The snowboard world has quickly separated into two groups: those with iPods and those without. Shin Campos has one, Tyeson Carmody doesn’t. Tyeson’s still using an old CD player and carrying around CDs, and this particular evening Shin wasn’t impressed with Tyeson’s music selection. So the iPod was hooked up to the portable speakers, and thousands of songs were readily available to the crew. Shin selected a hip-hop mix to mellow out the mood.
They were both in Saas Fee, Switzerland, attending the Nitro Team Camp for the week, and this evening a small group of American and Canadian riders were chilling in a hotel room, drinking gin and tonics, and talking shit.
Fellow Nitro teamrider Lukas Huffman had announced to the room’s occupants that his Diesel 55 apparel contract was over and he’d be riding for Nitro’s new Legion apparel line.
Everyone passed on their condolences, knowing that sponsors are key to maintaining the pro life, and at the time Diesel had been a good ticket.
After about an hour, the crew rallied for another evening out on the small Swiss mountain town. By the end of the evening, everyone was once again back at Popcorn, the bar/snowboard shop that became the unofficial headquarters of the Nitro camp.
The week was full of excitement both on and off the hill. On the slopes, what started out to be a full summer camp with slushy conditions, turned cloudy and foggy, then rained one afternoon, and even snowed mid week.
It seemed the longer the summer camp took place, the more it turned into a winter camp. Americans were laughing at the fact that they were making powder turns on July 4th. Later that evening a group bought a ton of fireworks and celebrated in mad style. The Swiss know how to produce fireworks-these were some of the best store-bought explosions ever launched.
Another exciting subplot of the week was the soccer tournament. Each country fielded a team and upsets were aplenty. The Canadians won their first match against the French, but then lost to the Italians. Several games when right down to shootouts, including the finals, where one of the Swiss teams beat the Czech team for the title. (The U.S. team lost to Austria 3-1 in the first round.)
Fittingly, the camp reached it’s peak in both riding and parties on Saturday. Up on the glacier, the weather broke, the snow was great, the pipe was groomed to perfection, the jumps were set, and everyone raised their riding to new levels for the cameras. It was a productive day for everyone.
And the final night was host to the Nitro Party. This is an almost annual occasion where the owners of the company—Tommy Delago and Sepp Ardelt—play in a rock party band. One of Sepp’s sons, Yves, the European photographer Scalp, Nitro teamrider Jonas Hagstroem, and Nitro Boot and Binding Product Manager Sergio Stramare all joined them on stage for different songs. At one point, the Italian contingent including brothers Giacomo and Filipo Kratter got up on stage to help with backing vocals, as did myself during another song. And the owner of the hotel where we all stayed also sang a couple of songs, which everyone loved. Yves’ other band, The Creeps, opened up the evening with songs like Weezer’s The Sweater Song.
It was a wild, rocking, Vodka-Red Bull fueled evening that lasted well into the early hours of the morning. The next day as people recovered from hangovers and recollected about the evening and previous week, everyone agreed it was a great time and they can’t wait for next year’s camp.
While Nitro staff hurried out of town to get back to work by Monday morning, some riders were staying on for another week of summer camp. Quite a few were off to tour Europe for a couple more days of sightseeing before heading home, and I was heading to Italy with Tommy to tour some binding factories. Log back on to read more about that in an upcoming report on www.transworldsnowboarding.com. Until then, turn on the iPod and listen to some more tunes..