The Snowboard Test - Work hard, play hard!
Harriet Bennett, Editor of the UK Whitenoize Magazine gives us an insight into The Snowboard Test. From 5th until 12th May 2012 the biggest names in UK snowboarding made the long trip to the beautiful Kaunertal glacier in the Tyrol region of Austria for the traditional end of season blowout that is The Snowboard Test.
A week filled with snow, sunshine, demos, booze, bacon sandwiches, rail jams, pub quizzes, booze, waffles, skate jams, more booze, bonfires, pork and good times – it’s always a memorable week.
Most people arrive on the Saturday giving brands such as Burton, Forum, Head, K2, Thirtytwo, Never Summer, Capita, Union, Vans, Ride, DC, Endeavour and Westbeach the chance to set up their gear for the rest of the week.
Smashing up the park and making us mere mortals feel like it’s our first time on a board, the likes of Jamie Nicholls, Billy Morgan, Andy Nudds and the rest of the UK pro’s are all there to ride and help out their sponsor teams, giving advice and causing general chaos throughout the week.
With the first day of official test riding starting on the Sunday we were treated to fresh snow and even stashes of pow across the mountain…in May! Conditions for the week really were first class, after the first few days of freshies the sun came out and treated us to t-shirt riding and spectacular views of snowcapped mountains and lush green valleys as far as the eye could see.
If that wasn’t dreamlike enough, on top of the amazing conditions, we practically had the whole mountain to ourselves, no lift queues or ski schools in sight! Wide empty pistes and spots of untouched pow - snowboarding glaciers in May rules!
Obviously the main point of the week is to test next season’s gear hence the name, and what an awesome job it is! Not only can you score bragging points with your mates but you can also make a solid decision on buying your next board!
Plus all the reviews and data gathered goes into helping others who weren’t lucky enough to attend. All the big names in the UK media use the reviews when creating their gear guides and reviews, shop crews come out to train up on the boards they’ll be selling next season, which means they will be able to help customers figure out which boards are right for them with a knowledge of tech spec and honest reviews.
If you thought the whole week was just about testing however, you’d be wrong. There’s a whole wealth of events, activities and general good times to be had throughout the week.
The first night set the pace for the rest of the week; Austrian beer was flowing and the Pfiffalm bar was packed with snowboarders who hadn’t seen each other in months. The one beer turned into several and the floor was soon covered in Jäger lids. It’s fair to say the welcome meeting instructions and advice for the happenings of the coming week were in some cases forgotten when waking up the next morning – oops! With 50 cents off beer, the Pfiffalm was the drinking spot of choice and on Sunday night Whitelines hosted their own party.
On the Monday afternoon Analog treated us to ‘Analog Après’, an afternoon of beer, Jäger and classic Austrian tunes - a perfect warm up for the Monday night annual pub quiz hosted by Westbeach and The Reason Magazine. This one is always memorable; snowboard, celebrity and royal trivia make up the question rounds but the real fun lies in the challenge rounds, which break up each quiz section. Drink downing, human pyramids, marmot art, clothes swapping and a game of soggy biscuit sorts the best from the rest and ensures a very loud, extremely competitive and super fun night! The evidence of which can be found in the green faces the next morning! Props to the Whitelines team for winning the quiz and spending the £110 prize money on Jäger!
On Tuesday Whitelines took centre stage once again for the Whitelines Rail Jam, hosted in the superbly shaped park, the name speaks for itself – it’s a rail jam. Some of the best UK riders battle it out and this year Andy Nudds reigned champion. Following the rail Jam something else that’s becoming a bit of a tradition – the skate jam/bonfire down at the skate ramp in the valley.
When there’s no official events going down the party’s still going hard, you’d be hard pushed to find anyone who’s not had a weeklong hangover by the end of the week. Luckily the lovely people from Westbeach slave away each morning over a hot BBQ up on the hill to provide bacon sandwiches for all and the Vans crew cook up their famous waffles helping to sooth those sore heads!
After week of snowboarding and partying in (equal measure!) everyone left a little emotional to say the least, every year we say it but it’s always true – ‘best test ever’. The combination of snowboarding and catching up with old friends makes for a pretty awesome week and there’s no better way to end each season. Long live The Snowboard Test.
Make sure you check back for our reviews of the best women’s boards for next season!
You can check out Harriet’s UK magazine WhiteNoize here, which focuses on the home grown snowboard scene!
Posted by Rachel Lilley on 05/22/12