Is The Downhill Skateboarding Scene In Trouble?

The last few years have been pretty tough for longboard producers and retailers. This year feels like we’re about to hit the bottom as the number of riders dropped to its lowest since 2009. Many businesses shut down because they simply couldn’t manage to survive on such low numbers and now the crisis has finally reached downhill skateboarding events.

Google Trend for Longboarding search term.
Picture: Google Trend for “longboarding” search term

During their Annual General Meeting, IDF (International Downhill Federation) reported a small growth in the number of their members in 2018. They had 1111 members in 2017 and 1146 members in 2018, which is only 35 members more. Compared to the total number of members, the small improvement is basically insignificant and also represents the smallest growth in the number of members since 2013.

Looking at the number of IDF members attending the races, there were only 78 more members attending the races. The improvement is again very small compared to the drop the events have been experiencing since 2015 when IDF had 1667 members and 1047 of them attended the races. To sum it up, compared to 2015, IDF now has around 521 members less and 429 racers less.

Last year’s incident at an IDF sanctioned race in Brazil, where a rider tragically died in a collision with a vehicle on the race track, seems to have affected the rest of the IDF races around the world too. So far, there’s only one rider from Brazil listed on IDF Kozakov Challenge riders list.

Kozakov Challenge struggling, KnK Longboard Camp already near full

For as long as of 2009, Kozakov Challenge (Czech Republic) has been to racing what KnK Longboard Camp (Slovenia) has been and still is to the freeride scene. A little over a decade, these two events had led the scene by having the best organization, best racing track and attracting the biggest numbers of riders.

Other noteworthy events, like Alpenrauschen (Austria), Velefique (Spain), Gioasteka (Switzerland) followed closely but never really got to hit the big numbers like KnK Longboard Camp which was running as a two weeks long event for 10 consecutive years. In 2016 it reached a record attendance by hosting more than 450 riders from across the globe.

Recognizing the drop in the number of riders attending the events, as organizers of KnK Longboard Camp, we decided to reduce the event to only one week this year in order to avoid struggling to fill it up or potentially being forced to cancel one of the two weeks. The decision proved to be good since, at the time of writing this article, we have 228 riders registered for the event out of a 250 riders limit. The numbers are still good and we are more than happy but the current numbers show that the general number of riders reduced more than expected.

It looks like KnK Longboard Camp will once again count the biggest number of riders and while the target of 250 riders is not far away, there’s still a solid month till the event. It just might fill up.

However, Kozakov recently had to make an announcement on Facebook urging riders to sign up in case they intend to participate in the race.  This obviously shows that there are no riders around, otherwise, they would normally already register.

Currently, Kozakov’s riders list counts 128 riders and they are still far below their usual attendance at around 200 riders. Considering that Kozakov’s announcement came out less than a month prior to the event the timing is quite tight.

Another European IDF race, Transylvania DH falls short with only 31 riders currently listed on the IDF riders list. The organization of the Transylvania event also took a blow earlier this year as the two main organizers decided to split ways. In order to organize a quality event and provide with sufficient safety, more than 31 rider registration fees will be required, so we’ll likely see this event fading out in the near future unless they come up with the money elsewhere, like from the sponsors.

Do we need more events?

As the number of riders was growing in 2016, more and more people started organizing events around Europe hoping to make a few extra Euros on a side or even make a business out of it. Some organizers stretched as far as organizing 4-5 events in a season and not giving a damn if that’s maybe too much.

However, the bigger number of smaller, unsafe and not properly organized events will not likely do much for the scene but will bring it further apart as the riders stay limited to their local scene instead of connecting internationally as they used to a decade ago.

On the other hand, this is a good situation for the riders since they are able to attend the events by having to spend less money on traveling.

Anyway …

Could event “sponsorships” help keep the scene going?

Looking at the event sponsorships, the situation becomes even more worrying.

Before we can continue talking about so-called “event sponsors”, we have to clear up one thing: Businesses are not “sponsors” at an event … They are “advertisers”. They pay for the exposure, the right to be present with their branding and to interact with the riders at the event.

Unfortunately, since longboarding businesses are run by skaters and not marketing wizards, they failed to recognize this throughout the whole decade. Obviously, they didn’t have to pay much attention since the sales where OK and nobody really expected the good times to end so suddenly.

Compared to other sport industries, longboarding brands always managed to get away by “paying” the advertising with goods by giving a few decks to the event organizers. Obviously, for a smaller event, everything they can get their hands on will come in handy, but for big event organizers who actually have to provide with big media teams and much more complex event organization, a few pieces of gear is basically not sufficient compensation.

