[Photos: Markus Rohrbacher]
The Shuttleberg Flachauwinkl-Kleinarl area is gearing up for opening on December 5, 2015, meaning it'll soon be time to hit up the epic Absolut Park. Here's what they've got going on...
Shuttleberg Flachauwinkl-Kleinarl is known as one of Europe’s most innovative winter sports resorts. With 26 kilometres of pistes up to 2000 metres visitors and locals are guaranteed superb snow conditions on a wide variety of runs right from the start of the season – December 5, 2015. And for freestyle snowboarders, you'd be hard pressed to find a better park than the one they craft for you at the Absolut Park...
Over the last few years the Absolut Park has become one of Europe’s biggest and best known snow parks. The phrase "freestyle for life" is not just a slogan, it is a way of life in the winter sports resort of Flachauwinkl: More than 100 obstacles are shaped on a daily basis by a professional crew and with its amazing superpipe and a 5 kicker line, the Absolut Park sets new standards in freestyle park setups.
Absolut Park: Lines for any level, railyard, jib park, halfpipe and superpipe.
The Absolut Park is one of a kind in Europe: As one of the largest terrain parks in the Alps, it is over 1.5 kilometres long, includes five challenging kickers in a row, numerous rails and boxes, a small halfpipe and separate jib park. For snowboard newcomers, the beginner line offers a variety of smaller obstacles, built to encourage progression.
The big highlight is the superpipe, which meets the dimensions required for X-Games and Olympic Games: It has 7 metre walls, is 160 metre long and is 30 metre wide. A number of top pros and European national teams train here on a regular basis, which is why it is serviced by its own lift.
The superpipe is kept in perfect shape throughout the season by no less than John Melville, the eminent shaping expert from New Zealand and head shaper at some of the biggest snowboard contests around the world.
Back to nature: The Stash® Park.
Burton’s outstanding natural park, The Stash®, is also a great freestyle experience. There are nearly 40 obstacles in this unique park concept — one of only five snow parks of its kind worldwide — all integrated into the natural environment and all of which can be ridden in different ways. A rope bridge, poles, a hut rebuilt into a saloon and banked wall rides are but a few of the obstacles on offer, while the natural terrain also provides an incredible number of jib possibilities. An enormous backcountry area with countless natural powder jumps, cliffs, wind lips also adds to the fun.
And at the top of the run is the Lil’ Stash, which provides beginners with wider, easier boxes and rails to practice on.
Hanging out, bouldering and skateboarding: The Chill House.
Sooner or later everyone needs a break, so why not have double the fun at Shuttleberg mountain. At the Chill House, you can either relax in the sun while watching your friends rip the jib park or head inside and try bouldering on the massive rock wall or skateboarding on the fun mini ramp. Here video walls show recent snowboard movies and transform the Chill House into the number one place to be in bad weather.
Absolut School: Freestyle is for everyone!
The Absolut School is a must for snowboarders who would like to take full advantage of the Absolut Park but don’t feel that they are experienced enough. Here you can learn freestyle skills from trained instructors, all of whom are experienced freestylers or successful pros in the international freeski and snowboard scene. They are there to share tips and techniques that make freestyle tricks easier and provide top tuition to improve one’s riding level.
The Absolut School also focuses on freeriding: Learn the right off-piste code of practice and how to handle safety equipment at the ZSAEP Experience and saac avalanche camps, which take place once a year.
Events and contests at Absolut Park
National and international snowboard and freeski contests are held at Absolut Park on a regular basis, reflecting the quality of the snow park. From the Spring Battle or the Jib King a top-class course and perfect organisation guarantee good times and a lot of fun for both contestants and spectators.
January 9 — 10, 2016 / Jib King
The Jib King kicks off the new contest season at Absolut Park. Jib loving snowboarders get the chance to present their best tricks on the obstacles in the jib park for a chance to win the Jib King and Jib Queen titles. There are three different categories (U15, girls and boys) and anyone can compete in the contest — registration is free and takes place on site on the day of the event.
March 12 — 18, 2016 / Spring Battle
As part of the World Snowboard Tour the Spring Battle at Absolut Park has become a must in the schedules of international top riders. Year after year, the excellent park conditions paired with the high riding level, warm spring temperatures, and a legendary after party attract snowboarders from all over the world to meet in Flachauwinkl.
Like last year, the slopestyle contest format will be a follow cam jam session: For several days, all participating teams of two riders (or a filmer and a rider) get the chance to film their best run and hand in the video to the judges. Men and women, freeskiers and snowboarders — anyone can take part and even mixed teams are allowed.
March 05 — 06, 2016 / saac Basic Camp
The saac Basic Camp is a three-day avalanche safety camp with both theory and practical training for off-piste fans. For more info and to sign up head to www.saac.at.