So, I went to Austria for Red Bull Playstreets. There are a number of articles and videos so I’ll spare you the details.

My NS article:

http://newschoolers.com/web/content/news/news_id/2532/

My Red Bull article #1:

http://www.redbullskiing.com/news/2009/02/red-bull-play-streets-kicks-of.php

My Red Bull article #2:

http://www.redbullskiing.com/news/2009/02/russ-henshaw-crowned-king-of-r.php

I put together a midseason edit with park footy from CO and pow footy from Austria:

http://newschoolers.com/web/content/videos/id/248355/

After laying low in Breck for less than two weeks, I hopped another plane back to Europe with friend and fellow Liberty team rider Alex Applegate for a month long adventure consisting of competing, skiing, shooting, and traveling.

Al grabs a few Z’s over the Atlantic. I would have tried harder to sleep had I known we were about to travel to five countries and ski that day.

Fabio Studer was kind enough to scoop us from Zurich and put us up at his place in Koblach, Austria. We passed through the small country of Leichtenstein (more about this later) on the way. His town has daily bakery delivery, which we took full advantage of. Spending Euros, ballin’ baby.

After hanging out in Austria for the afternoon, we decided to head to Germany for a little night skiing. We packed into the V-Dub and hit the road.

The lights of Alpsptiz Bahn drew us in like moths to a porch light.

After convincing them into some tickets, we hit the slopes. The rolling hills, dimly lit night skiing, and warm weather reminded me of the Midwest. Fabio got down to work (Al photo).

Al and I were sleep deprived and the eerie fog brought us to a somewhat hallucinogenic state. I still managed to grind a rail or two (Al photo).

Alex was so cracked out, he thought he got into a fist fight with a large, curvy German woman. In reality he just punched this barrel. 

We were really losing it, so we headed towards a hill-side restaurant for nourishment. Unfortunately, it was closed but as we peered in through the windows, an older German woman came out of seemingly nowhere to open it up for us and cook us some food. She spoke no English, and we speak very little German, so this mythical creature did most of the translating for us.

We’re ready for our first meal in Germany. Feed us!

After some pork sausages and kraut, we headed back to the park for a few more runs (Al photo)

While Alex and I shot stills, Fabio was busy hiking a rail. You can see his edit from that night here:

http://newschoolers.com/web/content/viewvideo/id/253777/cat/top/search_string/fabio+studer/

We headed back to Austria and crashed out hard. Our day of 5 countries and skiing had done us in. The next day, we headed into the Alps to Silvretta Montafon with the Aestivaion crew in hopes of filming some BC jumps. The snow was pretty baked out but we still found a few good turns.

The following day brought some undesirable weather so we stayed down in the valley. Alex and I couldn’t help but explore the Austrian countryside. When we came to a field, we crossed it. When we came to a river, we built a crude bridge with stones and jumped it.

Al’s takeoff collapsed causing his crossing to be slightly wetter than expected.

In the middle of some farmland, we noticed a small patch of concrete and a little shack. It was a model airplane field and inside the shack were a couple of friendly Austrians working on their helicopters.

Down another country road, we came to a VERY small church.

Further still, a farm. As we approached, the whole barn of cows emptied out to meet us.

We found our way back to Koblach and wouldn’t ya know it, this friendly cop was there to greet us! He couldn’t quite support Al’s weight, and they tipped over.  I wonder how many people he had pulled over that day…

The only reason we didn’t get arrested is because Al holds the power of the sun in his hands.

Having not fully explored Lichtenstein, we borrowed the VW and headed West on the autobahn.

The mystic land approaches.

Lichtenstein is a wonderful little country that occupies a 62 square mile chunk of land between the border of Switzerland and Austria and is home to 35,000 people. Although they have a government that writes laws and whatnot, the prince has final say over everything in his monarchy. They are considered one of the “tax haven” countries and have no interest in joining the EU. Partially because of this, they boast one of the highest standards of living in the world.

A big air comp called the Newschool Picknick was set to take place the next day. We were all invited so we once again over packed the car and headed towards Planai.

We had no money for the tunnel, so we took the scenic route over Arlberg Pass, the birthplace of skiing.

We arrived just in time for a free dinner and the riders meeting.

In the morning we began to test the jump. Hiking was the quickest way to get in the most laps.

Lesh misty sev.

Fabio double grabbin.

Lesh cork 9.

The qualifiers were over and with a few hours before finals, Alex and I decided it would be a good idea to adventure through the woods just before dark in an attempt to take a short cut and ski back to our hotel for a quick bite.

We snapped a few photos on the way including this one of me almost destroying Al’s new flash.

Partly due to an inaccurate trail map, we misjudged our route and ended over 6 kilometers from anything, completely cliffed out. After billy-goating our way down numerous cliff bands, we had no choice but to try and hike out.

Al and I pretended everything was fine as it began to get dark, but we started to consider the possibility of digging a snow cave and holing up for the night. You can tell this was one of the less scary faces we climbed up because we were actually able to get out the camera.

Over four hours of misery later, we made it out after dark to a canyon with a small river running through it. We were very excited to be alive as you can tell.

We made our way over fences and fields to a small road, and eventually hitch hiked out.

After a quick regroup at the hotel, we headed back out for the finals. Patrick Hollaus grabs tail.

You can see more pics of the Newschool Picknick and my first week in Europe in my  Newschoolers article here:

http://newschoolers.com/web/content/news/news_id/2579/

The next stop was Flachauwinkl for Absolut Progression, a weeklong private park event. The first day brought bad weather and since it was where Herman Maier grew up skiing, we figured it would only be right to throw on some aerodynamic gaper outfits and smash gates all day. Paddy, Fabio, and I looking amazing.

We had the course and timers to ourselves. Christoph was not fooling around.

Alex and I would have loved to stay longer, but a two week Liberty powder trip with Freeskier and Skiing Magazine were calling us from Switzerland. We once again packed out bags and Christoph dropped us off at the nearest bahnhof (train station). We spent the day on Europe’s fine railway system heading towards Vals, our first ski destination.

The last leg of our journey involved a sketchy bus ride deep into the Alps through a dead end slot canyon.

In the morning we awoke to fresh snow and great terrain with no one but us willing to ski it. I overlook the small town of Vals, Switzerland.

If you like the above pic and want to see more from our trip, check out the following links:

Skiing Magazine:

http://www.skinet.com/travel/2009-03/secret-switzerland

Freeskier Magazine:

http://www.freeskier.com/articles/article.php?article_id=3619

More updates soon to follow…


Opinions