Traveling 18 hours to Europe seems like a lot of time for only three days of snowboarding, but that’s what myself, TransWorld Snowboarding Editor Kurt Hoy, Freeze Editor Micah Abrams, and Chief did. K2 Snowboards had invited us to Saas Fee, Switzerland for three days of riding, a product line introduction, and an all-around good time. There were also ski journalists and snowboard and ski retailers attending to check out K2’s 2004/05 lines of snowboards and skis, plus learn more about the company and hang with K2’s key managers.
The trip involved a long flight across the U.S. to NYC where we hooked up with K2 Sales Director Chuck Mason, then another longer flight to Zurich, Switzerland. There our group of five rendezvoused with about fifteen others, loaded up into rental cars, and then proceeded to travel a good three hours to Saas Fee, a quaint and beautiful ski town wedged high in the Alps.
The highlight of the ride was when we had to drive our car onto a train that ferried us through a long, dark tunnel. Europeans love their tunnels that go right through huge mountains, but being in a car on a train was kind of weird.
Fall was in the air at Saas Fee. I had been there four months earlier, at the end of June and early July with the Nitro crew for a summer camp, and that was the last time I had snowboarded. I was ready to make some more turns, but the weather didn’t look like it was cooperating. Although the town is at about 6,000 feet, and it was definitely chilly, there was no snow on the ground when we got there. But the riding takes place on a glacier at 11,000 feet, and it had received quite a bit of snow lately and more snow was predicted.
Once we arrived in Saas Fee, we had to ditch our car in a big parking lot at the end of town, and then walk in. There are no cars allowed on the streets, except a few quiet electric taxis that shuttled people and their luggage to and from the hotels. But we just dragged our stuff in, figuring after the long trip a brisk walk would wake us up.
At the hotel we were greeted by K2’s advanced logistics crew that included some snowboard teamriders who were along for a dealer catalog photo shoot. The first night included beers, dinner, and a visit to the ever popular snowboard shop/bar called Popcorn—really the only bar for snowboarders to hang out in. And despite serious sleep deprivation from the international journey, the crew descended on the bar and enjoyed a raucous Saturday night of crisp European beers, myriad shots and some questionable pool playing.
Everyone was looking forward to getting up on the glacier, getting some fresh air, and making some turns. We’d also get the first official line presentations and see what we were really brought to Saas Fee to check out.
Check out tomorrow’s story for more on the K2 Saas Fee line presentation.