Winter snowboard camp stories — Our first off-piste kicker
Over the past couple of winter seasons we’d been making the most of a little hidden gem close to a piste in Mayrhofen. It always held the powder real well with it being north facing, and with no obvious entry it kept the usual powder punters away. Our previous experience in the area was restricted to a cruise through with some natural jumps, but last season we wanted to make things a little more interesting.
Our plan was to build some kind of jump in the area. After a bit of scoping we decided to use some of the natural terrain to save on the build time and allow us an easy drop in. Our drop in was formed under at the base of some cliffs.
The crew cut in a series of steps and created a drop in platform that would allow the guys to strap in. The crew sideslipped the drop in to create a more solid base to the snow a few times. The drop in was tight, as you only had around 10–15m before the jump. That did mean no typical big speed checks. You just picked a drop in point and gunned it to the jump. A great way to build that commitment and focus for the job at hand. Whilst some of the guys were dealing with the drop in. The rest of us worked on the kicker.
We used a rock to act as the facing to the jump, so we could cut the transition in behind it. We then pulled together a few boards to support the snow on one corner whilst we padded down the snow with our shovels for the kicker and the rest of the drop in.
There was a small gap to the landing, which was not that steep. This being our first jump I was looking to build rider confidence. Working to hard on speed and pop would only complicate things.
We were mainly focused on straight airs, so although we had a couple of small trees to dodge, it was fine if you did not drift too far from the centre of the kicker.
I was on photo duty so the crew got to battle it out on who was going to try the kicker first. To be honest no one was really ready to throw themselves in the deep end. There are a brief debate and then Craig stepped up. He took it easy and went for a nice straight air.
That was enough to show the team the possibilities and the speed for the drop in. Jesse was next up. He did take a little time to compose himself. Once he’d decided it was time he delivered a sweet grab. The session was then on.
All the crew started to build their confidence over the jump with a series of straight airs. After the guys had managed a few hits, we filled in the landing a bit to keep it soft.
This helped a lot for Marc, when we decided to go for a frontflip. It did not quite work out as planned, but it was hilarious to watch the first hit. He had a few more attempts and got real close.
A few of the other guys went for some 180's, but it was getting a bit tough on the landing, so everyone eased back into some straight airs to finish.
Overall the session was wicked fun. A great way to spend an afternoon. We were away from the crowds, chilling as a crew having a wicked time challenging ourselves to try something new that delivered some brilliant memories.