[Photos: Thomas Copsey]
Read our take on the haps at the recent opening weekender on the Stubai Glacier. Fun times, all the time...
Over the past few seasons, the Austrian glacier of Stubai has quickly established itself as a heavyweight in the pre-season park circuit thanks to its easy access, finely crafted park (affectionally known as the Stubai Zoo) and - specifically - three days of bang-filled riding, kit testing and partying to ring in the new season's park under the banner of the MOREBOARDS Stubai Premiere.
It's always positive to see a resort investing in quality shred terrain – especially one where riders can warm their legs pre-season as they're few and far between – and the shapers did an epic job of pushing the recent snowfall about to create a hit-filled few hectares with something for every level of rider. From a couple of pro-sized wedges to a medium line to one aimed at rookies, jumpers were amply taken care of, and as for jibbers the space not taken up by kickers was littered with an array of jibs in all shapes and sizes.
Punters who'd made their way up the hill were greeted by a village of 50 or so easyups from all the major shred brands eager to have them test their new gear, burden them with stickers or warm their cockles with a cheeky schnapps or two. From there it was only a quick gondola ride to access the park, where a host of local rippers and pro duders were attacking he setup.
Over the three days there were several different jam sessions in various areas of the Stubai Zoo, the highlight of Saturday's action going down in the epic-looking Volcom Snakepit - a banked slalom course stuffed with a selection of barrels and bonks that lead into a jib hit with a box and a flat-down bar to add some steeze to the proceedings. Riders like Arthur Longo, Mario Käppeli, DBK and Peter König battled it out in the contest that was part race, part jib comp, ragging it through the slalom, dodging an inebriated Ethan Morgan and then throwing down on the rails. How they scored it was a mystery, but Marc Swoboda was adjudged to have raced fastest and jibbed hardest and took the cash at the end of this fun arvo in the sun. You couldn't say he didn't deserve it either - the boy knows how to work his board for speed and thos switch back lips of his are just the bomb.
Sunday saw more cash thrown about with gay abandon in a couple on the pro line in the Billabong Surprise Jam and the Skullcandy Trick Session. Benny Wetscher and Mario Wanger were turning heads on the kickers, and when that wrapped up it was a short slide down to the jib zone. In the Skullcandy Trick Session, Michi Schatz was teching the hell out of the down-flat-down barrel, Denis Leontyev was doing his 'Bonus' thing and several other guys were bossing it whose names we should have nabbed but we were too busy going 'wow'. Especially the grommet who was gapping onto the DFD barrel. Props!
Following schnitzel it was time for the DC Jib Garden Battle by the brands area. This saw a bunch of good jibbing go down, as well as some frankly brutal slams – there were more than a couple of guys who came off worse for trying to Glasgow kiss the stairs. Again, cash was thrown at the guys who stomped the sickness, plus at the end of the session the judges settled on a top 3 and rewarded them with more cash, DC swag, MOREBOARDS decks and more. The top spot went to Chris Böhnke who'd crushed it all afternoon who placed ahead of a couple of Slovenians who'd impressed us too.
And with that, the MOREBOARDS Stubai Premiere 2012 came to a close. Great riding, great park, great parties, great schnitzel... We'll be back next year and we'd suggest you should be too.