I was traveling a lot during the last two weeks, slept very little and I enjoyed great runs with great people.
The weekend of 16th and 17th of March the Freeridefestival by Eric Themel was scheduled in Montafon. That gave me the chance to explore the far west (from my perspective:) of Austria. I’ve never been riding in Vorarlberg before, and the mountains showed themselves from their best side: bluebird and powder.
I participated in the Open to qualifiy for the main event and finally managed to ride a line without any mistakes, which led to a first place. The atmosphere at the Freeridefestival was different to a Freeride World Qualifier Event. Everybody was more relaxed, but still there were some spectacular lines.
The main event should have taken place on Sunday, but there were very strong winds. The Event had to be canceled, because in case of a heavy injury it would have been impossible to rescue the rider per helicopter. The good thing was that there was a bunch of great snowboarders and skiers on the mountain. We did some hiking on the qualification face from the day before and managed to track the whole resort. Montafon is actually a good resort for freeriding, even though there no extremely long runs, but they have very interesting terrain and one can find everything from relatively flat powderruns to steep and technical lines. The faces also offer different exposures, which is another benefit, because of diverse sun and wind effects on the snow.
In the whole of Austria it is actually forbidden to ride in forests, but Vorarlberg is the only part of Austria, where this law gets executed regularly. So if you ever go there, don’t do any treeruns in parts of the mountain where it’s forbidden, that can get very expensive.
Next weekend, around the 23rd of March, the X-Over Ride took place on Kitzsteinhorn. The X-Over Ride is a 3 star FWQ event, so I got another chance to show a good line and maybe gain some more points for the ranking. Actually I’m quite under pressure as a contest rider already, because of all the bad results in the 4-star events, I’m not top ten in the seeding list any more, and the seeding list defines if one gets a starting spot or not.
On Friday I was already riding at Kitzsteinhorn and the conditions were good, basically there was powder in the whole face. During this weekend I also had the Teamweekend from my Sponsor Icetools (http://www.icetools.de/) together with the Flow Snowboarding Team. We stayed in the Freeride WG (http://freeride-wg.com/) in Kaprun and were fed and cared for, which was great. And one also has to mention, that they got very comfortable beds, so great conditions for a successful contest.
The forecast for saturday showed that the temperature would rise. As the face is orientated south east, it was clear that the snow would be affected by the sun in combination with higher temperatures. I still chose a rather hard line, although it again would have been more intelligent to skip the high drops and go for medium drops and land them safe. Just can’t help myself:)
I stomped the first two drops, but at the last big drop I did a buttcheck (overweight/too hard impact on the backside when landing, resulting in the butt hitting the snow), like most of the other snowboarders who tried to drop that cliff. Still, I’m happy with my run, and the judges were not too unhappy either, because I got third. First FWQ podium this Season…finally!
And now I want to thank everybody who made my life easier with free overnight stays: Thanks Mikaela, Irian (http://irianvanhelfteren.com/) and Raphael (http://www.raphaelbullet.ch/) and Sanna on Arlberg. And thanks to Judith and Tobi from Icetools and Flow for organising the Teamweekend and Gogo from the Freeride WG (http://freeride-wg.com/).