Summer has started, and that means another year in Saas Fe, Switzerland for the Nitro team camp. Running the month of July, it marked its fourth summer and was the biggest one yet. During the second week of the camp, Nitro hosts their international and national riders. People come to ride, hang, and just get to know everyone on the team.
The second day of camp kicked off the air guitar championships. This was a definite icebreaker. By acting out their favorite songs, it helped everyone feel like a complete freak. After a long night of competition, and a close run by both the Swiss girls team and the Italian team, the U.S team won with thanks to the pyrotechnics of Andrew Crawford and air drumming by Mark Frank. They were awarded with Flaming Speed Boats, an adult drink that makes you act like a child, every glass ending up on the floor. Watching these teams perform, the whole night was comedy. It was fun times that lasted until 5 in the morning.
Getting back to snowboarding, the on-hill setup included ten rails, one halfpipe, a boardercross track, a channel gap, a sixty foot table and a step-up jump. In addition, with no salt allowed, part of the trick is in dealing with the inconsistency. A typical day on the hill starts at 8:00 a.m. Things usually shut down around 1:00 p.m. due to the heat, and are followed by a light lunch. The annual country vs. country soccer battle was held on the afternoon of July 14th. The games began with sixteen teams, including a Media team and, turning out as a surprise favorite, a Japanese team. As usual, the U.S. team lost the first round to Sweden. The final round ended up between France and the Swiss-2 team. The French appropriately claimed victory, as July 14th was also their national holiday.
European camps differ from the camps in the states in many ways. There is definitely a more laid back attitude, bring what you want to grill for lunch and chill. Nobody regulates where you ride, just watch out for the pushy ski racers in training (some things never change). On the final evening of camp, everyone came together to hear The Almost Pretty Good Band. They have seven members, not counting the Nitro team riders on back up vocals. The band includes Thomas Delago (Nitro owner), Sepp Ardelt (Nitro owner), Scalp (photographer), Jonas Hagstom (Nitro team rider), Sergio Stramare (Nitro boot developer), Patrick Ardelt (musician), and Eves Ardelt (musician). Keeping in mind that there is really no age limit at the bars there (bad news?), it was an amazing evening for all!
Without the Swiss distribution team, who lent their cars and put their lives on hold for the Nitro team week, none of this could have happened. Lead by their fearless leader, Hannes Speath, a warning label should come with the Iuter clan. This warning should let you know that you will end up breaking glass, throwing fluids, and sleeping anywhere but your hotel bed. And, that next afternoon, when the fog clears, you will still be wondering how they managed to get you that way. Thanks goes out to those who attended- it seems that each summer just gets better and better!