However, there were and still are a few brands left who are actually paying some money for the services delivered by the event organizers but their involvement is getting smaller from year to year as they make up excuses like “We are a small company and don’t have money”.

To sum it up, instead of investing in the scene to help it grow and promote their business, producers and retailers are cutting their financial involvement even more which doesn’t help anyone. After all, who can blame them when at this point they are basically fighting for their own survival.

Will skateboarding at the Olympics save the day?

The hopes are now all-in on the Olympics, hoping that someday downhill skateboarding will be a part of it and the sales will pick up where they stopped in 2016 … But let me ask you something – Does it really make sense to take an effort and include downhill skateboarding while, compared to other sports, there’s basically only a handful of downhill skateboarding riders around the world?

Thanks to less investing and thanks to the declining number of riders in general, we might see even more events disappear in the upcoming years while those who manage to stay intact might raise their prices.

Who can we blame, for real?

While this article is not aiming to blame anyone for the drop in the number of riders attending the events, probably the only thing we can all blame is the generation shift we started experiencing during the past few years.

Those who started skating back in 2009 when the boom started, are now 10 years older and most probably have other interests in life like a serious job, kids and so on … In simple words, they are not skating as much as they did and one thing the event organizers started noticing is that they are not coming back to their events.

Instead, there are more underaged riders on the scene. They are still in schools and they are financially still dependent on their parents. Getting the gear, traveling to an event and paying the registration fees is a big expense that’s only growing from year to year. Next to that, one thing to note is that they don’t own driving licenses or cars yet, making it so much harder for them to travel around on their own.

Finish line

What can we do now to make it better, you ask?

It will take a great group effort to get the scene back to where it was in 2016. The biggest events like Kozakov and KnK Longboard Camp will most likely continue running as usual but the advertisers will eventually have to step in or the number of riders attending the events will have to increase. Otherwise, the remaining riders might end up paying higher registration fees which could lead to the attendance to drop even further.

Rather than organising smaller events to continue breaking up the scene, it could be much better for local riders to organise classes and demo days in order to introduce new people to the scene.

Aleix Gallimo - I'm Gonna Downhill Forever. Photo by Mikel Echegaray

Aleix Gallimo is gonna downhill forever

With a boom of XYZ media channels we are able to feast our eyes on a lot of downhill skateboarding visuals. Some are more noticeable than others while the rest hold great memories of a certain era.

Well, Aleix Gallimo is not a media crew, but he is a downhill skateboarder, graphic designer, videographer, tattooer and what to him is most important, a father.

He’s been skating so long he doesn’t even know the exact number of years. Currently he’s living high in the north of the Spanish Pyrenees. His valley called Benasque is surrounded by up to 3000 meter high mountains with plenty of epic descents.

What he truly loves to do is downhill skateboarding, that’s why he is preparing an ambitious project for the 2018 IDF racing season with the aim to help the downhill community and give it the exposure he thinks it needs.

Our industry is running low so we need to put more effort into trying to raise it up. If we don’t do it we’ll be stuck like this for a long time.

One of the reasons he sees a problem with the industry is the amount of people wanting a sponsor without giving anything back. He feels that while it’s great to support skaters, brand owners should know how to support them in a sustainable way. In the role of a skater, he decided to take a more ”hands-on” approach…

What is I’m Gonna Downhill Forever?

Before describing his project to me he said he still remembers a few years ago when longboarding was growing rapidly, brands were getting strong and helped the riders by working with them closely. At the time riders got a chance to travel the world, mixing up different cultures and styles and promoting the sport in different countries.

I work hard to travel, learn and achieve the things I do around the world. That gave me the opportunity to learn from the best and see what exactly is important and what’s not. This is also the reason why I started I’m Gonna Downhill Forever.

This year while attending all IDF events, Aleix wants to show ‘’outsiders’’ how dh skaters meet, travel, learn, have fun, challenge themselves and portray the sport as, what most people would agree with, the best time of our lives.

Aleix will attend races on four continents; Asia, Europe, North and South America, during a 6 month period. He will start the project in the Philippines, followed by South Korea, later head over to Europe to attend IDF races in Romania, Czech Republic, Italy and Spain. He’ll visit the US twice and end the season in South America, Colombia, Peru and finally in Brazil.

Aleix Gallimo - I'm Gonna Downhill Forever

During his travels he plans on producing 1 video from each country, 3 quick blog type stories, online streams from freerides and races, and end his project with a final video to recap the whole tour. Besides races, he will also visit other countries along the way. All together he plans on making around 32 videos.

Where can you watch it and how to support it

The I’m Gonna Downhill Forever media will be showcased online, through his personal website and social media channels. For the final World Tour video he plans to have it screened in designated skate shops in order to give them and the local scene support.

