I’m staying at The Pink House over in Niseko right now, a great little house pretty much in the middle of nowhere. The house consists solely of DJ’s with not a snowboarder in sight which is strange considering its location. We all headed out to Sapporo at the weekend for a Psy-Trance night they run. My initial aim was to photograph the whole event but it unfolded into a very messy all nighter with my camera untouched for 95% of the evening.
Whilst recovering from the Sapporo madness i received an invite to go riding with the Seven Samurai Crew as they descended on Niseko in mass. The idea was to have a day cruising the park as they film for their latest DVD. A fresh 40cms had fallen during the night so it was a super relaxed vibe with the light not working in our favour most of the day was just spent shredding. Here’s Burton team rider Takaharu Nakai who was destroying everything all day long.
Land of the rising sun and infinite powder, or so you thought. The last ten days or so have not been nice to us with fresh snow and rays of sunshine few and far between. The Asian Open came and went which was dominated by one man; Chas Guldemont. Here he is coping with Japan downtime by sitting beside a self playing grand piano. Many who were here would argue this piano held the spotlight as much as Chas did this last week….its playing as i write this!
I’m leaving Alts Bandai in a couple of days for a boat ride up to the north Island. No more contests, no more overcast skies (please), just the Hokkaido backcountry will do nicely.
Its funny how situations pan out sometimes. You can put all sorts of effort into planning a trip but sometimes it just doesn’t work out as planned. Take this for example; i started this trip off as an invited photographer lucky enough to cruise around with a bunch of Australians throughout January. Here i am now and the “bunch” is down to 2 – Michaela and myself. “invited photographer” now fits along side a whole host titles!
So we rocked up to Chiesa Valmalenco the other day and straight away didn’t want to be here. It took us 7 hours in the end to get here, there was little sign of life around the area and no ski hill in sight. Oh how things can change. Once we’d finally made our way up the cable car to the resort our mood changed. What a sweet little place this is. We’re lucky enough to have been here whilst there’s still fresh snow kicking around. We had a wicked day riding in the sunshine, got a few shots done and Michaela managed to win the competition that was the reason we came here. Job well done.
Chilling with a beer at the end of the comp
Taking advantage of all the things to jump off – so many!
So we’re killing time in a cafe right now but will be taking a load of trains this evening so we’ll hopefully end up in Mayrhofen by tomorrow morning. Air and Style this week over in Innsbruck – it’s going to be a busy one.
Wow, what a hectic few weeks. I’m enjoying my first proper day off since the beginning of the year. Even though its a beautiful blue sky outside sometimes your body just needs a rest. I spent the first two weeks of January over in Laax and enjoyed day after day of bluebird conditions. The Burton Open came and went with the standard of riding you’d expect from such a line up of riders.
We lost two of the crew to injury whilst in Laax as Paul and Alicia had to fly back to Australia – I hope they make a speedy recovery.
The World Rookie Fest has been the latest stop over in Livigno. This is where the surprises came for me. I’ve never seen such a high standard of riding and everyone being under 18. Double front flips, double backflips 180, double cork 1080’s backside rodeo 720’s…..the list goes on. Without a doubt future snowboarding superstars are in the making here.
Stalle Sandback winning the Rookie mens
On a great note, Michaela won the rookie girl competition with a run consisting of Front 360, Nosegrab straight air, Back 360, Back 540. Definitely the run of the day and deserving of first place.
We’re off to Chiesa Valmalenco on Saturday for the weekend and will be heading over to Austria on Monday for some serious park time in Mayrhofen…….
One final note, congratulations to all the winners over in Laax last week. Here’s keving Pearce destroying the mens final taking 1st place.
The new year trip is now in full swing. I’ve been over in Laax in Switzerland for a week now. If you put the town aspect and the complete inability to eat any reasonably priced food (yesterdays meal plan: bowl of cereal, an orange, 1 packet of crisps) to one side then oh my god. Is Laax heaven? Could it be the best resort in the world? I’ve been to a few and this rates close to the top, if not the top.
I’ve hooked up with What feels like team Australia for the next month. Here’s the crew……..
Left to right; Paul McMahon, Michaela Davis-Meehan, Hugh Marsden, Alicia Barker and me at the end
Paul’s the coach of the other riders who are on a Fastride camp over here in Europe. We’re in Laax now to ride, to shoot and for the Burton European Open that starts off tomorrow. What can i say? Completely stoked on Laax, completely stoked on the guys i’m with, completely stoked on the weather (so far) and completely stoked on the vibe (eating for pleasure not included).
I’m going to try and do a “shot of the day” for the next week. Today was mens training for the halfpipe so it seems an apt place to start.
Sick Japanese riders name unknown!
Note to myself – never leave purchasing travel tickets too late. A week ago i found myself in Austria needing to get back to England with no travel ticket purchased. In the end the only financially feasible method was by bus which as a result has left me feeling horrible for a week.
Had a fun time at the Pleasurejam over on the Dachstein Glacier but unfortunately left on sunday, just as the blue skies came out. Here’s a little experimental image that i definitely want to shoot again. Foggy conditions were limiting what to shoot on the qualification day, i can’t wait to do something similar but on a clearer day.
A filmers view
Short and sweet today. Just back at home now getting over this cold. If time and money allows i may make it over to the Roxy Chicken Jam but if not this will be the last riding of the year. Back on the snow in January.
According to the TTR newsletter, “The Horsefeathers Pleasure Jam is going to kickstart the Northern Hemisphere winter”. They were obviously no way near Saas-Fee last week, still can’t quite get my head around that weather. www.fissnowboardworldcup.com have put up a funny video clip of the conditions. You should check it out.
I’ve had the most bizarre journey over to Austria over the last few days. Armed with an over active imagination and Google maps has meant the very simple Point A to Point B journey added Point C and, in addition to that, Point D. For arguments sake we’ll call them Venice and Prague. A whole different story together.
Anyway, the point of this blog. You may or may not of heard of The Ketchup Smugglers. They’ve become somewhat popular amongst the UK snowboard industry during this last year as a result of a short video based upon “the worst snowboarders in the world”. I first met Paul Lappin, the genius behind the idea, over in Fernie at the beginning of the year. I’d like to say i helped in filming the second instalment but holder of the video camera would probably sound more apt.
Fast forward to New Zealand in July where we lived and rode together whilst making the third short film. Long story short, its just been released via the powerful medium of Youtube. If you’ve got 25 minutes spare i’d watch the first 2 films before watching the latest one. Alternatively, if you’re short on time or patience just click on this beautiful image from the ‘photo shoot’ which will take you to the new one.
All jokes aside, i think its a pretty good portrait of a season in New Zealand……definitely of ours! If you like it please pass the link on, everyone who likes snowboarding should see this.