Legendary Oldschool - nearly 400 "somewhat crazy" snowboarders celebrated the roots of snowboarding in Stuben am Arlberg and completed a 1001 vertical meters backcountry race of the extra class.
Here comes our full report with many colorful pictures.
The Arlberg is traditionally known as the cradle of skiing, elitist and chichi on the one hand, sporty and freaky on the other, a region with proud winter sports history, many legends and traditions. At the foot of the Arlberg Pass, almost hidden, lies the sleepy village of Stuben with its freeride area the Albonagrat, ever since traded as an insider tip.
18 years ago, up here at the Albona middle station, the Swiss snowboard pioneer Paul Gruber had the idea to create a Snowboarding Classic meeting, the Longboard Classic Stuben. Since 1999, exactly 18 years after a first snowboard TV report on Swiss television, initiated by Paul, you meet every year in Stuben to celebrate together the Woodstock of Snowboarding and compete for fun in a very unique snowboard race down from the Albonagrat.
But what are we solitude-seeking backcountry enthusiasts looking for at such a spectacle?
A similar question may have been asked by the Stuben Tourism Director Rudi Pichler anno 99, when Paul came up to him with the idea of a snowboard woodstock in his quiet and sleepy village. Finally, the Longboard Classic still meets every snowboarder's cliché, but in a way that Rudi obviously has grown heart, as he reasserted his well-earned retirement under the applause of the many "somewhat crazy snowboarders".
"Stay like that, a bit of craziness is good," and without beeing a little like that, he would have hardly engaged with the Longboard Classic Stuben at that time.
Beach weather- Friday 31. March 2017
Since days the city has been running in half summer mode, the barbecues are smoldering and the neighbors look a bit irritated when we pack the snowboards into the car, the splitboards to be exact. Because, and here I can only speak for myself (the others please add your comments), unfortunately i mercilessly underestimated the ideational value of my 89er Elan Hot Pipe. And honestly, all the years I had no idea to whom I owe my rad-air Soul, which I rode in the middle of the 90s with a Raichle snowboarder hardboot, the longboard classic organizer, crazy banana and rad-air founder Paul Gruber namely. The boots, by the way, already with Vibram sole and generous forward lean adjustment, would now, perhaps up to its weight, be a super splitboard hardboot.
At the snowboardmuseum.de of Armin Lutz, who had exhibited his Jeff Brushie Burton collection here in Stuben, you might also find your first boards again, if you could not have them at the LBC.
Back to the present, memories will be aroused this weekend in great numbers, whether at the sight of a familiar top-sheet or a historic brand among the many classic boards that will be used in the race tomorrow.
At the latest when the skateboards rush through the village street, the Pogo truck takes position and Mortal Kombat rocks the moonlight bar, it is clear that the 18th Longboard Classic in Stuben am Arlberg have opened.
1001 vertical meters fun - 1. April 2017
Not far from the Albonabahn and with a view of the entire Albonagrat face is the small but fine test and eventarea. Several brands that we also appreciate for their splitboard material are part of the game, but today they have concentrated on their longest and most unusual boards. The Goodboards Crew traditionally celebrated their company birthday on the LBC, seven years ago they presented their first goodboards here at the LBC. Also Deeluxe, Never Summer, Nitro and Capita are on the start, plus Dupraz, Radical and some more.
As it is for a woodstock, many have slept in their buses and are therefore much earlier awake than us, while we enjoyed an extended breakfast in the former Posthaus. A little time for chatting was still available to us, but then shortly before late, when boardsport pioneers such as Titus Dittmann and Jogi März (Pogo) start moving slowly and relaxed towards the lift, we should also go. In three lifts we are up the mountain and are overwhelmed.
A few more minutes, then the race is started in Le Mans style. This means you have to run a few dozens of meters to the slope with your board under the arm, then strap up as fast as possible and ride in a free line over the wide slopes down to the thousand and one meter lower lying finish line.