I’ll try to show this sport as raw as I can and let people know it’s like other sports, you just need to learn the basics and go step by step and then boom, you’re deep in a fun thing that will bring some of the best times in your life.

At the end of our conversation, Aleix said that so far he has some help from his sponsors and he is going to invested his own hard earned cash, but the project is big. He hopes to receive donations to make this a reality.

For sure I’ll do my best to accomplish this project because I think it’s really important for our sport. My own sponsors help me with the basics for racing, but don’t cover the project. To make this happen I need help with the filming gear, work and I need to pay people for their work on the project.

Because the project is still in the beginning stage Aleix welcomes you to join and help out by donating. To do this visit the I’m Gonna Downhill Forever GoFundMe page.

Aleix Gallimo is supported by Long Island Longboards, Venom Skate, Atopic Supplies, Hondar Longboards, Osteobenas and All Year Longboard.

King's Gate 2018 Cancelled

King’s Gate cancelled due to the bad condition of the track

The organiser of King’s Gate race, BigMountainSkate from Austria, had to cancel the event due to the heavy damage the track has suffered this winter.

The surface of road got worst in this so far really cold and snowy winter here in Austria. It wouldn’t be fun or safe to skate this road, its not accurate for a world class race. ~ BigMountainSkate via Facebook

King’s Gate was supposed to be one of the two IDF World Qualifying races in Europe. Now only the Transylvania IDF WQ race remains next to the World Cup races Kozakov in Czech Republic and Verdicchio in Italy.

As the announcement was published, the organiser of Transylvania race, the DEVAstation Longboard Crew decided to extend their event with additional freeride days.

With one event down, BigMountainSkate is now left with two of their most popular events in Austria, Alpenrauschen and Bela Joyride. With more time on their hands, we can expect BigMountainSkate to focus more on the remaining events and deliver even better experience.

To join Alpenrauschen and Bela Joyride visit bigmountainskate.com.

IDF Elections 2017

IDF Annual General Meeting 2018

Last Sunday, on February 18th, 2018, International Downhill Federation (IDF) Board members held the Annual General Meeting to present the 2017 season overview and financial statement as well as the goals, work plan, budget and event schedule for the 2018 season.

Watch the AGM 2018

New Board members elected in 2017

In January 2017 the new IDF Board was elected. 5 of the 7 elected members were new to the Board. The IDF President Federico Barboni explained that they needed a little bit of time to get the required know-how to move forward with the work but they managed to achieve all their goals.

Increase in events expected to grow the number of memberships

The Board member Mike Girard, explained that they recognized the decreased number of athletes racing the IDF from 2016 to be coinciding with the decrease in events. Therefore, one of the IDF’s main goals was to increase the number of events and which should hopefully result in the growth of memberships.

In the meanwhile, the King’s Gate race in Austria has been canceled, so instead of 18 there will be 17 races in 2018; 7 World Cup and 16 World Qualifying.

Compared to last year, there will be in total 5 races more, while the number of World Cup races increased by 2.

In Europe, there are now 5 races; Kozakov in the Czech Republic, Verdicchio in Italy, Transylvania in Romania, Velefique in Spain and Sanki in Russia. You can find the full IDF 2018 schedule here.

The negative financial outcome for 2017

The biggest expenses IDF had last year were the purchase of a new timing system, which was around 10k dollars and another 10k dollars was spent for the repairing and maintaining of the old timing system which they plan to sell or part out occasionally.

Furthermore, IDF increased a money prize for champions to 10.6k dollars and as for the first time a money prize was awarded to the Juniors class.

Due to the decrease in events and memberships, IDF collected less sanctioning and membership fees but managed to save a bit on Travels Airfare and other expenses, like IT, Consulting and Accounting. However, IDF ended the year with almost 5,500 dollars debt.

Despite the negative financial outcome, IDF Board thinks positive about the new season and has already accounted the debt in the 2018 budget.

Early schedule and Early Bird registration to the rescue

One of the main goals IDF wanted to reach and it succeeded, was to release the 2018 schedule in October and instead of the “Priority registration”, which they found not to be efficient anymore, they did the “Early bird registration” and offered a limited number of discounted event tickets.

With the “Early bird registration”, they wanted to ensure enough riders will register in order to be able to organize the event. Overall nearly 100 tickets were sold across multiple events.

Paid media partnerships

As Max Vickers, the current IDF Secretary explained, last year IDF explored paid partnerships with independent media producers at Newtons Nation, Kozakov and Killington in order to ensure quality and consistent media production which was then used for promotion on social networks, the event coverage on the IDF website and other news outlets.

