Vans' European Snowboard Team are used to sharing sessions with English snowboarders in the Alps, but none of them had ever been in the UK to check out what these guys ride when they're back at home.
With the House of Vans opening in London, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit the UK and to hang out with the local team riders. Bruno Rivoire, Vans European Snow Team Manager, quickly assembled a crew of open minded rippers, consisting of Sami Luhtanen, Kalle Ohlson and Arthur Longo, and so they headed to the England to join Sparrow Knox, Will Smith, Gareth Andrews and the Vans Team manager Chris Chatt. Most of these guys had learned and honed their skills snowboarding either indoors, or on curiously painful looking dry slopes. The Tourists were keen to check it out!
First stop, Milton Keynes, perhaps the UK's best known snowdome, situated just North of At -6° indoors, it's a bit like switching from summer to winter when you pass through the door. The visitors were not prepared for such cold temperature, which is pretty lame for a bunch of snowboarders. Believe it or not, the locals said the snow conditions were very good. With a set up of 4 hits, with differents features on each, the riding was pretty intense, with action packed lines and creative combos. Everyone had a lot of fun.
The next day brought something of a culture shock to the touring team, as they headed off for their first dry slope experience. Will Smith had been making fun of dry slope just the day before, claiming that it was "even better" in the rain, as it slides faster. The team wasn't lucky enough to experience pouring rain, but they made do with sunny skies and had a fun time hanging in the warm sunshine with the locals, which was especially welcome after having spent the previous evening in a giant fridge. With several rails and hit set-ups to move and play around with, the guys had a fun day messing about and having fun in this unexpected "ski resort".
With the shedding done, the 10 strong team made their way to London, and to their destination; House of Vans. Negotiating the London Underground on a hot summer's day with snowboard bags and winter gear during the city's rush hour is not an experience they'll forget anytime soon. Once arrived, they swiftly swapped snowboards for skateboards and headed to check out the park and bowl in House of Vans. After a quick skate, everyone piled on a boat, joining possibly the biggest assemblage of Vans skaters, surfers, snowboarders and BMX riders ever, for a cruise of the Thames and a good feed. Ocne back on dry land, the crew hit the House of Vans launch party, and with a line up including Roots Manuva, Savages, Toddla T and Public Enemy, it was an epic end to an enlightening week!