Snowboard Spring Break – the UK board test 2013 #bestweekoftheyear

Posted on Tuesday 28th May, 2013 Times Viewed: 3499
I know it's a cliché to say that a week on the mountain was 'the best week ever', but when it came to Spring Break 2013, there's no doubt about using the phrase. Every rider who makes the annual May bank holiday pilgrimage to Kaunertal returns the following year, because no matter how deep your powder was this winter or how epic your season's location was, nothing seems to beat the awesomeness of Snowboard Spring Break - aka the UK snowboard industry board test.

Words and images: Kaz Willmer
In comes the next cliché: 'It just keeps getting bigger and better every year'. Again, there's no doubt about it. After six years hitting up the test, this year just seemed to top them all – I could not wipe the snow stoke all week. With over 250 riders, and more brands than ever before, the atmosphere on and off the mountain was just unbeatable, all day and all night.

The board test brings brands, media, pro riders, snowboard teams, mainstream stores and independent shops to the Kaunertal Glacier in Austria with the aim to test all next season's boards, boots, bindings, outerwear and more. Feichten im Kaunertal, our base for the week, is a farming village so small that you have to walk to a cow shed with an empty bottle to get your fresh milk in the morning. So when 250 British snowboarders descend on the place, a week of carnage is inevitable. Locals don't just lock away their daughters – they lock away their livestock too.

With plenty of slush, a spine tingling mountain drive, epic mountain views, massive side hits, a perfect skate setup and an incredible snow park, there could be no better location for a spring shred – and for testing out a candy-store of 2014 kit, fresh out the factory wrap.

Alongside the testing, events were thrown down all week on and off the mountain to keep everyone more than entertained, and make sure the shred:drink:sleep ratio was less favourable towards the slumber. Refuelling came solely in the form of energy drinks, Steigl, sausages and schnitzel.

Click to view full imageClick to view full imageClick to view full image

On-mountain, the week kicked off with the Whitelines Rail jam where, after a massive battle of UK riders, Andy Nudd's team stole the glory on the 7-metre-long gnarly Kaunertal stairset while the rest of us watched in awe – working on the goggle tans in the blazing sun, armed with beers and hot dogs.

Click to view full image

On the Wednesday we also took part in a heart-felt Run for Keith in memory of Keith McIntosh – a much-loved member of the UK snowboard community who sadly lost his life in Kaunertal in 2009. It really was an experience for everyone, whether they knew him personally or knew of his contribution to the sport, with over 200 people riding down the home run at the same time.

The Dragon Methodical Madness comp was one of my on-mountain highlights of the week, where the UK's teams once again came out in force to bust out the biggest and best methods on the giant purpose-built hip in the Kaunertal Snow Park. Plenty of spot prizes were handed out for steezy methods, and plenty of freebies for the crowds, but it was SuperRad's Lewis Sonvico who grabbed the £200 prize money.

Click to view full image

The Dragon crew then stepped up their presence even further by the arrival of the incredible Gigi Ruef on their stand to launch his new goggle range. Instagram was shortly filled with enough 'me-with-Gigi' fan shots to cause plenty of envy to snow buddies back home – but that was inevitable with such a riding legend. I was just as guilty - #ridinghero...!

When the slush turned to liquid, and riding turned to surf under the afternoon sunshine, the apres parties began, with Analog's beer, jager and oompah going down a treat – as did DC's standard hot chocolate-based tipples. Sausage fests from Volcom and Rome kept everyone well fed on the hill, along with steaming Vans' waffles, and plenty of Monster/Steigl to wash it down... a diet fit for kings!

As if the on-mountain treats, perfect spring shred, and unlimited supply of food and drink to fuel the ride wasn't enough, Neon Stash hosted an immensely fun tie dye session along with the Reason Snowboard magazine, which brightened up the crowds through the sudden whiteout. With hundreds of awesome tie dye tees being rocked on and off the mountain for the rest of the week, there's no doubt the tie dye love will be massive next season. Thanks @NeonStash (#tiedyehighfive). For those that could handle the pace after a day's riding, there was also snowboard-specific fitness coaching sessions from Wild Training.

Click to view full image

By night the fun didn't stop and after the epic drive off the mountain (or drift trike ride if you're Billy Morgan), skate jams, and a bit of Kiwi-bar refuelling, the masses descended upon the Pfiff Alm for evening treats. The Whitelines Party to open the week and Pub Quiz to close are always messy occasions, but this year it was the mid-week madness which was my ultimate highlight, thanks to Dalikfodda, and fuelled by the awesome Westbeach BBQ.

Click to view full imageClick to view full image

The locals had no idea what had hit them when one of the most carnage-filled nights to ever land on a sleepy farming village came in the form of Steak Stoner Rock maxing the amps. There was beer, blood, glass and sweaty bodies flying all over the tiny wooden bar, with police even called from the nearest town to calm the storm. After such an incredible day spring riding on the mountain, witnessing the shred comps and meeting Gigi Ruef (#ridinghero!), hitting up the Penny skate slalom, then experiencing the awesomeness of Steak, it was a perfect day's lineup for making every person in Kaunertal the poster-child for 'completely stoked'. Minus the local farmers and their cows of course.

Whether it was riding slush with buddies, watching the UK snow teams play around on the sidehits, checking out the skate jams, or just chilling with awesome people on and off the mountain, the board test not only celebrates the end of this season, but gets everyone stoked up for next season too. It's everything snowboarding is all about – having massive fun in the mountains with your friends.

Although the comedown hurts, there wasn't a single moment of the week I'd change and, cliché or no cliché, I can't thank Ian and the crew at Snowboard Spring Break for organising what was officially one of the greatest weeks on snow... ever.

Snowboardspringbreak.com
Back to the Features homepage
Comments (324)  
  Page: 1 of 22   Next  
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:55)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:55)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:54)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:50)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:49)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:49)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:48)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:48)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:48)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:48)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:48)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:48)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:47)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:47)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
 rakngurusi (13/11/2014 @ 01:47)
Try www.snowboarding.com for the best information on snowboarding event and best holiday deals.
  Page: 1 of 22   Next  
Would you like to comment?
Join GONEboarding.co.uk for a free account, or log-in if you're already a member.
Get our Newsletter
Your E-mail Address
More Details
Find us on Facebook
© 2001-2017 GONEboarding.co.uk