This paid media partnerships not only allowed us to offer better media coverage while the events were occurring but they also started an archive for us of media that we now have access to. So, with this media we tend work with other outlets, like news outlets, so this past year we had some videos that transmitted globally on BBC and we worked with the Olympic Channel to create a 35 min documentary which is going to be published this coming May. ~ Max Vickers, IDF Secretary

IDF wants to expand their media reach in order to attract the possible corporate investors, so in 2018, they plan to spend 8.5k eur for marketing and promotions, which is around 19% of the planned budget.

2018 Budget

Main investments the IDF has planned for 2018 include prize money increase to 12,500 dollars, the improvement of the finish-line camera system, starting system and the enforcement tools for technical inspection, sending 3 IDF representatives to all World Cup events as well as the improvement of the races promotion and social media through collaboration with independent media producers.

Collaboration with World Skate

IDF started collaborating with World Skate, the skateboarding world governing body recognized by International Olympic Committee. World Skate aims to put all skateboarding discipline under the same umbrella and work for structure the skateboarding at national and regional level.

Verdicchio Race 2017

Verdicchio Race 2017 Announcement

The 2017 Verdicchio Race will take place from the 26th until the 29th of July. As the third edition of this event, 180 riders are expected to roll down the same road as in 2015.

In case you are not familiar with the Verdicchio race track, here is the scoop. It’s a 2.7 km long road with a top speed of +75 km/h for longboarders and up to +80 km/h for street lugers.

The first straight section includes fast sweepers that develop into a more technical section with 6 wide and fast hairpins. If you want to see how the track winds and check out their 2015 event video, click here.

The Verdicchio Race is also both a part of the Italian Downhill Skateboarding Championship, as well as the IDF World Qualifying Series.

Racing in this WQS will set you back 185 euros, while Italian skaters, who only wish to skate in their own Championship, have to pay an entry FIHP fee of 90 euros.

Registration and more event information can be found at https://www.verdicchiorace.it  or the event’s official Facebook page.

Shoutout to Verdiccio 2017 sponsors
Comune di Cupramontana
Xmasters
Vignamato
Mezzometro on the Road
Donzelli Autoservizi
Zero31 Longboards
The Owl Longboards
Original Skateboards
Olson & Hekmati
Homeward Tattoo
CF Monsano

To stay on track with the race and updates, follow the official Verdicchio hastags #verdicchiorace and #verdicchiorace17 on Facebook or Instagram.

Keeping It High - Seaside 2017 IDF WQS

Keeping It High – Seaside 2017 WQS IDF in Philippines

A new race track will be hosting the Philippines leg of the 2017 World Tour of the International Downhill Federation (IDF) at Keeping It High World Qualifying Series. The Philippines staple chill tropical island vibes will be surrounding the fastest race track in Asia.

Keeping It High – Seaside 2017 WQS IDF in Philippines
Keeping It High – Seaside 2017 WQS IDF in Philippines

The 1st section has a grade of 13.77% and steepest is 23.23%. Riders are surrounded by a mountain range on both sides and when they reach the fastest section of the track, the view switches from mountains to a breathtaking seascape.

The "Ohmega" hairpin is where the view switches and is also the fastest section.
The “Ohmega” hairpin is where the view switches and is also the fastest section.

The beauty of the view may be a distraction for riders but a bunch of turns will try to keep them focused on the way down. As you reach the bottom you can choose to take a walk towards the coast where you can take a dip in the ocean as the hot summer Sun charges you with some “vitamin sea”.

UNITED and Zero Gravity team rider Caloy Sambrano approaching the last turn of Seaside.
UNITED and Zero Gravity team rider Caloy Sambrano approaching the last turn of Seaside.

It will be the third time the race track would be raced on but the first ever time during the hot Philippines summer.

Freeride will be on the April 14th, Qualifying on the 15th and Race day on the 16th.

Keeping It High - Seaside 2017 flyer

Current World #1, Mauritz Armfelt from Sweden as well as a Spanish rider Javier Tato and a German rider Jenny Schauerte are confirmed to race.

I’m super stoked to come to the Philippines! I have heard so much good things. I don’t know what it will be like and I don’t really know what to expect but i always enjoy going to new places! I think I will like the Philippines ~ Mauritz Armfelt, Sweden

Check out the track

If you haven’t made plans yet or if you have never felt some Asian stoke register via IDF or stay updated via the Facebook Event page.

In case you think there’s not enough time to plan your trip overseas, you’ll be happy to know that the Philippines has a 30 days visa waiver policy for EU travellers.

Philippines has a 30 days visa waiver policy for EU travellers

I hope this inspires you to come over to Asia or maybe see you next year.

