Air and Styling…in Munich!

I made my way up from the depths of the starkly lit Munchen U-bahn and out into the dark, frosty night that had enveloped of the Olympic Park, following the fluoro-yellow “Zugangs” out into the mist. Somewhere up above a series of red lights flash in the misty sky like some alien spaceship descended like Close Encounters of the Third Kind. A deep, dank fog has descended on the city, and the solitary walk through the deserted parklands makes me feel like I could be the last person left on earth.

As I keep trudging, somewhere up ahead I can see some lights on the horizon. As I get closer, I really know that those two underground trains really were just a portal to an alien land, because up ahead Ridley Scott’s alien spacecraft emerges from the earth. Insect legs reach to the heavens, anchored to the earth by strong space-age cables to stop the spaceship from taking off, and laser beams claw into the night sky beckoning our alien friends to descend to Earth. There is a dull hum coming from straight ahead…or is it more of a roar? As I get closer I can feel the earth tremble as the roar fills the air.

A sign says Nike 6.0 Air & Style as I make my way through the bowels of the spacehip and out into the arena, and I am hit with a wall of noise: thumping music mixed with 16,000 screams. To the right a giant ramp of snow, lit up like a Star Wars X-Fighter runway, angles down towards us, and every minute or so there is some kind of spacesuit-wearing creature with board attached to his feet defying the laws of physics.

I push my way forward to get a closer look at these strange beings, who, despite their goggle-eyes, look like they could almost be short, stocky humans. But although they take the form of man, they clearly must be from another planet because no mere mortal could possibly land cab 1260 double cork mute grabs with such regularity. Even his name, Peetu Piiroinen, must be just some google-translation from his true Vulcan moniker.

And I know that the aliens have found our human weakness, trying to tempt us with absolute vision splendids in the form of Monster Girls. Those smiles they give me are just to try and lure me back to the pod ship, and no, I don’t care if your name is Holly and you kiss my cheek, I will NOT be abducted by your kind!

The action on the alien landing strip suddenly ceases, and with a scream of some harsh language a stage to the right lights up and punk music blares. Now I know for sure that I am in an alternate reality, like the limbo island in Lost, becase Sum 41 were a band that existed 10 years ago! But the thousands of night zombies seem to the enjoy the blast from the past up on the stage in front of them while I explore this alien land.

Before long the alien-men are back, whittled down to eight in number. The level of space-age trickery is mind numbing, with another of the Vulcan race, Halldor Helgason, almost stomping backside 1260 double cork japan airs, even discarding his alien goggle eyes and headware mid-trick, like a skink discards its tail. If you don’t believe in the alien action I saw, check out this video.

But the outerspace gods have decided that there can be only one winner, and as he stepped atop the dias to accept his Ring of Glory, he punched the air and his alien slit eyes shined green before all those close were doused with a sweet, sticky liquid exploding from their talons.

The show is over, and the night zombies disperse back into the dark mist of the parklands while I take the underground teleporter back to civilisation. The city is busy on a cold, dark Saturday night and as I enter the ancient arched stone gates of the old town, dark amorphous figures converge on me from the shadows, and it is not til they get closer that I see the black coats, long legs and high heels. Through the dark, narrow streets I wend, where looming towers and jagged facades crowd the misty sky above me. Evil gargoyles look down upon me, as I turn through the market stalls to find the Schrannenhalle and it’s underground secret VIP lair, where flashing lights and pulsating bodies fill the dancefloor. I throw some coins on the bar and grab a beer, and as I turn around, in the darkness I spot a couple of familiar faces and know that thankfully, I have returned to reality.


Sex Sells!

Europe has a fairly laissez faire attitude towards nudity and sexuality, but on our trip it seemed that any sort of premises, business or advertising campaign could be spiced up by adding a naked female…not that I’m complaining!

Our first taste of out-of-the-ordinary nudity was inside a pumping Czech nightclub in the old town of Prague, right near the famous Charles Bridge. Zlaty Strom is made up of a dozen or so underground rooms, some cavern-like and quiet, others decorated like an English pub or Saturday Night Fever dancefloor…except for the one side-room with vaulted ceilings, sky-high shelves of alcohol…and topless strippers dancong on poles in front of the barmaids! Suffice to say, it was a pretty popular room (with both guys and girls…but mosty with guys). Clearly impressed, Dane was keen to take some of the moves he saw up on the bar down to the Euro-disco dancefloor room – but I don’t think he was keen to emulate the nude sex toy show that apparently went on at the bar very early in the morning. This might sounds like we actually just went to the strippers, but no, Zlaty Strom is a legitimate, high-end club in Prague (but ok, we did get the tip-off to go there from a scantily clad Prague Hooters Girl who frequented the club often – but, like the slogan says, maybe she was just: “Delightfully tacky, yet unrefined”?).

