing…

Got Lodge

The Bataleon Lodge is a snowboarder’s wet dream. This plush pad has all the amenities the 21st century snowboarder could ever want – good wifi, crates of Gösser and a limitless supply of snacks – and is located next to a restaurant where you can gorge yourself on all manner of pork and potato combos. More importantly, the Lodge is stacked with the latest Bataleon steeds and Switchback bindings, enabling visitors to test out all manner of the new swag, plus it’s a stone’s throw from the lift accessing Flachauwinkl and the Absolut Park. And a finer shooting and testing ground you’d be hard pressed to find in Europe.

Testing out the edge hold.
The view from the back of the Lodge. Not shabby.

[Above: 3BTeam. Back: Tyler Chorlton, Diggles, L’Arrogs, Tor Lundstrom, Shaun Murphy, Shayne Pospisil. Front: Ethan Morgan, Madison Blackley, Klaudia Medlova, Alek Klerud, Tobias Hjertsson.]

There’s so much to play on in the Absolut Park that it’s understandable Alek flipped out.

The crew was a healthy blend of old friends and new; Euros and Americans. Ethan Morgan, Tyler Chorlton, Tor Lundstrom Tobias Hjertsson, Alek Klerud and Klaudia Medlova were doing it for Europa while Shaun Murphy, Madison Blackley and Shayne Pospisil had jetted in from across the pond. Backed up by the Bataleon bosses Dennis, Danny, Cleay, Diggles and L’Arrogs, it’s safe to say if you ever want a good time snowboarding you should hang with this crew.

Flachauwinkl, you fine

This place is the tits. Period. Though it was full-on spring meltdown conditions when we were there you could tell Flachauwinkl holds the goods on powder days, and the Absolut Park is just another level when it comes to snowparks. It’s seriously got to be vying with Laax for the ‘Best Freestyle Facilities in Europe’ award as seemingly a whole face of one mountain is littered with obstacles, from beginner- to super pro-size.

[Above: Tyler Chorlton was throwing BUCKETS in the pipe on Bataleon’s new powder steed, the Surfer.]

Ethan Morgan reminded everyone of his park kicker skills.

There’s a minipipe, small fun sidehits, beginner jumps, rails and boxes… all the way up to a superpipe, a couple of booters of consequence and a spined transfer for a bit of creative crosscourt attacking. Not to mention a long-ass jib line with all manner of features. And that’s without even mentioning The Stash zone that would have been on the cards had the tide not been so low. In short, whether you just love freestyle snowboarding or are a pro team frothing to get shots, Flachauwinkl has what you need to get stoked.

Got shot

An end of season team shoot can be a peculiar thing. After a long winter of pushing it, there can be the tendency for riders to want to treat such occasions as time to chill, drink radler and take some mellow fun laps. That wasn’t the case at the 3BTeamWeek, though. Perhaps in part pumped by the bosses Dennis and Danny’s desire to hit many of the spots set up for the team (Dennis was re-learning McTwists on a Bataleon Surfer, while Danny insisted on stepping up to most everything the team were hitting – more on that later), the crew were on point and down to find the perfect balance to make the work not feel like work.

Grill time at the Lodge.

From the young Scandinavian duo of Tobias Hjertsson and Alek Klerud who were hungry to impress and up for everything, to more established riders who would pick their battles and focus on where they thought they had the best chance of getting a shot, it was cool to see how the crew worked with the photographer and filmers to make sure the job, and the fun, got done.

Trench-digging Eurocarves, pipe slashes, plants and airs, drops, transfers, sending the pro line and one beast of inbounds ‘urban’ gap… a buncha stuff got put down and both the brand honchos and the riders were beaming. The surf-style slashes and side hits of Tyler Chorlton and Shayne Pospisil complimented Shaun Murphy and Madison Blackley’s jibs, which dovetailed nicely with the 23-metre cutting edge jumping of Tor Lundstrom and Ethan Morgan.

Alek Klerud getting his one-foot on in the lower park.
Ethan was charging all week and didn't let a slushy flat landing stand in the way of his dreams.

The days settled in to a familiar rhythm: rise, breakfast, hit the hill by 9.30am, shoot a couple of different spots, late lunch, mob shred down, and end up back at the lodge sinking beers, shooting lifestyle photos and generally enjoying the epic view from the deck of the Bataleon Lodge.

Don’t let landings get in the way of your dreams

Despite Tor and Ethan doubling the shit out of the big kicker the previous day, the standout session must have been the final one. All week the crew had been eyeing up a particularly hefty urban-style gap formed by a power station and a perfectly placed bunker mound 15 metres beyond. Absolut Park’s head shaper claimed no one had ever stepped to it before, but Ethan and Tyler were keen and spent the hour before dusk one evening prepping a kicker.

Due to a bit of whiplash from taking a front 12 double to the face Ethan wasn’t feeling it on the final day, but once Shaun Murphy guinea pigged and survived it was him and Tyler that set to spinning and frontflipping across the glorious Eurogap. Bataleon creative director Danny stepped up and cleared it too, but his second bite – after the run-in had been salted – saw the run-in bite back…

He hooked an edge on take-off which sent him into a half backflip of death. Stood in the gap I could see the fear in his eyes as he sailed over me, and for a gut-wrenching moment it wasn’t clear if he’d make it all the way across. Somehow his magical Yogic powers got him to the landing – narrowly avoiding the patch of dirt and rock – and, though he got crumpled pretty good, he managed to get away with nothing worse than a sore shoulder. Shaun and Tyler weren’t deterred, though, and kept hitting till the shots were in the can, while Madison and Alek had set up a spot to fastplant and frontflip off respectively.

And then we mob shredded down once more trading high fives and slush slashes before Gösser, grilled meat and schnapps claimed our senses. Thanks Bataleon, your entire crew is awesome.

Madison, Tobias, Shaun and Alek enjoy a coldie by the lake.
Tor pops a wheelie. Bossman Dennis almost careened through the back door on that bike...

[Above: MOB SHRED!]

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