Photo: Owen Licop, Ally Hemmady and Carl Sambrano
Poster: Abigail Viloria

Felix Rupitsch of BigMountainSkate. Photo by Christian Kreuter (CK Photography)

Interview with Felix Rupitsch about BigMountainSkate and 2017 events

BigMountainSkate started three years ago and has so far been doing their best to please skaters with their longboard events. What began with a small freeride, grew with time and became a recognised name worldwide.

Recently, BigMountainSkate introduced a few new events to their repertoire. I figured it would be cool to find out and share some more information about their activities and plans for 2017 with you.

I talked with Felix Rupitsch, one of the BigMountainSkate founders, about how it all started, followed by additional information about their three new events, Arico El Bueno (Tenerife), No Man’s Land Endurance Freeride (Slovenia) and King’s Gate IDF WC race (Austria).

Furthermore, he also gave me his insight and changes we can expect regarding their now established events, Alpenrauschen, KnK Longboard Camp, Bela Joyride and LoRaLo.

Read through our interview with Felix for all the current plans about BigMountainSkate events.


Hey Felix! How are you?

Thank you, I am doing fine. Lots of work and many things to think about but that’s just how it is. Easier days will come, haha

Please, tell us how did you get into downhill skateboarding?

Jürgen Gritzner built my first longboard back in 2010. I cruised around the city a lot. I found out that dropping down small hills makes the most fun since I don’t need to push. I am a bit lazy sometimes.

Then I met Florian Wagner who was really motivated for downhill and he introduced us to sliding. He was the one really pushing the scene, looking out for new spots and bringing people together. In 2011 we managed to visit the KnK Longboard Camp, the rest is history.

When did you guys came up with the idea of BigMountainSkate?

Flo, me and the crew were organising the LoRaLo, a small but really funny event in Lödersdorf close to our hometown Graz.

After the 3rd year in a row we were thinking about doing something bigger than LoRaLo and we came up with the Alpenrauschen Freeride. The demand on this event was so big that we decided to go bigger.

In our mind we had the biggest road we knew so far. The idea for the Bela Joyride was born…

Then we just needed a name for all of this and what expression would match it better than “BigMountainSkate”.

We used this term already before for a special type of skating. It is not about one or two curves or some slide session, it’s all about long, fast and challenging mountain roads. We figured that this makes the most fun.

Little fun fact: Flo came up with this name back in 2013 when we were skating the road where this year’s King’s Gate World Cup race will happen.

KnK Longboard Camp existed long before BigMountainSkate and is now part of it. How did this happen?

We asked Mihael Zadravec from Longboard Magazine and Nadim Burkan, organizers of KnK Longboard Camp if they want to be part of the BMS project and they confirmed…

It is great working with them, sometimes i find myself making mistakes that Mihael told me to be aware of. This just shows how experienced he is and how bad of a listener I am sometimes, haha.

I think we learned a lot from each other, this is something that makes me really happy because it is just a great example of how „working together“ instead of „working against“ can turn out. Something that is not always taken for granted in this small scene.

BigMountainSkate grew really fast. Where will it go?

To the stars haha, no, I have no idea, as long as people join our events and skaters like what we do we will keep on doing what we love.

I just want to get the sport where it belongs. Any snowboarder or surfer would love downhill skateboarding. Many of them just haven’t tried it out yet or even heard of it. And as we all know, this sport is very addictive because it just is the greatest fun ever.

This year BigMountainSkate is going to organise a freeride on Tenerife. Please, tell us a bit more about it and what to expect.

Our crew became really good friends with Martin Diaz who is the founder of the Sliders Skate House on Tenerife. It was always his dream to host an event on the island.

BigMountainSkate turned out to be the right partner for this and so together we decided to make it happen. It is a shitload of work, especially if the event location is far away from home and you do it for the first time.

Our decision to keep the riders limit low is because we really want to have a quality event. Many runs, an amount of people that is easy to handle and just having a great time with great people.

Arico – El Bueno Freeride has a higher registration fee than the other BMS event. Can you please explain a bit why is that?

Spain has different laws in case of insurances, they are really expensive and of course we must have them.

Hay bales are also really hard to find, there are basically none on the island so they need to be brought there.

First we tried to find a campsite but couldn’t find one that is really close to the airport and the track. The location of the accommodation is something really important…

Of course it would be cheaper without a hotel but imagine skaters must bring all their camp gear + skate gear to the island or look for hotels themselves. That would cost a lot of money and you would need a rental car as well.

The hotel is reachable by taxi for little money from the airport or by public transport. Supermarket, the beach or restaurants are reachable by feet or by skateboard. The rest the shuttle busses will do.

