Stubai Glacier have been investing heavily in their freestyle programme over the past few years, and it's reaping rewards as they are now renowned for having one of the best pre- and post-season setups in Europe, in the form of the Stubai Zoo...
The Stubai Zoo on the Stubai Glacier seems to have something about it that drives riders to push their limits. Though they've been hosting the increasingly epic Stubai Premiere season starting shindig for several years now, the resort ratcheted up several notches in autumn 2013 when they unlocked the gates to the Stubai Prime Park.
This is a super-pro line built riders right of the regular park that's drawn the creme de la creme of global snowboarding to fire themselves off their perfectly sculpted transitions. It must be noted that this is a strictly pay-to-play line so is only legitimately appealing to the Ståle Sandbechs, Shaun Whites and Torstein Horgmos of the world wanting to send it to the moon on the Stubai glacier, but having the best park riders on the planet descend each autumn further cemented Stubai glacier's reputation as a place that couldn't be more serious about progressive freestyle. Check Ståle Sandbech's Top-To-Bottom video through the Prime Line further down to see what we mean when we say these guys mean business...
So if you head to the Stubai glacier in autumn to warm your legs up for winter, start working on new tricks and bust hot laps with the homies you can be sure that when you fancy a bit of chill time you can sit back and watch some of the planet's finest freestyle folk sending it to the moon for your personal entertainment.
Stubai Glacier Park
The park area sits in a pocket of the Stubai glacier behind the mountain's main peak at an altitude of 3,100m so, while hiking hits is pretty hard on the lungs, it's pretty much as snow sure as it gets. It's south-facing, too, so landings soften up quick – something you'll appreciate if you're working on upping your game. As such the Stubai glacier has become a regular hotspot for pre- and late-season sessions, including the ever-popular Stubai Zoo Opening each October.
This, followed up with the Prime Sessions has made the Stubai glacier home to an army of riders from rookie to pro each autumn, and in the valley town of Neustift it's not uncommon to find yourself sat at the bar rubbing shoulders with snowboarding's great and good.
Above: Ståle Sandbech is both great and good. Hit play to watch him take a lap through the Stubai glacier Prime Park setup.
SNOWBOARDING IN THE STUBAI GLACIER PARK
The park is served by a T-bar which can get a little crowded when sessions are in full swing, and right at the top of the area is the Jochdole restaurant where you can grab a burger, neck a radler, and Tinder yourself to oblivion on the free WiFi.
From mid-December till spring the Stubai Zoo gets a chance to recover a little from all the hammer drops as the park puts on its winter dress with “only" a medium- and easy-line available. But right for the beginning of the Spring Sessions the pro park returns to the Stubai glacier and is ready to be rocked. In 2014 they even crafted Onboard a bunch of epic features for our invited shred bosses when Stubai hosted our Send Off Session.
Like most glacier resorts, it can take a while to get from your accommodation to strapping in – most people stay in Neustift, meaning you have to drive (20 mins) or take the bus (40 mins), navigate the queue for the main gondola up to the Stubai glacier, and then take another gondola before you can start hitting the features. All in, from door to drop-in, it's usually around an hour, but that's to be expected for glacier riding.
Most importantly the Stubai glacier setup is constructed to be inclusive for any member of the freestyle fraternity – with the winning mix of holy-shit-that's-massive and holy-shit-that's-fun features, you'll find there's something for everyone regardless of freestyling chops.
The left side of the T-bar is where you'll find the jibs, and there's everything from ride-on boxes of various shapes and sizes, to more demanding rails that will test your metal-riding smarts. There's also the beginner and medium kicker line for you to work your way in to airtime. Right of the lift is reserved for the Pro Line and, come fall, the Prime Line – though again it's worth noting that the Prime Line is reserved for pro riders with a sizeable budget or national teams training.
But when you add it all up, be it kickers or rails, your first front 3 or back triple 14, the Stubai glacier park has the goods for you.
STUBAI GLACIER PARK FACTS
Length: approx. 800 m
Altitude: 3.100 m
Number of lines: Pro-Line, Medium-Line, Easy-Line
Number of features: Fall and Spring park - 40 features. Winter park (December/March) 10-15 features.
Day Pass: €40
After shred spot: Dorfpub, Neustift
Stubai Spring Sessions