If you don't know about Sani Alibabic, you should. Guy's been snowboarding for a long time. While many of you were still picking your nose in elementary school he was helping shape the Austrian snowboard scene by bringing a raw and smooth skate style to snow. After diverting a few years to bang out the film In Short, Sani is back working with Pirate Productions and lapping the shred dream. Here's a little of what he's up to now.
Did you feel like the captain of the pirates this winter?
Well, I really just helped out since I knew a lot about traveling and whatever comes up with filming, especially with riders who haven't done this very much. I've been snowboarding for like seventeen years and filming for like eight or so, but when I was younger it was always good to have somebody around to help. When I first started traveling it was Gigi [Ruf] and I, and Blotto helped us a lot, so I just try to do the same thing for those guys.
Do you think you'll do another project with David [Benedek], Boris [Benedek], or Christoph [Weber] again?
Well, I don't know, I'd like to. I definitely enjoyed the two years filming with them and we've been friends forever. We started together. The scene in Europe is pretty tight, everybody knows everybody. David, Christoph, Boris, Gigi, and I were kind of hanging out when we all started so it's always fun to hang out with those guys, and if they do a movie again I'd for sure be up to it.
Yeah if you went back to the old days, that'd be a sick crew.
Yeah it would be fun. David is trying to write a book so I'm not sure right now. He's a really creative guy in everyway. He even won a package design award for In Short. It's cool because it's has nothing to do with snowboarding.
You spent some time in Alaska in an RV, how was that?
It can be pretty hard to be stuck up there in the RV with four other guys. The first year we were all up there in one RV for three and a half weeks. Lots of vodka and wine and a lot of microwave food. You get kind of used to it. It's so remote and peaceful. You get used to the outside toilet too, I felt weird going to a real one.
What's something that drives you and you like doing outside of snowboarding?
I like skateboarding a lot. I started surfing a couple years ago and I'm really into that—not good at it but, really into it. I just like being in nature and everything that has to do with nature surfing is pretty cool because of that. I grew up in Austria so there's no seaside close by so when I started I was scared of water and waves…I'm still scared, but I just wanted to do it so bad. I just fought the fear.
Where did you start surfing?
The south of France in Hossegor, Biarritz—and in Spain too, San Sebastian and Bilbao. I was outside of Bilbao this summer at Sopelana and hanging with Iker Fernandez in San Sebastian.
Do you plan on filming with Pirates next year?
Yeah. I liked it this year and I have filmed with them before for the first project called Decent Frames on 8mm. I had this three-year break where I filmed with David for In Short and then during those years they switched to 16mm. It was cool to see the transformation and improvements with everything and the progress they've made. They're really professional now. I think they're more professional than a lot of crews now. I think it's a cool thing and I think I'm gonna stay with them as long as I can.
It looks like you have a good crew going. Have you checked out Per-Hampus' movie Pony Tale?
I've seen parts of it so far. I was really stoked. I heard that they're doing the premieres with Travis' movie in some spots. It's funny that those two movies are having premieres together because they're kind of on opposite spectrums. There's one movie that doesn't have a lot of budget but it's still really fun to watch, and then you have the Travis movie that's very dramatic with all those heli shots.
What did you think of Travis' movie?
It's for sure good footy and Travis is for sure the best snowboarder right now. But I thought there was too much drama. Maybe fifteen minutes shorter? I don't know how much time you can show mountain goats jumping around.
Yeah all the riding was sick no doubt, the music and drama was a little much. Have you ever gone riding with Travis?
No, just a few contests but he's so good at riding, all the freeriding as well.
Where did you grow up riding in Austria?
Just some close hills by Innsbruck. When I started we were not allowed to go on the lift so we just hiked the mountain. It was pretty weird for Austria because it's pretty open for winter sports. That was only the first year though, and then it opened for snowboarders everywhere.I kind of hated it at first. I just did it because I was skating before and all my skater friends were into snowboarding because we didn't have any indoor parks or anything to skate. I wasn't really too into winter sports before and it was the cool thing to do so I had to do it. It took me a while to get the hang of it.
Where did you spend this summer?
I went snowboarding in New Zealand and Australia for the first time this summer. I don't know, I wasn't too stoked on it though. New Zealand was cool, but it was just too long. We were there for four weeks.
The season in Europe was super good and pretty long so it was hard to beat. I went to Whistler for the first week of camp and then when I came back to Europe the soccer championships were going on and there was bad weather, not really summer, not warm. On the way to New Zealand though I went to Bali for twelve days to surf. By the time I got the paddling power back it was time to leave. It was fun, but I was pretty bummed to leave.
What kind of riding did you get into down there?
We did everything there. The park riding, the free riding. The waves were sick in New Zealand though. I wish I had my surfboard. Nicolas [Müller] was with us and he hurt his foot skating so he went to Fiji, it's only a couple hour flight from New Zealand and pretty cheap, so he just went there and kicked it. I think he went surfing too. We went to Sydney, Australia later, it was a really cool city and the surf was good.
Any heli stuff?
No, but we did a lot of hiking and backcountry around all those club fields. It was sick and deep pow for sure, but it was pretty sketchy with those nutcracker lifts.
What are those things all about?
There's a rope that goes around like a surface lift and you have to wear this harness with a metal thing that looks like a nutcracker. You have to ride to the rope and catch it with some momentum and put that thing around the rope while holding on super hard. With the deep snow it was pretty tough. Pretty fun, but a wild experience.