It should turn out to be the perfect skate trip combined with vacation; a “Skateation”, haha.

Will there be anything new at Alpenrauschen Freeride this year?

Yes, only two hotels instead of three and only 180 riders. We want to raise the quality.

Last year a really bad accident happened that could have been avoided. For 2017 we plan to have more ski mats, more wood and hay bales, just to make the track safer. Especially that right corner after the tunnel.

I talked with many riders last year about this issue. We will also raise the registration fee just a little bit because of the additional safety equipment. Anyone i talked to was totally fine with this decision, safety is the most important.

That sounds reasonable.
What about this new Freeride in Slovenia, No Man’s Land?

I am sure that this is going to be something really great. The area where it happens, Soča Valley, is such a beautiful place.

8 km of super nice downhill will do the rest i think. It is the endurance Freeride so make sure you are in good shape, haha. Just think about it, it’s more than twice as long as the Bear’s Guts.

Maybe i am opening a bar down half track to have a little break, haha…

No seriously, Mihael and Nadim are behind that and we all know what they are able to, expect something really cool.

8 km is a lot, what’s the track and the accommodation like?

Five hairpins, more than 80 sweepers, smooth pavement, 14,5% gradient at the steepest and 80km/h top speed. I think that says it all. Just a perfect place to practice and to get some serious skills.

 

No Man's Land track on FindHills.com

Campsite is located right next to this beautiful river which will provide much needed relaxation.
If you are looking for an ultimate skate trip with your friends with all the skating your body and mind can handle, then think about going there.

Another new event for 2017 is King’s Gate World IDF World Cup race. New track, new name… No more Almabtrieb? What can we expect from King’s Gate?

In mid July this new race will go down in the south of Austria…

200 racers will enjoy another beautiful mountain surrounding and a fast, technical race track. We choose this region in Austria because of the stable sunny weather conditions during the summer time. Actually it isn’t that far from the Bela Joyride track.

We learned a lot from last year’s Almabtrieb. This new track is better for racing, I would say. I really love this road, it is one of my absolute favourites out there. Basically because I like fast right corners, haha.

A really cool feature is that you can see the finish line from the start line, that just makes it a more thrilling to watch the race.

Campground is about 2 kilometres from the start line and is located around a huge alpine hut 200 people can fit in easily. They offer food and drinks for little money. They also rent rooms in case some racers don’t want to sleep in a tent. So even if we have bad weather conditions there is a dry spot for anyone, something i consider to be very important after last years wet wet Almabtrieb.

Only 2 weeks later the KnK Longboard Camp is on. Last year we watched a video by Alternative featuring Mihael. He explained a bit about the new plans for 2017. Can you please tell us a bit more about that too?

Basically it will stay the same as we all got to love this event but there is always some new stuff going on. Mihael and Nadim raised the quality of the event year by year and so they will do it this year. Quality instead of quantity, they say.

Riders hitting a left corner at KnK Longboard Camp. Photo by Christian Kreuter (CK Photography)

There will be some improvements along the campsite. New showers and toilets were built and the party place will get a chill zone where riders can hang out after skating… sit or lay down, watch the big screen while listening to music from a new and better sound system. Party on, haha.

I don’t think any big things need to be changed, I just love it the way was and will be. Some of the best days in the year. 6 years ago when I was in Osilnica for the first time I immediately fell in love with this place.

Are you skating there or are you somehow involved in the organisation?

I am not really involved in the operative organisation but of course Flo and I will act in the background. Media stuff needs to be done for example. Mihael takes care of this while we throw our stuff so we are always working as a team on any event.

Of course I have more time at KnK than on any other event. This is the place I kind of get in the mood to be a skater at an event and not an organiser. This is sometimes really important, gets you to know why you are doing all this.

3 weeks later the one and only Bela Joyride starts. Many skaters say this is the most relaxed event of all, can you tell us maybe why they say so?

Haha, maybe its because of the track and the easy atmosphere at the campground, or the huge pack runs people do on the track… I’m not sure, but I am glad to hear that.

I can promise nothing will change at this event this year and so will not the price. It will be the same as the last years, many many runs, 184 km of downhill in 4 days in 2016 says it pretty much all.

Maybe we will get a big screen with some nice videos and a Nintendo 64 with the game Mario Kart. No racing on the track but in the evening its totally on, hahaha.

Sounds like a good plan. I can’t see any LoRaLO on this years agenda. It became already a classic. Will there be LoRaLo again this year?

Not sure yet. If it happens it won’t be under the banner of BMS.

I need to talk to the crew and see what they think about it… and if they would be down to throw it. We will see. As soon as we have informations about it I will let you know.

