Freeride is our passion - the essence of snowboarding!
I remember that freeride touched me "fatally" in 1978, when father took us children to ski in an abandoned quince grove on the Tokaj mountain.
We walked up to the Csurgó valley with the children from the neighborhood on old, Slovak, cable skis. The new situation was immediately grasped, we found a much longer, grass-based track than we could slide on before. You had to dodge some trees, slide under some crowns, and jump over a cliff. It was very exciting, I liked the spontaneous tasks given by the terrain and the deeper, thicker snow. The place had an unforgettable atmosphere, the thick blanket of snow surrounded us everywhere in the valley with a white, soft embrace. I've been attracted to it ever since - ever since I grew up, I've been consciously looking for deep snow, situational skiing and snowboarding.
- I traveled Europe restlessly. From France to Italy to Switzerland
- We flew across the ocean and were in the rocky mountains of North America
- We visited wonderful places from Vald Iser to Chamoni
- Ákos Horn (RIP) my friend and I slid down the side of Mount Blanc from 3,800 meters
- We got lost in Livigno, Bormio, and in St. Anton our passes were confiscated because we slipped through the forest. (Sorry – they were right!)
- We searched for our missing friend for a day in Brasso Pojan (Romania), before he was surrounded by bears. (Indeed!)
- In La Grave, we radio-controlled my girlfriend over the hundreds of meters of ice walls. (Huh!)
- The helicopter did not take off with us at Mount Blanc, but the avalanche took us on the Swiss side, in the forest of Verbier.
- At midnight in Sarajevo, we climbed a 2,000 m peak in order to snowboard it with a headlamp.
- Meanwhile, we diligently visited two unappreciated but miraculous places in Slovakia: the southern Chopok and the Vratna valley. On these terrains that can almost be called home, we persistently snowboard the forests.
For me, forest freeride is the "Non-Plus-Ultra" of snowboarding - the top of everything!
There's a reason we're trained to do this. One of its many advantages is that the shade of the trees preserves the fresh snow for weeks, and on the other hand, few people venture there. The forest is also the best for the soul, it is an exciting and varied hiding place where you have to learn how to slalom. And for me, good slaloming on the terrain is the real snowboard. To see the place of a good turn in the field among the trees, to adjust an easy rhythm among the densely grown trees; to jump off snow-blown plinths and move on - that's the top of things. Glancing down from a steep snow-capped mountain before plowing waves over pristine hills.
In order to get better on the terrain, I looked for a related summer sport with a similar spirit to gliding - I started whitewater kayaking. It's the same world of thought: slalom, downhill, gravity, beautiful scenery, fast, decisions, situations, creativity. It's just riskier. In the meantime, my friend Golo delved into the world of meteorological forecasts so that we could slide on better powder snow. He is rarely wrong.
With the deterioration of the situation in Slovakia (political and weather), I started looking for a reliable, permanent base. I had quite a hard time:
- the climate is changing unfavorably from the point of view of snow sports lovers - the weather is getting warmer, winter is getting "higher"
- I was looking for 2500m peaks with a large difference in level, gentle and rough slopes,
- I didn't want to travel far from my home in Budapest - max. The relatively quickly accessible location was 500-600 km away (it's worth setting off for the fresh snow for a weekend).
I realized that there is no suitable place within 500 km - either due to weather conditions or altitude. The thing landed in the vicinity of the Hohe Tauern (Grossglockner) and we slid nicely and accurately into everything from Dachstein-Kripperstein to the Radstadt region. From Alpendorf to Kaprun. From the snows of Lienz to the Grossglockner Resort. From Heiligenblut to St. Jakob.
And we found a mixture of France, Chopok, Canada and Norway in a special place, Bad Gastein!
- Within the Gastein valley there is an extra cold place called Sportgastein.
- It keeps the snow stable until May 1st, and you can freeride very well until April 15th.
- Plus, it's the best place in Austria to start your first freeride without guilt.
