”Move over little dog, a mean old dog is moving in,” I sing backup vocals to the George Thoroughgood song, while Nitro Owner Tommy Delago leads and plays a flat electric slide guitar. I find myself on stage with the Almost Pretty Good Band, made up of Tommy and Nitro Co-Owner Sepp Ardelt, along with Sepp’s two kids Eve and Philip.
Fueled by a couple too many Red Bull and Vodkas, I’ve got a case of serious liquid courage. I’d normally run away if someone asked me to sing with them, but I figure I’d fit right in with a band called the Almost Pretty Good Band. But these guys are really good! And I’m just drunk, so I don’t care. But neither do team riders Lukas and Jesse Huffman who also take turns singing on stage with the band.
At one point, the guys call up former team rider Nicola Thost to sing as well. As Sepp told me earlier, “Our goal is to see how many people we can get up on stage with us to sing and play along.” At one point in the evening, I think the band has grown to about ten members, not including the four that were thrown into the front of the band from the mosh pit.
It’s a magical evening in Garmisch, Germany. The small, underground club is packed with Nitro staff, team riders, a whole bunch of German snowboard retailers, seducing Euro babes, and drunk snowboarders. Everyone is gathered for the final blow-out party wrapping up the Nitro Summer Camp week, and people are blowing up.
By the third song into the evening, the crowd is chanting, “Nitro band! Nitro band!” Tommy reminds them the name is actually the Almost Pretty Good Band. They rip through scorching roadhouse rock songs like Mercury Blues, Twist and Shout, Move It On Over, Black Sabbath, and Sublime.
Swedish Nitro team rider Jonas Hagstrom takes center stage playing his acoustic guitar on a couple of songs including the Eagles’ Heart of Gold and Bruce Springstein’s Growing Up. Girls in the crowd melt under his good looks, powerful vocals, and musician’s charm.
After the 40-song, three-hour set, the party keeps on raging with more Euro disco songs pumping through the sound system. The smoke-filled bar is about 100 degrees, people are sweating, and everyone is having a great time.
It’s a good way to wrap up a summer camp. The day started earlier with an early wake-up and good rally to the mountain. The halfpipes held shape for about two hours, and pros like American Mark Reilly, Austrian Max Plotzeneder, and Italian Giacomo Kratter worked it for photographers and filmers like Seth Neary.
Big Air specialists like Huffman, Austrian Thomas “Beckna” Ebberharter, the Finns Juha Gutorm and Sami Hyry, and Italian Martino Orso continued the morning on the kickers. It was sunny and warm, but by noon a storm had fogged in the Zugspitze glacier, putting an early end to the riding. That was okay, though, because it had been a good week and people were ready to get moving home. Well, not until after dinner and the band.
A 6:00 p.m. barbecue, a couple of kegs, and a video presentation of the week’s riding got everyone pretty primed for the late-night party. Not that they needed it.
At one point, early in the evening, Sepp calls me aside and tells me that his wife got him his first electric guitar at age 40, and his kids grabbed it from him and started playing. That was pretty much the start of the Almost Pretty Good Band. Funny how things can begin with one simple act and just turn into something much greater. Kind of like this week. Thanks for everything.