I really hope there will be a LoRaLo this year. Nico Nührig has to defend his new title, Quirin Ilmer won’t let this happen again, haha

There were some rumors around about a new event Brazil. Are you having an event there this year as well?

Rumors were true, we were thinking about it. Unfortunately it started a huge discussion within the Brazilian core scene.

The reason is totally understandable to me. It is not against us…

It was more the fact who we could work together with to make this happen. There are many things that need to be figured out and we don’t want to divide a scene or make any troubles, our intentions are only good. And if it is not possible it’s just not possible. More Info when we have them.

Anything else you want to say about the season 2017?

I hope to see many happy faces again this year, many people became real friends to me, something I love the most about this crazy work we are doing.

I am so looking forward to those days before and after the events, spending time and hanging out with the crew again. They are literally the best people you can wish for. Without them…nothing would have happened and we would be far from something called BigMountainSkate.
Stay tuned.


That’s it. For more, follow BigMountainSkate via their Facebook and Instagram.
To register for BMS events, head over to www.bigmountainskate.com for more info.

The Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship Calendar 2017

The Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship Calendar 2017

Several months passed since the end of the Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship 2016. With the late arrival of cold winter weather, our thoughts of rubbing shoulders with fellow racers on the road and hearing the sound of wheels sliding still warms us. Making this holiday season even better is a Christmas gift that is the CIDHS calendar for 2017!

The Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship (CIDHS) promised an interesting tour for next year with substantial news regarding the race tracks. The championship tour will take part from June to August, taking in account all other IDF competitions across the globe.

The stages for the Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship 2017 will include four events and two new race tracks.

Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship 2017 calendar

Downhill Falls – 24th and 25th of June, 2017

Downhill Falls Track – 24th and 25th of June, 2017As the new entry in the CIDHS series, Downhill Falls will take place in the province of Frosinone, in the center of Italy.

Held in a very special city called Isola del Liri, it’s also the only European city with a waterfall flowing right in the heart of town. As something I never thought I would see, it is also the particular characteristic that gave the event its name.

Apart from seeing the beautiful waterfall, you shouldn’t miss the 1.3 km long race track with brand new asphalt. We invite you to take a go at it and try being the first one to win the podium at Downhill Falls.

 

Official hashtag: #downhillfalls

Ambrose Challenge – 1st and 2nd of July, 2017

Ambrose Challenge – 1st and 2nd of July, 2017Ambrose Challenge was a part of the CIDHS circuit last year and got a very positive feedback from all the racers attending. It is located in the province of Verona, in Valpolicella. For next year’s season, we are expecting another pleasant weekend on this road that will cater to all adrenaline seeking longboarders.

The track is 2.8 km long with an average gradient of 6.5 % and a maximum gradient of 10 %.

Here is the 2016 video from Ambrose Downhill Challenge:

[youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ugxgmDWWP3s”]

Official hashtag: #ambrosechallenge

Verdicchio Race – 27th to 28th July, 2017

Verdicchio Race – 27th to 28th July, 2017The next new/old entry of the 2017 tour is Verdicchio Race. As the third edition of this race, its coming back better than ever after a years break. Verdicchio will be held on the Poggiocupro race track in a village called Cupramontana, the capital of Verdicchio.

As one of the most technical and fun packed tracks in Italy, riders will descend down the 2.7 km long race track with 6 hairpins and long straights with fast corners.

This event will last for four days and is going to be a part of the IDF Eurotour 2017, as a World Qualifying Series. Two days of the event will be dedicated to the Italian Championship.

Official hashtag: #verdicchiorace

Euroskate 2017 – 3rd to 6th of August, 2017

Euroskate 2017 - 3rd to 6th of August, 2017The 14th edition of the Euroskate will finish the CIDHS circuit. The Roll Club of Padua, led by Sandro Marandin, is back with the Euganean Hills and an impeccable organisation which includes big shows and the famous torchlight ride along the race route.

The track is famous for its curve called “Schivanoia”, the first one of a series of hairpins following one another and inevitably leading to racers showing off their best skills while pumping and taking advantage of the hairpins apex.

[facebook url=”https://www.facebook.com/videoe20/videos/10154808745674239″]

Official hashtag: #teyolo

Surely the 2017 Italian Downhill Skateboard Championship FISR will not fail to surprise us. In the mean time, while waiting for the race season to start, go out and skate. Get ready, because the starting line is waiting for you!

IDF Elections 2017

IDF announced 2017 Elections

IDF (International Downhill Federation) announced the 2017 Elections that will take place between January 13th and 15th, 2017. Voting IDF members will decide upon the new IDF Board members managing their race season for the next two years.

