Before starting a business in the snowboard industry I used to think that I’d snowboard a lot more if I worked with snowboards every day. Little did I know that trade show season falls right in prime snow season. Trade show prep, OR, SIA and ISPO basically take up all of January and February. This was our third year at the trade shows so we were a bit more prepared, but it is always exhausting being on your feet all day and talking for eight hours straight. To make matters worse the brilliant planners of SIA and ISPO decided to over lap there show dates so small companies like Karakoram have to be at SIA on Thursday and Friday, fly to Munich on Saturday, land in Munich Sunday morning and go straight to ISPO. It is always fun being jet lagged and talking to retailers. At one point I remember loosing my train of thought and staring at the wall mid conversation.
The Euros really know how to party. Starting up around 3:30 each day crowds gathered in the snowboard hall and the techno music started to blare. Three weeks straight of trade shows really takes its toll, so it was great that Chad from Jones set up an Austrian Split-together following ISPO. We drove to Innsbruck with Moritz from Element Sports (our German distributor) in his rad Sprinter van.
After a short taxi ride up a twisty turny road we arrived at the Lizumer Hut.
When Chad told me “Hut” I thought it would be small cold mountain hut with grungy old wool blankets. This “hut” turned out to be more of a 5 star luxury accommodation perfectly placed in the mountains so we could tour right out the front door. I don’t think I could have dreamed up a better trade show wind down or detox as we started calling it. This beautiful terrain was right out the front door.
The snow pack was a little unstable, so we stayed really tame on the line choices. I think Tyler and I splitboarded from 8 am to 8 pm both days. The powder was too good to not ride all day long.
Tyler, Chad, Mitch and Jeremy before the first lap.
Jeremy taking the Ultacraft splitboard for its virgin ride.
Jeremy has made a living off of toe side slashing and basically gave us a clinic all day long.
We had quite the posse.
Mitch Toelderer showing us how to ride mach 5 and launch off pillows.
Chad throwing up a roost
Bryce surfing an Austrian wave.
After each day of splitboarding we’d come back late and have a great dinner waiting for us; goulasch, spinach dumplings, cheese dumplings, etc. It felt great to be in the mountains again.
Before leaving Austria we had the opportunity to hang out with Mitch and Bibi another day. They took us on one of their classic ridge walks.
Tyler and Mitch just before dropping into some waist deep powder.
After the ridge walk we jumped on a train and headed to Chamonix. We didn’t realize the train ride would be so long, but after riding some great pow it wasn’t that big of a deal. The trip to Chamonix was really short as we only had a day before flying out of Geneva. We were able to meet up with Tom and Martin from Zero G.
Tyler with fun straightline on a slack country line out of Brevent.
Ending the trade show season with some snowboarding made everything feel a little less like work. It’s always nice to spend more time on my splitboard as this is why we make our gear.