We set up the headquarters 8 minutes from that, next to a cross-country ski track lit up until 10:00 p.m. Sportgastein is very popular among Canadians and Scandinavians - at the beginning it was difficult for me to understand why serious skiers and snowboarders fly here from the Rocky Mountains or Norway. After 50 days of freeriding, I understood. The longest off-piste, continuous deep snow skiing is 11 km (!) long and you don't have to walk afterwards!
In addition, it is the common arrival point of the valley's 5 major track systems (Sportgastein, Bad Gastein, Angertal, Bad Hofgastein, Dorfgastein). There are excellent freeride opportunities on each mountainside, you can get to the lift practically without walking, and the ski region offices do not restrict leaving the piste. Last year, I had 48 out of 50 days spent on snow!
Sportgastein is the highest, here the cabin takes you up to 2,700 meters, and on the other side of the mountain you can go to "nowhere" - you can descend 1,200 meters to a bus stop.
This year we created a test loaner for the base. The world's most expensive extreme freeride boards can be tried by any of our guests (Jones Hovercraft, Jones Flagship, Nidecker Legend, HMR Stream, Burton Fish, Apo Spray, Apo Apocalypse, K2 Ambish, etc.).
In January we are organizing 3-4days of Freeride Camp In February March and April one week Open Freeride Safari is our event. We also started doing split boards, where you can move together with touring skiers. Serious touring ski equipment will also be available in the house.
In the case of fresh snowfall of any size, we "run out" for 3 days, this is mainly a Friday evening departure, Saturday, Sunday, with a slip on Monday. The events are organized by www.snowboardshop.h in the NEWS, FREERIDE TOURS MENU and www.sporthausgatein.com site.
If you are interested, feel free to call me personally: +36-20 942-32-90
Busy season, many tours, big snow for everyone! Cheers, Endru
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Our program below is no longer current, but the data and information contained in it are relevant for the upcoming tours in 95%.
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Open Freeride Safari - Austria
3-day open freeride tours in Sportgastein. When you're ready to go!
Registration and payment in the SnowboarShop, in person!
The purpose of the tour is to cover real, long freeride routes in Sportgastein, Bad Gastein, Angertal with the help of a cable car, and for beginner freeriders to learn about freeride gliding in the forest.
Entry to the party: skill-level knowledge of fast-paced, edge-to-edge, drift-free carving technique on the track on every difficulty (even black slopes).
- Departure: 22.02.2016 – Friday evening, 18:00 – 20:00
- Max. number of employees: 20 people
- Travel: The main organizer, Endru, assembles the cars - prior consultation with him at the time
- Distance: Budapest-Böckstein (accommodation) distance: 600 km.
- Average travel time: 6:30 – 7:00 (depending on rest periods)
- Travel cost: HUF 10,000 – 11,000
- Tourguides: Endru, Serdült Veronika (Roni), Endre Golovics (Golo)
- Tour difficulty: gradually from blue level (beginner-advanced) freeride to black level
- Tour guide: we provide it until Monday evening, you can stay after that - please contact Endru before the tour
- Equipment info: if you don't have a professional freeride board, you get the world's top board for free on the first day. You can rent it from the second day for €10/day
- Lift fee €46 / day / person.
- Lifts: Cabin.
- Walking: only horizontal
- Accommodation: SportHaus in Gastein (Böckstein) – http://floridasun.wix.com/shgs
- 10% discount for freeriders: €22 per night
- The price includes final cleaning and tourist tax
- In rooms for 2/3 people, with an apartment-like kitchen
- Meals: individually.
- We prepare the purchased food in the well-equipped kitchens.
- We can also visit nearby restaurants (self-paid)
- Shopping: Billa - 3 minutes by car. (from 1500 ma accommodation)
- Wellness: Thermal bath 10 minutes from the house (by car) - swimming pool, sauna
Registration and payment in the SnowboarShop, in person!
It's gonna be a great party! Stay with us while there is room!