Bela Joyride with Joey Bidner
Freerides and Europe have always seemed to go hand-in-hand in my mind, but it seems this season there are more of them than ever and in an abundance of quality. Some of these are directly with thanks to Markus Knoblechner and the crew from Big Mountain Skate.
The first Bela Joyride was four days of skating, from 26th to 29th August, on nearly 6 kilometers of pure downhill fun – mountains and thick forests all around with hair pined road linking Austria and Slovenia. We caught up with Kebbek Skateboards Team Manager, Joey Bidner, who traveled to the event from Canada to Europe for the event to see what he thought.
For reasons I cannot explain, most of the European events, outside of the world cup series, go under the radar from North Americans each season. If there is a series you should give your divided attention to, and possibly travel for, it’s any of the events hosted by Big Mountain Skate. 5 events, all in Austria and Slovenia, and 3 of them are DH freerides. I don’t know why the freeride scene is not as big in North America as it is in Europe. Maybe it’s the relaxed atmosphere of the people there, or something in the water, but they are less concerned with competing and just want to jam out and have as much fun as possible. Freerides just make more sense, they are less expensive to attend, you get to skate WAY more, and they are simply more fun because you get to just jam on a closed road.
I was privileged enough to attend Big Mountain Skate’s 3rd event this season, the Bela Joyride. A 4 day freeride, on a leg burning 6km, 16 hairpin run. Each day, skaters had 5-7 runs or more, which meant up to 42 kilometers and a total of 105 hairpins a day. A real leg-killer! This even is called a Joy Ride for a reason, the roads average speed is only 60km/h (80km/h if you are hauling ass) making it simply fun to skate, not a survival story. It’s about pack runs and grip. On average, only 5 of the 16 hairpins require pre-drifting. The heavily cambered hairpins not only qualify for a road porn fold-out in any magazine, but let you stick your lines with confidence and exit with giddy-like behavior.
A great event is more than just a well-organized day of skating. Events that go above and beyond to make the whole experience memorable, are the ones that deserve acclaim. The Big Mountain Skate crew take hospitality pretty seriously. There was on site camping, food service at the camp site as well as at the top of the track. The camp site was located next to Austria’s cleanest river, which made for a necessary morning bask to wake up. Event sponsor Blue Tomato, donated a mini ramp located at the camp site for apre-shred activates. As per usual, the after party each night was pretty rockin’ considering nobody was concerned about winning a race the next day. Every morning you could take your time, shake off the night of fun, and drop in when you are ready and able.
Keep an eye out for reports on the Big Mountain Skate event, Loralo as well!
Want more video from the event? Check these out:
https://vimeo.com/137827619 – Erik Lundberg & Anders Inde
https://vimeo.com/137884573 – Europe Bear Trucks Family
https://vimeo.com/137817230 – little edit by Austrian Local
Thanks to Markus and everyone at Big Mountian Skate!