We have never ever seen so many snowboarders riding on one face together and never seen so many different boards of more than 30 years of snowboard history shredding the same slope.
Even the race is started in different classes, the Longboard Masters alone are a proud 50 men, oldschoolers and noschoolers much more, the face quickly looked like a funny colorful busy picture.
Eddie the Eagle flies into the valley and the later starters young and old look after him. In the foreground "Herti" Herterich, who gave us a fine mix of drumming dancehall, classic hip-hop and relaxing reggae last night with his Soundsystem Mortal Kombat from Regensburg. Keep your ears open, just now they were guests with Pow Pow Movement at Backstage in Munich.
As soon as the first ones disappear in depth, the next pack starts ...
Liz Kristoferitsch pulled off the most powerful start. Coming with a crazy speed out of the strapping zone, she dropped into the still rather rudely hard slope and only a few seconds later, far down in the mellow spring snow, you see her cruising away in elegant long turns towards the steep final slope, once again winning the LBC Masters of the ladies.
Neonflash and relaxed cruising. You can find more pictures of the race in the gallery at the beginning of the report.
Biggest respect for the kids, the youngest 5 years old, who have mastered this not-so-easy 1001-meter run as great as everyone else.
While Paul still greets the riders with a few hundred high fives at the finish line, in the back the relaxing already heavily started with bright sunshine and t-shirt temperatures.
Very tempting to stay here after lunch and just to enjoy the colorful hustle and bustle. But in the rare events that we old splitboarders are holding lift tickets, the Albonagrat and it's many variants call us again. And who ever wanted to try a longboard, where if not here is a better opportunity? The next time maybe only at the Longboard Classic # 19 on 7th April 2018 in Stuben am Arlberg.
Let's take a look at the results, or better read them on the official Longboard Classic page, alongside with many other pictures and information about past and coming LBCs.
Award ceremonies and honorific speeches can easily become a boring story, but not when the co-organizer and former chief editor of the snowboarder MBM, Muck Müller enters the stage. Charmingly cheeky, he presents the winners and honorable guests of this year.
We've already mentioned Liz Kristoferitsch, left picture in the middle, Vice Worldchampion of the FWT 2011, but we didn't tell you that she's at home not far from Stuben and doing splitboar and snowboard guideing here at Arlberg, too. Clear home advantage.
Also the quiet, friendly gentleman in the middle looks back on a very successful time in the snowboarding competitions. First Freestyle, then Alpin in the World Cup and 1998 the first snowboarder with an Olympic medal in hands, as well as vice and double world champion 99 to 2001 in boardercross, etc. and so on ... until he has been concentrating exclusively on freeriding and splitboarding since 2006 and the extreme thrill of speedriding with a mini paraglider and ski: Ueli Kestenholz. After his success at the LBC, he posted to Facebook: When you're not "old school" enough and your (shred) stick is not long enough, they put you in the "no school" category here at #longboardclassicstuben. To my own surprise I happened to be the fastest down this 1000 vertical meter face!"
The Noschool winner of the ladies, Steffi Günther, discovered her love for snowboard freeriding many years ago in Laax and she "likes to hike up the mountain, too, if it must be," as she has revealed in an old videocast.
The Waibel brothers Matt and Joe shared the first place among the oldschool gentlemen. Both of them have already been awarded at the LBC for many years, but today they are especially happy about their joint victory, together with Kurt Tütscher and his mega oldschool jet trousers on the second place.
Peace & Music
Special guest of the LBC # 18 is the legendary East Coast Freestyler Jeff Brushie. In the mid 80s, he and his friends shaped the first halfpipes and brought a lot of new tricks and rad airs into snowboarding. Together with Craig Kelly and Terje Haakonsen in the Burton team, he played a decisive role in the snowboard hype during the 90s. His numerous pro-models on display in the snowboard museum testify till today the dynamics of theses times. One of his last Burton boards, the Jeff Brushie Craps Table of 96, is already marked by a further passion of him, the Gambling, which he devoted himself after his goodbye from the snowboarding business. Oldschool & East Coast = Hip Hop and so it does not take too much persuasion that Jeff takes the micro and makes the human Beatbox - Bumm Tschsch Bumm Tschsch.
