When: Sat 18th of April 2009
Where: Stuben / Arlberg, Austria
You have to be a poet to put the 10th edition of the Longboard Classic in words.
Oldschool BS Air – all photos: Roland Schopper
How could one describe an event where about 440 starters go down 1,001m at the same time in harmony? Where the legends of our sport cruise down to the valley with less famous riders side by side? Where an 8 year old is honoured just as much as a 73 year old on stage?! Where the host is congratulating everyone who arrives at the finish line and where every participant is not only going home with a present but also with a broad smile?!
All that can only happen at the Longboard Classic…
But let´s start at the beginning: Organizer and snowboard dinosaur Paul Gruber (first dude who imported a Burton snowboard to Europe, co-founder of Crazy Banana and Rad Air Snowboards) wanted to do something really special for the 10th anniversary of the LBC: a class reunion of snowboarders from day one and he definitely made it! On Friday evening all the legends came together for a dinner in the hotel Mondschein in Stuben.
Nobody would have guessed that so many legends would come to the event: from the European allstars and pioneers Petra Müssig, Isa Ellenrieder, Jose Fernandez, Andi Tanner, Micky Früh, Jogi März, Harry Gunz, Martin Freinademetz, Reto Lamm, Stefan Fiedler, Xandi Kreuzeder, Peter Fässler, Thommy Klähn, Titus Dittmann, Günther Gröbl, Christian Meeze Mießner, Tom Ratzek, Serge Dupraz, Bertl Kletzmair, Johnny Eisenhut, … to legends from the southern hemisphere like Ishi Ishihara (JPN) and Dani „Kiwi“ Meier (NZ) and even the founders and godfathers from the US, Terry Kidwell, Shawn Farmer, Bob Klein, Mike Chantry and Mike Basich. No need to mention that there were many stories about the good old times and a lot of questions about their new lives. The guys were braving the jetlag and the exertion of their journey and were chatting and partying until the small hours.
The starter field
The big day was on Saturday, April 18 when the LBC was taking place for the 10th time already. The weather forecast predicted changing conditions and mild temperatures. The white underlay from the snowfalls at the end of March was enough to make it possible to ride down to Stuben valley. The tent at the finish line for the registration, the concert, the award ceremony and the party was to be ready. Everything was prepared to celebrate this special anniversary. The run at the registration was amazing! 440 enthusiastic longboard and oldschool snowboarders wanted to take part.
During the lift ride to the Albona Grat we had quite foggy weather. The starting time was delayed for half an hour to 12:30h and when Dani „Kiwi“ Meier was announcing the rules of the race, the fog was gone and the sun came out. God is a Snowboarder! The first starters were the 80 females and they were shredding the Albona Face. Fastest was Katrin Kellenberger (CH) before Regina Lind (AT) and Heidi Gunesch (DE). Kati was already on the podium of the LBC and was happy to finally win and take the title home to Zurich.
The oldschoolers started after the ladies. A bunch of about 110 neon-dogs and neon-chicks were rushing down the ridge and everyone who forgot to put on his sunglasses was in danger of getting serious eye injury because of this neon overload! This year again, some of them insisted to start with a jump down the Albona snow cornice with old Sims and Burton Boards into the face which really wowed the spectators. Fastest male in the oldschool category was Gustl Schoberleitner (AT) followed by Joe Waibl (CH) and Gerd Heser (DE). Steffie Hartinger (DE) won the female oldschool race before Heike Merbold (CH) and Tina Mazur (DE).
Everyone’s going for it
Last but not least the men started 5 minutes after the oldschoolers and some of them could even overtake some. 250 longboard enthusiasts were rushing down to the finish line but only one could be first. Matthias Jorda (DE) made history with his first place at this LBC. Volker Weiss (DE) was ranked second before Sebastian Friesinger (DE).
But positions are not important at the LBC .
What’s important is to be a part of it and therefore not only the fastest are honoured at the award ceremony but also the youngest, the oldest, the coolest and so on. During the one hour ceremony which was traditionally led by Kiwi and Paul there was not a dry eye in the house! Special moments where for example the handover of the „Neon Award“ or the Award for the oldest board or when the youngest rider, the 8 year old Santiago Freinadametz, was standing on the stage, or the oldest participant Reinhold Beeh with his 73 years. Also honoured were Mike Chantry, Snowboard movie maker from day one, and Titus Dittmann (DE) with the Lifetime Award. The other Awards went to: Hermann Glaser (Neon Award), Reinhold Beeh (Oldest Rider), Santiago Freinademetz (Youngest Rider), Sandro Damiani (Oldest Board) and Marco Michael (Best Slam) on a surfboard!
Before the award ceremony, everyone still had time to shred the slushy afternoon snow, to do an Old School Jump Session and of course to rock to the sound of the bands „Muha“ from Austria and „Hunk of Metal“ from the US. Pure guitar sound was engulfing Stuben when Farmer, Kidwell, Klein, Milburn and Hackett were rocking their instruments and the legends were banging their heads to the music in springlike weather.
Don’t they look amazing?
In the evening the 10th LBC Movie Night was taking place in the event tent and Mike Chantry and Paul Gruber were showing and commentating video tidbits from back in the days. We watched scenes from the first Halfpipe Snowboard WM in Lake Tahoe from the year 1984, we saw Paul Gruber in a TV documentary on the Swiss Television about snowsurfing in 1981 or the first Crazy Banana Film with Reto Lamm, Paul Gruber and Harry Gunz which was mostly filmed in Stuben in 1987.
Finally, Mortal Kombat Sound from Regensburg was entertaining the LBC participants with their Reggae Tunes and the crowd was shaking a leg until 3h in the morning.
In the name of all participants we can only say: Thank you Paul and friends for 10 years of Longboard Classic and voluntary organisation of the most relaxed and coolest snowboard event in the world! And in the name of the host: Thanks to everyone who took part at the 10th anniversary in Stuben: You are all legends – see you next year for No. 11 on April 17th, 2010.