A couple of days later In Spindleruv Mlyn we came across this trashy sign on the way into town that advertised a ski school and ski gear rental. What is with the chick? Going on the quality we saw on our trip, she must be the ugliest girl in Czech! Whose topless sister is she…and why did they decide to make a billboard from a photo that looks like it was taken with a 4-year-old point and shoot camera?

But while that advertisement and business was clearly low-rent, even the official ski school of Spindl had funny sex-themed billboards to get you to employ their services…and teach hot girls to keep their legs together, presumably?

But it wasn’t just the crazy Czech’s using booty to try and relieve you of your hard earned, ah, booty. After the Innsbruck Air and Style we maxed out the gutless little Renault Kangoo on the autobahn on our way to Munich for the ISPO tradeshow. This thing is huge, rivalling, and some say, out-doing the SIA trade show in Denver. There are three halls full of snowboard companies, at least four for ski companies, a couple for outdoor brands, then some halls for Asian manufacturers to show their wares. I only saw the three snowboard halls, complete with the Volcom skate halfpipe, and visited the aussie boys in at 3CS and Destyn Via.

It was good to these guys making inroads into the massive European market, but what impressed me most was the Ride Snowboards stand. It was the first thing you saw after entering the snowboard wing, tall and imposing and styled up like a New Orleans Bourbon Street strip club, complete with a huge black bouncer guarding the velvet rope and curtains of the entrance. Out the front among the thronging crowd promo-girl hotties handed out specially minted coins, which you could then go into the private booths and put in the peep-show slot. And behind the frosted screen was a 2011 board, boot and binding package, lovingly presented by a busty stripper under UV lights. Impressively creepy! But after hearing rumours of actual nudity, I was lucky enough to get myself inside the Ride booth just as Big Black closed the rope and shut the curtains…just in time for that same stripper to get on the podium and pole in the middle of the salesfloor and give a real performance! Does this sell more snowboards to the dealers and distributors? Who cares! I’ll take a freebie anytime.

And just to round out our european sex-sells adventures, while we were filling up the hire car’s tank before taking it back, I came across this great point-of-sale display for Jack Links beef jerky. Coz clearly smoke-dried dead-cow is a natural fit for naked babes!

However, that is one display that certainly makes me want to buy all the packets to see what’s underneath!

Did I forget to mention that I love Europe?

Keep an eye out for some more of my Euro adventures in the next few days.

And the Adventure Begins…

Right now i’m sitting in a room in a converted farmhouse on the plains behind Munich Airport in a place called “Joe’s Polo Ranch” after just returning to the West from a succesful trip through the Czech Republic. I’ve been away for more than two weeks now, but reliable internet has been very hard to find and so I haven’t been able to upload my first travel photos until now.

I’m planning to be away for three months, with about four weeks in Europe, a week in Colorado, and 8 weeks in Lake Tahoe. Take a look at my first two photos and see what “packing light” means for me. This was cutting down to pretty much the bare essentials of snow gear. But after a visit to my friends down at Dragon HQ in Torquay, I had to make sure to include the new schwag in the board bag. And if you ever wondered what sort of camera gear you might need for an extensive overseas snowboard trip, this basically covers nearly all situations – except for when a high-powered remote flash might be needed to capture distant action…but the Elinchrom Ranger I have is just too bulky and heavy to be carrying ’round solo for all the adventures I have planned. Then of course there is all the clothes an extra bits and pieces you need for 3 months away from home…

I had a pretty long first leg, from Melbourne, via Hong Kong to London Heathrow, thence a short flight to Zurich – it was about 30 hours after checking in at Tullamarine that I was standing on the platform at Zurich’s main train station while snow swirled around in the dark night sky, and rugged-up locals dashed across wet streets in front of revving taxis and squeeling trams. I felt like a bit like I was in a Jason Bourne film…if only I had a cute German girl to drive me in her VW Golf through the Alps instead of the 3 hour train ride, followed by taxi, to my accommodation in St Anton! But it was all worth it to wake up on the Friday morning to see the enormity of the Alberg mountains all around.

Take a look at these photos (click on them to enlarge) and stay tuned for more overseas adventure updates.