Category Archives: Blog

Winter start in new home

The winter arrived strong and heavy over the hole European Alps.

During 10 days it snowed in the middle of December almost without stop. From France over Austria to Eastern Europe.
In Arlberg it snowed around 3times more than in the neighboring regions of  Switzerland.
A pity: I had no time to go riding these days. Just time to take a foto – I couldn’t belive my eyes!

Around Chrismas I started the season finaly with a shorter riding brake than ever. After visiting NZ this European summer (see post earlier).
There were some very good powder days and trainig days for the upcoming competition winter.
The first comp is in La Clusaz France on the 12. January 2013. A 4*FWQ.

BTW: at the beginning of November was a great event to “get into the riding mood”: The Freeride Film Festival Innsbruck.
Friends from the Arlberg presented their two years movie projekt called “By Faire Means” by the Gnarlberg Steinbocks Crew.

Here the link to the 28min long, free and fantastic movie. Filmed and eddited by Elmar Strotmann. A piece of art between all the snow films of today! Because they tell their own personal story:

Riders:

– Christian Schnabel
– Bas Elhorst
– Irian Van Helfteren
– Juan Bergada
– and friends

http://www.skivideo.at/videos/by-fair-means-lost-tales-from-gnarlberg/

 

21.December 12: 3 times more snow than in the neighboring regions of Switzerland

21.December 12: 3 times more snow than in the neighboring regions of Switzerland

 

 

A whole new world 2013

 

 

Hi 2012…in 24h it’s 2013! – the first year after the “end”, the end of the Maya calander.
Here is a totaly NEW begin!!
After 11 years of riding in the 4 Vallées (Nendaz/Verbier) I moved to Austria.
To a skiresort close to the swiss border called Arlberg. I live here on 1220m.a.s.l. 5min from Stuben am Arlberg in a nice appartment with Irian Van Helfteren – the flying dutchman – new on the FWT 2012/2013, Mikaela Hollsten  from Finland – competing on the FWQ tour and my girlfriend from Finland.
So why this new step and living outside of  beautiful Switzerland? – Without explaining all the work which was linked to this move since last June!

The 4 Vallées and the Valais/Wallis is a very dry region. That’s why the wine from Valais is very good and the waiting periods for new snow sooo long!
The mountains are one of the most spectacular and beautiful, and 1000m higher than here in Arlberg, I will miss them!
I had a great time there! Working and riding!

Arlberg has in average a very high amount of snow in winter. And the last 11 years I was regularly looking at the online snow maps (www.slf.ch) and was always wondering about this area. After 2 visits last winter to Arlberg I decided to move here.

Last winter this place had aparently more snow than somewhere else in the world. Cars looked so small!
So a changement will be good after all this years riding the same mountains and lines. Now I live the first time ever in the European Union EU and a lot is new. Like 11 years ago when i moved from Zurich to the Valais/Wallis. Just here I can speak my mother tongue – swiss german! Then the locals here speak a very similar dialect. Great, no?!
Some new things here:

#new mountains+lines#new weather conditions=very different#more SNOW (I cross fingers)#almost more german language than ever(comparing with schooltime 15years ago;)#different food products#€uros#a train- and bus station in front of the house#new friends#new phone numbers#european law#new languages to hear to: finish and dutch#crazy german tourists on the mountain-they are pushing so hard to entering the ski bus!#very good jam(for breakfast)#and when driving to Switzerland crossing this micro small country called Liechtenstein#

Read in the next post “how the winter started in this new world”
Your Raphaël Bullet

 

 

 

March 2012: 360° drop down this wind lip in Arlberg - Chris Schnabel is posing

360 drop down the wind lip / Photo: Lukas Bergauer / Rider: R.Bullet

May 2012: With two friends snowtour to the summit of the Grand Combin 4314m - too much fog for me. The friends reached the summit with almost zero visibility and GPS-crazy guys!

May 2012: With two friends snowtour to the summit of the Grand Combin 4314m – too much fog for me. The friends reached the summit with almost zero visibility and GPS-crazy guys!

My home for the last 11 years - Nendaz / 4 Vallées

My home for the last 11 years – Nendaz / 4 Vallées

 

 

 

2 podiums in Aotearoa

Since 2004 I dreamed to go back to this country called “the long white cloud” Aotearoa. After a few hours of driving my girlfriend and I arrived to Arthur’s Pass. We could see the snow on higher altitude and went there for the next two days to warm up and train before the first competition, the Black Diamond Big Mountain Chill Series, a FWQ event. We hiked a lot this first days to check snow conditions, and it wasn’t soft at all! The snow was hard like stone, almost everywhere, as there was rain till the summits just two days earlier. We still had a good time and enjoyed the mountains and the great surroundings. And also to be back in winter after the 30° celsius from Switzerland!

On the first competition day in Temple Basin I was riding fast and jumped the biggest cliff of the day (in the snowboarder field) and got 4th. Second and last day there was this kind of atmosphere in the air: everybody wants to push the limit and win! My riding was fast and clean, I jumped again the biggest cliff (both cliffs visible in the video (end of video) here: https://vimeo.com/49192492) and got first on that day. So in overall ranking I came second, so podium and some cash 🙂

 

After a cold night in our van on the pass we went to the second comp on the North Island by car. Here thanks to our sleeping bags, we took them with us all this thousands of kilometers from home. By the way we travelled with 84 kilo for 2 persons! (including climbing stuff and wetsuits)

