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.
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.
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.