[Mob shred. All photos: Matt Georges - full gallery below!]
Last week we were invited by Vans to the Austrian resort of Axamer Lizum, to spend a couple of days ripping around with their global and European team riders, test out their 2019 boot range, and get the first look at their new - and first ever - team movie, LANDLINE. What followed was two days of mob shredding accidental powder...
Axamer Lizum has a long history in European snowboarding. Located a mere 20-minutes by car from Innsbruck - this continent's unofficial shred capital - it's been stoking out riders from near and far for years with its epic terrain, quick laps, and more recently its Golden Roofpark. In fact, Axamer Lizum was the first place I ever got to see snowboarding in the flesh, way back in 1990. Back then there was a full-on 90s style hand dug kinky halfpipe in front of the resort's big hotel, just above the carpark, and I was floored to see some local kings throwing McTwists, head high frontside airs, and some spins. I'd always wondered who these neon-clad pioneers were and, a chance meeting with ex-Vans TM Beckna on this trip shed some light: he reckoned it would have been Austrian legend Tommy Brunner (RIP) and his homies. Now I just need to find out what happened to white dog poop and I'm sorted!
But I digress. The resort is sick, and the fact that we had two days to shred around it with an all-star cast of Vans team riders was even sicker. But the sickest? Checking the weather forecast, seeing that it was set to rain up to 2300m, resigning myself to the fact that we'd just be tearing around the hardpack, only to see the dude in front of me on the first run cut a left, ollie into a face, and throw up a tasty rooster. To paraphrase from Whithnail and I, "We've ridden bluebird powder by mistake!"
What followed was a couple days of chasing riders like Arthur Longo, Pat Moore, Lucas Baume, Wolle Nyvelt, Enni Rukajärvi and Blake Paul around the hill and being floored once again at seeing how pros approach riding terrain and conditions you're also tearing about on. To say they're on another level is an understatement. Sometimes, when watching their antics on the silver screen (like we did the second night when LANDLINE. premiered in Innsbruck) it's easy to con yourself into thinking that with a bit more regular snow-time, you could fancy some of that. But once you see what they do on the same sidehit you're trying to pull your feeble Method off and you know you're wrong. They're bonkers good, and I'm just a bit shit.
So we mob-shredded around the resort's rad terrain, all the while breaking in the new 2019 Vans boot range - I can happily report that the two models I tried were super comfy, with unusually solid foothold - and in the evenings we were treated to lashings of booze, music from the supremely talented Vans family members Bastien Duverdier and Lee-Ann Curren, and in-depth overviews of the Vans Snow program and their range for next winter. We can't say much right now, but suffice to say it's all looking killer.
But enough of the bants. They say a picture paints a thousand words, so here's a further 23,000 summing up the ripping, shot by the legend himsel, Monsieur Matt Georges...