Fresh snow, great park, parties, new gear, vibes and sunshine, but also lines, wind and flat light: The 14th Stubai Zoo opening had it all.
It’s that time of the year again. Skiers from all over the world flock to the Stubai Glacier to compare the bagginess of the new Capeesh pants to the pair that their homie made by stitching together two pairs of ’05 Oakleys. And also to get some park laps in, of course. That is, if you’re willing to wait out the lift lines, sneak onto the rope-tow, or like most, just decide to hike the down tube instead. This way you can get tricks down for the cash for tricks session, and your beer is always close by.
Thanks to some fresh snow, you can even take your skis off during the hike, unlike at Tux a couple weeks ago, where apparently you’d be risking falling into a crevasse. But however bleak the start of the European preseason looked, the snow came just in time for the Stubai Zoo to open with an amazing setup.
The glacier openings are always a great chance to test out this season's latest gear. Photo: Henrieke Ibing
Saturday kicked off promising, with the sun out and blue skies on top of the Stubai Glacier. Over 25 brands were set up in the testival area at the middle station, where you could check out and test new gear on your the way to the park. Once there, you had the option to ride the main park with two large kickers followed by a knuckle and two jib platforms, or opt for the rope tow jib line offering five consecutive rail hits. No matter your choice, you weren’t getting many laps in as the park was packed to the brim. The Prime Park and the pro line had national teams from Switzerland, Germany, Norway, Czech Republic, Spain and more battling the wind on the big kickers, while most others decided to hangout on the wind-sheltered jib line.
A sight for sore eyes: the Stubai Zoo fall 2023 setup. The Prime Park is in the foreground, the public jib line is behind it.
As the day progressed, the wind picked up and brought in some clouds just in time for the Rome Opening Rail Sesh at the first mailbox right off the rope tow. The boarders went ham despite the weather and the 500€ have been fairly distributed in the cash4tricks session along with some fresh gear. However the wind was picking up and the decision has been made to postpone the ski session to Sunday. This was the time to get some fast laps in an empty park before it closed down prematurely, or head down to get ready for the afterparty.
Which was nuts. Held at Neustift’s Dorfpub, the official aprés had DJs playing from 5pm until late late night for everyone who hasn’t had enough beers on the mountain or wasn’t saving themselves for the next day’s more favorable weather forecast.
To help with the hangover, the sun showed up on Sunday morning and the last day of the opening was on. The Line Skis “cash for tricks” jam planned for Saturday was merged with Skiing Mag’s contest to create one mega session, this time on the second down rail. Cash, Lead beanies and Monster-beer Radlers fueled the vibe and everybody was sending. Along with crazy switchup combos and spins, nosebutters dominated the session and seemed to be the trendy trick for the upcoming season. After an hour of absolute madness, local legend Noah Strack got the W that came with a fresh pair of Line Honey Badgers, followed by Hannah Langes in the second place. Soon after the contest ended, the clouds rolled in and people began to head down, leaving room for the most dedicated riders to make the most of the weekend before the lifts shut down.
Rail jam winners Noah Strack and Hannah Langes.
Another successful year of the Stubai Zoo opening is in the books and marks the proper start of the (pre)season for the Innsbruck crowd. You can look forward to a ton of skiing content from the park as half of the world’s freeski scene comes to the glacier in November. Prime park session number 3 kicked off on Monday with the perfect conditions to finally bring that new triple from Banger park to snow and get it ready for the FIS World Cup opener that’s being held here later in the month. And for the rest of us, there’s the perfectly shaped park to enjoy.