Alright, so I fibbed a bit. On my last and first update from Nidecker’s European Vacation, I remarked that I would be posting daily stories from the trip. Well, here it is a week later and I’m just getting to it. It seems that over in the “old world” a few of the lodging establishments have yet to make the leap into the technological age by placing phone lines in each room. We happened to stay at all of them. Don’t get me wrong, the chill vibe of this type of hotel is amazing if you are looking for a romantic or peaceful getaway-but if you’re trying to work and starving for an internet connection its pretty frustrating. So, if you’ve been waiting to see what’s been happening on the trip that’s my excuse-here’s the rest of the story.
Days one and two, as you might remember, included a tour of the Nidecker factory in Rolle, Switzerland just a few miles outside of Geneva. From there the crew, Tony Smith owner of Elements Board Shop in Missoula, Montana, Jimmy DeLong owner of The Other Side in Avon, Colorado, TransWorld Media’s Justin Cobb, and I, all rolled into the Swiss Alps to ride with some of the Nidecker R&D crew for the afternoon at Les Crosets. The resort is just one of the twelve resorts that make up the Les Portes Du Soleil area where we would be spending the next three days. Three days filled with laughter, enough cold cuts and cheese to kill a person, and miles of snowboarding on a trip that none of us will probably ever forget.
That night after riding we went out for dinner in the small village of Morgins (still a part of Les Portes Du Soleil). Up to this point, the four of us were quite stoked, happy to be in the Alps with the memory of a glistening factory in our minds and the next few days to test the Nidecker products on snow.
The conditions were spring-like on the lower elevations of Les Portes Du Soleil with Morgins at one of the lower points. Large patches of grass were threaded with white highways of snow. If you didn’t know your way around (and we definitely didn’t) it was super easy to get lost trying to get to a higher elevation resort. For most of that afternoon we found ourselves shredding on grass, sticking and falling into mud puddles, or even in Jimmy’s case dragging a gloved hand over a barbed wire fence.
Here we were, in the midst of the Swiss Alps, during a war, with vast terrain just a couple of valleys away, and we just couldn’t seem to reach it. In spite of the many surprises, the four of us were just dying with laughter. “I’m so glad that we’re all so positive,” laughed Tony Smith, “’cause if one of us wasn’t it’d be a real downer.” After finally making it up into the snow, it was time to turn around for the day in order to make it to Morgins before the lifts closed. Just as we were about to get lost again we spoke up to this girl who we noticed was ripping. “Ah Merci, Parle vous Anglais?” Justin asked.
“Yeah,” she laughed, “I speak English.” After a short exchange, not only had we found ourselves a guide down to the village but also a hook up on hotel rooms for the next few nights. Turns out the girl, Mieke ran the La Reine des Alpes hotel, restaurant, and bar smack in the middle of town. We were stoked at our turn of luck, and things kept getting better for the rest of the trip.
When we woke up fresh in our new beds the next morning, we were greeted by Nidecker’s Boot and Binding Product Manager Arnauld Muscatelli. Arno (as we called him) had come up to ride with us for the next few days, and would be joined by Snowboard R&D person Jean-Luc Madier the second day. Spending an average four days a week on snow each season, Arno and Jean-Luc were amazing to ride with. The two hauled ass and maximized the terrain we covered over the next few days. Together the six of us charged all over Les Portes Du Soleil riding from Morgins, Champoussin, Les Crosets, annd Avoiraz probably averaging around seven to ten miles of snowboarding a day.
After those few days we were all beat, but the trip wasn’t totally over. Nidecker put us on the TGV train to Paris where we’d sightsee with friends of Nidecker’s Jerome Boulay for a few days before catching our planes home. As they say, all’s well that ends well-and this trip was no different.
A big thanks to everyone at Nidecker in Switzerland and the U.S., Mieke, and the Paris crew.