The elected 7 Board members will additionally elect 4 Board Directors and executive Board Directors. The current executive Board, President (Cyrille Harnay), General Secretary (Colin Beck) and Treasurer (Lee Cation), will not run for reelection, meaning a completely new executive team will administer the 2017/2018 racing season.

If you wish to be a candidate, you have a chance to apply until December 15th, 2016 through the form available on their website.

You must however, be an IDF paying member for more than a year and preferably not race, as you would need to help at events and contribute at least 5 to 6 hours a week of your time to the federation.

Furthermore, if you don’t want to run, but want to cast your vote, you can do so on January 13th, 2017 online once the candidates are known.

To help you get an insight about what you can expect with a position on the board, IDF published a document of tasks and frequency of work of their current board members and volunteers.

It’s time to turn the scale and step up by running for a position on the board AND by voting for change in the upcoming seasons.

Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016

Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016 race track preview and event information

Update, June 30th 2016
The crew went the track and filmed a rad raw run with Nico Nührig.

After taking a break in 2015, a four day race Sector 9 Almabtrieb returns to this year’s Eurotour and joins the BigMountainSkate events lineup. Previous editions were organised on a rad road in Germany, but this year the race moves to Austria.

Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016 race track preview and event information

As usual, we can expect some of the world’s most know downhill skateboarders on the Almabtrieb’s riders list. The race supports stand-up downhill skateboarding only and it’s an IDF WQS race. This also means that in order to register for the Almabtrieb race, you must be a member of the IDF.

About the Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016 track

The crew was busy scouting the Austrian mountains in search for that perfect road which would match the Almabtrieb’s reputation and recently they finally found one.

Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016

The event will take place from 13th till 16th  of July
 2016 in Loser Berg / Altaussee
 / Loser Panoramastraße, Altaussee in Austria.

Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016 will feature a 3.9 km alpine road with an elevation drop of 405 meters surrounded with spectacular nature and breathtaking views. The track is at an altitude of around 1800 meters above the sea level and in the same area as the Alpenrauschen track. The track has the steepest grade at around 19% and the crew already gave it a try and reported the top speed to exceed 100 km/h (62MPH+). You’ll be happy to know that there’s a sick hairpin waiting for you at the end of it.

Not for beginners

Just like for Alpenrauschen, beginners should think twice before joining this race. Serious downhill skills are required and the competition might be too hard to handle, but you’re always welcome to give it a try and watch the rest of the race if you drop out. In contrast to that, those more expirienced will be able to blow out some steam.

Riders limit and registration, accommodation

Everyone is uber hyped about this year’s Almabtrieb and it’s expected to be sold out very fast. If you are down for serious racing, make sure that you don’t miss the registration, which should start on Sunday, April 3rd, 2016 at 8pm CET via the BMS website.

The riders limit will be set at 180 and the registration fee is expected to be 199 Euros with camping included. If you want to sleep in a bed, there will be some rooms available in a hotel nearby. Price for the room is not known yet. The campsite is located just at the end of the road, next to a big alpine hut.

For inquiries regarding the room rental, it’s the best to get in touch with the BMS crew via the official email address info@bigmountainskate.com and ask about it.

Food and drinks at Almabtrieb

So far all we can say is that that there will be a restaurant with a bar next to the campsite where you’ll be able to grab something to eat and drink.

Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016 Start View

How to pack for Almabtrieb

You should consider packing the same stuff as for Alpenrauschen freeride with an addition of camping gear. In July, the nights in the mountains should be a bit warmer, but you’ll still need some warm clothes to feel comfortable when the night falls.

That would pretty much be all about it.
If you have any additional questions, leave a comment below.

Let’s check out the track

Also, Markus had a chat with Stephan Risch, who is the OG organiser of the Almabtrieb. Read through Stephan’s words and find out what the Sector 9 Almabtrieb is all about.

“I wanted a new road, a challenging road, which meets the riders skills way better, then the old one in Neukirchen. That’s why we paused the Almabtrieb last season. But now – we found this good looking road, with a badass alps-panorama. For me, it is kind of going back the the Almabtrieb roots. Dated back the first races at Jungholz, we started skating in Austria and finished in Germany – there was always a special bond for me between those two countries. So I was pretty happy, to start working together with my friends from BigMountainSkate. Organising is also way better and easier in groups, so it was a logic way to start working together with them. Felix, Flo and the crew are very experienced and I love the way, how they do things.” ~ Stephan Risch

Thank you, Stephan!

Now let’s lean back and enjoy the official Sector 9 Almabtrieb 2016 trailer with our friends Gregor “Nussi” Nussbaummüller & Markus Knoblechner skating down the race track last autumn: