Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:02 pm Posts: 723 Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
I really don't even know how to start a trip report about 5 weeks in Österreich (Austria). I decided to tell my story in Ale_Capone fashion, and let some pics/vid after tell the story....So
Let me start out with a bit of history of my life long friend and musician Brian Wolfe... Wolfe and I were in a band together 20 years ago, and through this love of music and touring in a band involved snowboard trips which led to doing seasons. Wolfe has dedicated his life to snowboarding, and the lifestyle associated with living the snowboarding life. Unfortunately, we all lost Brian, Gary, and Gloria's father/husband over a year ago. I consider the Wolfe's to be my extended family, and losing Mike was way too sudden to grasp. I can only imagine how hard it hit the Wolfe's. From the outside it looked like probably one of the darkest spots I've ever seen Brian in. Wolfe in true fashion and embodiment of his father Mike turned it around and with his Austrian friend Juergen started looking for spots in Austria(Tirol Region). Negotiations went down, lots of hard work, and plenty of day dreaming of the lines around the house went down, and OLAY! The Backyard became a dream come true.
I told Brian that if he squared away a place...I was in for at least a month. Bam! I secured a ticket for 5 weeks to Austria. The season had a great start snow wise, and then some warm spells came in. The snowpack was pretty unstable and not looking good. I was stressing. Not one to lack on info emails went out to the Tirolian Avy forecasters to discuss the snowpack, and get the inside scoop. The Tirolian avy center does a great job of posting pit data, and weather info. A nice storm came in before I arrived, and helped with conditions. Along with the snow came the "foehn" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foehn_wind. It was funny to hear Austrian's talk about the "the foehn" almost like some mythical beast who crapped in your boots on a powder day .
To me I had done a bit more inner work in my life, and I came to realize on dual sport mission last spring that it's important to enjoy the journey just as much as the destination. I truly believe that it's better to let life do what it does, and just enjoy the experience, our friends, and be in the moment. This can sometimes be easier said than done. I've come to realize that even when moments show themselves that can make you pissed, or not necessarily very "zen"... that's the true moment to face and understand challenges, and really be in the moment. I had very few of these..in fact it only happened once towards the end...I had a true battle with myself and anger that day. But, in true Wolfe brother fashion he was there with me on the skin track while I battled it out with myself to maintain stoke...Missing an alpine start due to circumstances that were out of my control was a true test of understanding how to face my inner demon that can be a real mother fooker. It also was a testament to my belief that the inner circle of bc partners is small for a reason. These people inside the circle are the ones that will be there for you when the shit goes down in one way or another. I'm proud to say a good portion of them are sb.com members...you know who you are. That skiing bitch Bonez is definitely out of the circle ...just kidding bonez...you know yer the shit you 7' 7" Yeti raping bastard
So, to summarize....I'll remember the few really good powder days, the jumps, the broken boards from smashing rocks, the schnitzel, the Minnesota bros, the obstler "get wasted" station(I'm patenting that term), night jumping, chopping wood, the tours, the alpen glow, schoko krapfen, BBQ's, 4 hr hot tub beer drinking, morning toilet bombs, power breakfast, the beautiful Tirolian region, weed/hash doobies that suddenly made everyone sneak off , and all the good things I'm forgetting to mention....but, above all else I'll remember the friendships that became stronger than time with a shared love for being in the mountains.
Plenty of lift accessed splitboarding, and snowboarding to follow. Enjoy!
1st day in Austria, and off with a huuuuuuuuge crew!
Juergen and I went and did a bit of a explore my 2nd day at The Backyard. A nice cold day with dry powder, 2 summits, and nice alpen glow. I didn't ride too many days with Juergen, but I'm looking to change that in the years to come.
Random cool Austrian huts
My buddy Kopish got sick, so I decided to take a day off, and shake off the jet lag...Then we were suprised by some Swedish friends I met many years ago in my 1st season in Austria.
Team America, and Team Sweden
It was off to Kaltenbach to not be able to see shit, but rip some avy barriers all day long, and solidify that my legs were on par for fast shred!
8 pack lifts with freekin seat heaters!!
Meat Hucking after high speed pow ripping!
Dirty Gypsy Backflip
SPLITRIPPIN Backside half turn
I somehow refound my BBQ skills, so I got pretty good at keeping the beasts at bay with my wood cooking steez. John "The Dirty French Gypsy" loved a good BBQ...I miss that Austrian bastard. We had some great conversations on life in general.
Team America with a mandatory Gustav presence for schnitzel night. These schnitzels were huuuuuuuuge! The best thing about this region of Tirol is they love SCHNAPPPPPPS!
