written by Sandy Rose.
For the second year in a row, Swiss Freeride Pro and freeride event promoter Ralph Castelberg organized the Freeride Days event from January 18th-20th at Pischa-Davos. The event once again focused on freeride and backcountry specific products to allow customers a venue to test, compare, and provide feedback directly to manufacturers in a very casual relaxed atmosphere. As of date this is the only type of board test/demo that is focused solely on freeridng and backcountry awareness products. This years product vendors included:
Never Summer Snowboards
Powder Mountain Equipment Snowboards and Split-boards
Black Diamond Skis
O-Rogers Split skis
Beverages and nutritional supplements:
GoFast Sports Drinks
PowerBar nutritional supplements
Riders arrived on Friday evening from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, and Japan to participate in the warm-up party at the Top Secret Bar in Davos and were greeted with a gift of snow falling for most of the evening.
We awoke to bluebird skies with fresh snow and began an early effort to get all of the gear up the mountain and setup the product display areas to kick the event off in style. The day started off slowly as everyone introduced themselves and curious customers began approaching the stands to try out samples of each vendors 2008-2009 product lines. As the day continued many new friends were made and feedback was provided by all of the riders and a great time was had by all. As the sun began to set, the crews packed up the gear for the night and we set off for one last run laying fresh tracks on another face to the north of the resort.
All of the members from the demo crews met for dinner and enjoyed a few drinks while sampling some of Davos‘ fine dinning before moving on to the official party at Top Secret where rad-air sponsored a packed crowd who enjoyed free drinks, shots presented on a 1 meter snowboard by the „lord of boards“ himself (thanks Ralph) and rocking with the Swiss band Take One. The party continued on to the early hours of the morning and the inner circle crew gave Harry Gunz a small birthday bash to remember.
Mother nature continued to smile on us for the final day of the event and all slowly made their way back to the demo area and shared stories and photos of the evenings festivities. More riders gathered and tested product while sharing their views of how all of the different products performed to their specific needs and many more friendships were formed. Some of us attempted to make some first-tracks, but the previous nights festivities slowed the ascent, but we did make some nice turns and got to enjoy the serenity of being amongst Graubuenden´s summits on a beautiful winter day and we rode many more fresh lines. As things began to wind down and we packed all of the gear for the return down the mountain, a select group of riders outfitted with proper backcountry gear and two highly experienced locals to serve as guides we carried on the first-tracks tradition of laying down some beautiful lines and sharing the last tracks with our friends.
Based on the great deal of positive feedback from both test riders and the product vendors that participated, the justification for this type of event was reaffirmed and with more riders attending than the previous years event we can only hope that events like this will continue to develop and grow in popularity to help our communities have better equipment and promote innovations and awareness in backcountry riding
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