For the Mt. Ruapehu Xtreme Comp 2012 we met all the other kiwi and european riders (incl. some swissfrench and austrian friends) in the cosy village of Whakapapa. What a sweet name, isn’t it? (btw: “wh” becomes “f” in Maori-Language)
First competition day was finally the only one, as the second day got canceled. (why? Second day was supposed to be on another mountain which was steeper and more dangerous… and check the chairlift-picture bilow! you’ll understand 😉
We had each two runs, and the best run counted for the final ranking. Once again I jumped the biggest cliff (of the snowboarders) and landed it clean (riding fast and fluid from top till bottom).Colin Boyd and me been the ONLY of all the 20 snowboarders who got to the finish area WITHOUT crashing or butt-check in a run! So altogether 40 runs and 38 runs with falls.
Then the whole mountain was covered in black ice! No joke! Special Whakapapa riding conditions, a totally new experience for me after 30years riding snow! It was like riding on a very steep icerink! (We had as well to bring iceaxe and crampons with us to the competition, mandatory by the organisation.)
Guess how the podium looked like?  Colin first, Jordan second, me third.
Here the offial video: (in the video Jordan and Colin fell as you can see (you see the takeoff’s but not the landings of their big cliff. My run is not there, a pity! I landed my jumps clean, including the biggest of the day.) Check the podium list and points.): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-_cgPAWy0s&list=UUu8D_79xl1sFEhWF4MEyUTw&index=7&feature=plcp

So here last but not least the picture with the chairlift on which we all don’t want to get stuck ;-)….or is there someone?Chairlift in Whakapapa

In all this years of competing I saw many riders (FWT and whatever level) who felt not rightly judged. I guess I now belong to them too. I never saw a clearer situation on a competition day. But hey!, the good price money stays now in NZ and that’s positive.

I’m going to keep working fully motivated. As a professional snowboarder and as a carpenter….
…I touch wood, its good.
Aotearoa was worth the trip, it has a unique character.

And in the next blog update I’m gonna tell you why I left Nendaz and the 4Vallées, where I was freeriding the last 11years.

Early winter start in New Zealand

Very soon it starts to smell like snow again….
Then on the 17.8.12 I arrive in Auckland NZ, and it’s WINTER down under!
The season for us freeride competitors started already a few weeks ago! More infos: http://www.freerideworldtour.com/news-detail/items/freeride-world-qualifier-tour-kick-off.html
There will be a FWQ*** on the North Island for snowboarders, which I’m going to do in September to gain some points for the FWQ Ranking. The goal for this winter is to finish amongst the first 3. And get back in the FWT.
The competition is gonna be on a vulcano – a new event environment for me! NZ is full of vulcanos.
There are as well two FWQ** events on the South Island. I really hope there is gonna be enough snow to have a good big mountain competition and not too much wind (like last winter in some parts in the alps). And riding on rocks is not fun either!
Here’s the picture of Mt Ruapehu where the competition will happen at the ski station with a beautiful name of Whakapapa.
Last time I was riding in NZ in 2004, in Wanaka and Queenstown on the South Island.
The first week I’m gonna focus on getting back in shape, as I worked as carpenter this spring/summer at home and couldn’t find time to train much. And there are still some old injurys from last season and a left shoulder which needs some muscle building.
Then on the 25. of October I’ll come back to Switzerland. Here’s a nice video link about riding in NZ: http://vimeo.com/15171382 

Arctix event in Norway, april 2011

It was a trip to mark the end of this special winterseason 2010/2011:
Riding the hole winter with the Freerideworldtour on the planet, meeting great people, spending unforgedebal moments, riding deep russian powder, crossing bad snowconditions in the alps, beeing in a hurry for the travel, driving my loved car to a piece of scrap iron, stressing to get down to the finish gate, drying clothes next to a fire because of the rain on mt. baker and living a dream…but back to Arctix.

A FWT judge I like was organising the event. Nature, no skilifts, heliski, hiking, living with a bunch of riders in a hidden vally fare north of Norway.
Soon coming more of this great experiance up in the north with snow and the northen lights!

Here a video on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/likeabullet79#p/a/u/1/7KNdcn4ILbk

sleeping in the iglu with the aurora borealis
the hut in the hidden vally-our home
hiking on the new panorama splitboard from K2….sick!!
getting strong for the viking adventure…pasta with raw egg
Anne-Flore Marxer having fun with her new promodel board
on the arrival from the windowseat
on the other side of the plane more mountains …and water
going for the first flight after waiting..waiting
is this real….%)
Aurora Borealis – Northern lights at Arctix
wana shop or life the adventure?
wikings are living in Norway
with friends on a hike late afternoon
the hidden vally
pick a peak!
or chose a couloir!

FWT Verbier Xtreme: The Final with 3 swiss athlets

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 Verbier is always a big spectacle…the mountain, the good organisation, the riders, the ambiance, the unique panorama…each year different.
Before the Xtreme I had a few downdays…mental downdays. The Bec des Rosses is in my playground, I love this mountain, and have a hugh bunch of respect of it! I was there when accidents happend in the past.
This year I realy wanted to come as athlet/rider, but there where just a few single points missing. So I came as spectator to watch friends riding.
There were the 2 swiss FWT riders Samuel Anthamatten who got 5th, Anne-Flore Marxer who won the Xtreme and a third swiss Ludo Lovey who got a wildcard (winnerNendazFreeride).
To say that Anne-Flore became Worldcampion and Samuel Vice-Worldcampion of Freeriding 2010/11.
Ludo Lovey had an enormous crash-very lucky-just shoulder luxation.
Btw: the lookers right of the Bec des Rosses was closed because of difficult snow conditions.

In Total it was a great winter with the FWT. And Im happy to shared it with the FWT and all the riders.
Thank you ALL. And special ThanXs to my family and Sponsors.

Your Raphaël
Bec des Rosses: under the startgate the tracks of  Ludo Lovey big crash/tumble

At Col des Gentianes hundreds of spectators 

the last picture of the FWT 2010/11 for me..it was still great