Igloo Gluwein, and "wasted station" schnapps with my bros before they head home soon.
A nice classic newly found sidecountry run back to the bus.
DJ Kop crushing said lines.
It seemed that as soon as my Minnesota bros arrived..they were leaving, but not before we hit The Backyard porch in jump in honor of Craig Kelly .
Juergen getting all Stale.
Fellow Minnesotan bad ass ripper with style for DAYS! Craig Williams...kicking out a method for Craig Kelly
So, here's where I took a couple days off and ran to Innsbruck to take care of some errands, I needed gas for my stove, maps, and get my canister for my SnowPulse filled. Here's the random "oddness" of that....paint ball guns use the same adapter as my SnowPulse canister....so Toni auf Innsbruck picked me up at the train station...and took me to his buddies house to fill the canister. How nice is that! I don't even know the dude, but a mutual love for shooting high powered assault rifles, and metal was a great conversation. Yes, I'm quite aware that meeting a random dude in a different city brings visions of "the gimp" scene straight out of Pulp Fiction, but sometimes in life...trust in a fellow human being is important to live life. Then it was back to Zillertal the next day, and off the the Hintertux glacier with Peter "BoomChuck" ... AKA Conan the Bavarian.
The Hintertux glacier is a sweet touring spot. I wish the weather would have allowed for more visits, but my one day there opened my eyes to all the possibilities of touring there...next time.
Nothing like shredding to the tour spot!
On the up looking at the Hoeher Riffler. That crust this pow is laying on doesn't allow for that last pitch this day.
Looking out at it all....
Ripping it all...
Conan the Bavarian on the up, and the zeeeeee down, meng
It's always good to look up from the valley, and see only 2 tracks on a beautiful canvas.
Wolfe had a brand new spliff split waiting to be taken out, so no better time to check out the "Torspitze", and try to find the best access.
Wolfe makes the 5th person I've been honoured to take out on the their 1st split day.
Showing how to punch a lagger in the balls while maintaining a proper kick turn.
We started pretty late that day, so we only got to have a look this day.
I looked at the warm spell as a good opportunity to do some proper jump buiding, and see if 40yrs has tamed the "eye of the tiger"...staring down a loaded 300ft barrel with a mandatory gap is something to experience.
Funny...the the jump didn't look this big from the take off....oh well. I freekin love a big ass jump!
SPLITRIPPIN backside airs....Olay!
John loves a good jump as well...."this if fucking massssssive!"
We were pretty stoked for the jump day, so we threw down in the bar as well...Apreski style!
Conan the Bavarian showed back up, so we decided to go up to Torspitze, and check it out. A really great day with some good brothers.
Torspitze in the background
On the UP! and yes I know... foooooking lines everywhere...This is where I'm hoping to recruit Bonez, or HFT for a return next year... Maybe even the Savage!
It was days like this that are so special when I think of my brothers of the tour.
Time for the DOWN! A bit of a suncrust, but still fast and furious!
Stoked for the day
For some reason Peter was always taking his shirt off here and there, so this is how I gave him "Conan the Bavarian" as his new name.....
With some cold weather coming in. It all went to crap, and it was time to fix my rock damage for the 2nd time...Sad to say this new Venture Helix didn't make it home That board crushes! Even with a blown out sidewall.
ISPO in Munich was coming up, so Wolfe was readying himself to chat up the peeps at ISPO about The Backyard. I was off to Saalbach in the Salzburg region to rally some lines I've known for years. With my camping gear packed and the split on my back. I left for Saalbach....snow looked a little thin when I hit Zell Am See, but in class Saalbach fashion the snow was at the end of the valley.....dumped 3feet in a day, so safe trees were the call.
1st thing to do is go see Toni and Mary Hagleitner. I've spent a few seasons and vacations at their place. Wolfe has spent many seasons, and drunk nights passed out in the hallway only to wake up in his bed the next day...We love the Hagleitners, and miss Martin Hagleitner. Martin tragically passed along with 3 other local boys in an auto accident some years passed. The Hagleitners are truly family to us Minnesota Austria travellers.
I quickly headed up to drop off my camping gear, and do a late day tour to check out conditions. It was freeking PUKING out! Alot of people in town were staring oddly at the fact that I had camping gear, but little did they know of the goods I was going to devour over the next few days.
On the up!
The snow was soooooo freekin loaded with heavy moisture content, so the tree bombs were falling like crazy. So, I was forced to set up a snow bench w/ my Cuben tarp as the roof in the open vs. having a tree bomb fall on me in the night. I just hoped the roof would hold with all the new snow falling.
With camp set up....it was time to tour up to Spielberg Haus for some dinner, and some biers. Venison stew!!!
