[Photos: Youri Barneoud.]
The fifth annual park opening on the Hintertux glacier kicked off Saturday, with a fine selection of your favourite snowboard brands ensconced in a test village offering all manner of this season’s brand new schmutter to test, and a few hundred metres higher you would be greeted with the infamous Hintertux Betterpark for you to put the gear through its paces.
A small aside, first. Through a combination of working like a dog and poor time management your correspondent has not yet enjoyed any form of holiday this year. Is that blood seeping out of your chest? But as a result I’ll confess that I wasn’t too pumped to go ride a pre-season glacier. I still wanted to go surfing. However, packing my bags the night before I unexpectedly got that warm tingle of anticipation which snowboarders the world over can relate to. The thought of suiting up and strapping in the very next day got me super motivated and the drive up to the glacier even more so.
We got out the gondola and were greeted by the test village where brands like Rome, Völkl, K2, Nitro, Bataleon, Forum, DC and more were on hand to offer punters the chance to trip the ice fantastic on their new product and there were plenty of eager young groms pumped to do just that. Sadly the Hintertux glacier has seen better days that this one – the majority was, to all intents and purposes, grey and gravelly ice rink with precious little snow and lots of granite, glacier and crevasse on show. Nevertheless, when we got to the park it was clear the Betterpark guys can work magic with minimal materials as they had crafted a killer setup the belied the dearth of snow.
As well as a double line of 16m kickers that were the stage for most of the action, there was a smaller double line, a pipe and an assortment of jibs which offered as fine a way as you could want to warm up your legs for the coming season. The first item on the itinerary was the ‘Session of the Dudes’, put on by the Hotzone guys and presided over by infamous blabbermouth Henry Jackson of Banterbox. Guys like Werni Stock, the Mösl brothers, David Bertschingerkarg, Seppe Smits, Tom Klocker, Alex Walch and Gigi Rüf set about tearing the booters a new exit hole with switch back 10s, front 9s, back rodeo sevens and assorted malarkey. When the session had ran its course and the ‘Ingemar’ Fisherman’s Friend schnapps had been exhausted it was time to sketch it down the ice to the rail setup out the front of the main lift station where another jam session was to go down, this time with MC Jackson dishing out the Euros for stomping tricks that were called, or just general sickness.
When the cash had been splashed it was down to the Hinertux parking lot for a bit of Chillydog gobbling thanks to Forum and watching guys do their best flips and bellyflops into the expansive BagJump airbag. We had to bounce after a couple of chilli wieners to get our shit together for the room premiere of Forum’s Forever that’s about to go off in our penthouse suite in the hotel. Then, partymachen and hopefully not too bad a hangover for Sunday when we can shred free and easy.
If you’re itching to get snow under your boots ASAP, get yourselves to Hintertux. Though the piste riding is challenging at best right now, the park offers you all you need to get your feet right for the coming winter. Enjoy.