Yeah, High Fives from Jeff to the small and big kids.
The list of legends and snowboard pioneers on the LBC is long, very long, too long.. there would be so many things to tell about each of these personalities. Thank heavens the Münsteran Titus Dittmann, grandfather of the German skateboard scene, wrote an autobiography about his fulfilling life. If desired, a hand-signed copy of "Open and Above Board" was given away by Titus to the LBC visitors.
Titus still wants much more than just having fun on the boards of the world. Thomas D of the famous German hip hop crew Fanta 4 wrote of the book cover: "Titus, who is a big child, is still crazy, he has a big heart, and yes: freaky guy, wicked guy." Instead of slowly settling down with well over sixty, the former high school teacher Dittmann built a skate park in Afghanistan in 2010 to promote the development of a peace-loving civil society.
Some may laugh about Titus's approach "boarding for peace", but the core of his message is such true and definitely the connecting element of all board sports: The freedom to make your own decisions, collective, self-responsible and determined doing your thing instead of dull fighting "the wars of the old men." Feeling the sense of life and shaping an identity is not only necessary in crisis areas like Afghanistan, but also the youths of the industrialized world are increasingly brought back into line, including psychopharmacs such as Ritalin.
Consequentially Titus' local commitment is focused on scientifically proving that skating and snowboarding is a suitable form of therapy for behavioral or emotional disorders, thereby making life fun and free personality development "prescribable". The skate-aid project also initiates and supports worldwide skate initiatives, for example workshops in Algerian refugee camps or the construction of a skate park in the Rwandan capital Kigali. You too can support support skate-aid and with the LBC collection hopefully some future obstacles can fe funded.
The last words of thanks by Muck and Paul to the sponsors, guests and simply everyone who was there, are followed by a rain of gifts, shirts and beanies. Then the stage is open again for the ClubCharlotte DJ Collectiv, which has provided the pleasant afternoon sound.
With the night came the LBC Movie Night and beautiful old snowboard delicacies were shown. Afterwards of course the party until the morning, indoors wild and loud, outside in the parking lots a bit chillier at the barbecue fires, just as you imagine a snowboard woodstock.
Splitboarding in Stuben am Arlberg
The most significant touring mountain from Albonagrat is the 2896m high Kaltenberg. A long splitboard tour with 3 transitions, which opens a great north-side 1400 vertical meters downhill to Langen.
Day temperatures of about 20 degrees in the valley and far above zero high up, along with a route with constantly changing exposures, the last climb southwards .. No, the Kaltenberg still has to wait for us. Instead, we do more harmless nonsense and fight up the scraped and still hard-frozen finish slope of yesterday's race, finally bootpacking. Above we enjoy the gentle terrain and split in the blazing snow towards Kaltenberghütte. The somewhat steeper slopes below the Maroiköpfe seem more interesting than the traverse to the hut and so we hike up to the Maroiköpfe to meet some variant riders from the Albonagrat. Of course we ask ourselfs: Why the hell didn't we by touring tickets in the morning to have some more time doing a few laps up here in the beautiful snow more time for a few laps?
No matter, next time we may be smarter, more precisely on the weekend of April 7, 2018, at the Longboard Classic # 19 in Stuben am Arlberg.
It has been a really nice and funny time at the LBC. So the answer to the question, what loneliness loving spiltboarders want at a Snowboard Woodstock, should be answered more than enough and like the Stubener tourism Rudi 18 years ago, the LBC has grown immediately to our heart.
Thank you Muck and Paul for the invitation and all the supporters and all who were there for this refreshing weekend.