Then back to camp for some reading, and sleeping. And a little Cheech "dessert".
Looking up at all the snow collecting, and hoping like hell it doesn't collapse. I was forced to use large snow block to anchor 1 side... I should have used snow anchors, but oh well...
Then at about 5:30....it all came down...well down to my face, so it was time to wake up and get my gear in order. I retreated back to town. Got a room, and prepared to shred untracked pow for the next 2 days!
Needless to say....It was freeeeeeekin allllllll time!
A little creek crossing
Here's a little vid of what goes on around the backyard...Juergen style!
Then back to Zillertal for SCHNITZEL!!!
And a stop at a nice British Pub for a night out with the peeps, and Gustav "Mr. Scotch"..... Don't look Mr. Scotch in the eyes!
Wolfe in all his wisdom, and smooth marketing ability squared away Rome to bring it's team riders to The Backyard for filming for 3 weeks.
The 1st team member for "Team Rome" showed up in the form of a young Canadian fellow named Jordan Phillips.
Jordan went apeshit that 1st day... maching off everything. The kid is such an outstanding fellow. I was stoked to hang and rip with Jordan before he went off to Russia to compete in a Big Air comp in Red Square. That 1st day went down as all time ripper crew day!
Jordan going apeshit!
What happens when you go apeshit, and tomahawk. But, alas SPLITRIPPIN, some tape, and few Ibuprofens put Jordan's dislocated thumb back in order.
SPLITRIPPIN getting some air time himself.
That next night we got the frontyard porch jump back and in order for some night tiki torch jumping. Jordan busted out his bag of tricks, and I busted out some airs.
A few days later Kory from Spark showed up, so it was time to shake off the hangover, and take the boys out for a tour on the new Tesla system. I was lucky to use a brand new set of Tesla's.....super sick!
Tesla After Burners and Magnetos!
Kory from Spark throwin some roosters!
The next day we "attempted" to get an alpine start....alarms worked, but a VW bus effed me in the arse w/o any lube! Remember at the beginning of this TR how I mentioned dealing with anger, and facing it head on.....well that VW, and it's owner not paying attention to coolant levels were definitely something to deal with.
Not to be held back....Kory, Wolfe, and I set off to do some North Facing love!!
At the summit...getting ready for shred!
Over the next few days the Rome rippers showed up.
Wolfe and I were out scoping jumps for them....Just goes to show you Minnesotan's have an eye for jump lines.
Like this one...Bjorn Leines sending that shit!
It was time for me to pack my bags, and have a evening of beers, scotch, and doobies with Bjorn, Jordan, Wolfe, and Gustav.
Mike Paddock was the chef in charge, and crushed it for a last meal in Austria...along with some powder lines!
So long Backyard!!!
Backyard crew, and Rome SDS team
Then for a couple days geeking out in Zurich before I went home
A little room to chill in..
Hot chicks and crossbows.....fooooook yeah!
So this is my 5 weeks completely summarized. The Backyard Austria is established. I hope to be back next year for 4-5 weeks, and take some more clients out. For the 1st year in business Brian, Juergen, and Gustav are KILLING IT!!!
The Backyard is about WE "The lovers of snow, and the mountains"....This Team Rome SDS video may seem like not the norm of what goes on....but, believe me....THIS IS THE NORM at The Backyard. At the Backyard...We're all family!
Post subject: Re: The Backyard, Zillertal Österreich
Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 1:28 pm
Joined: Mon Mar 07, 2011 6:44 am Posts: 23 Location: Austria
.....great that you`ve seen and shown that Austria isn`t only Sissi, Dirndl, Edelweiss, Wienerschnitzel, Sachertorte and Mozartkugel, Austria is different anyway, this report is really authentic, so you have to come back again?
Post subject: Re: The Backyard, Zillertal Österreich
Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 10:47 am
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:02 pm Posts: 723 Location: St. Croix Falls, WI
Mansi....I agree with you Austria IS a very special place. I've been spending time there since 98' and I always look forward to returning. I really love how people really appreciate and take care of their livestock over there, and just let them roam free! I will be back soon...I'm really looking forward to being there during a BIG snow year. So I don't have to worry about breaking boards.
Nomad...Freestyle splitting is always going to be alive and kicking with me...until my body can't take it anymore, but I don't see any end in site for that. I'm headed out your way soon to meet up with Kory, Will, Ale_Kaput, and Spicolli next week for the season end shred. And from what I've seen of you throwing down.. you're somone I need to add to the "must shred with" list.
_________________ "Out of the Indian approach to life there came a great freedom, an intense and absorbing respect for life, enriching faith in a supreme power, honesty, generosity, and brotherhood"