Downtime with Stevie Schneider
At the moment, I’m on holiday. More precisely, on forced leave due to injury.
To be honest, this time off fits my concept of life very well. It's lovely weather, I'm sitting in the sun, nibbling on my herbs, and reviewing the last few very intense weeks and months. In doing so, I’m trying to laugh as little as possible, as both my cracked ribs and broken shoulder compare any laughter, sneezing or coughing to a sharp stab.
After the vitamin D surplus of Mexico, the winter gnawed away at my mental substance, and despite a few exciting Foolhouse Media projects the urge for dusty trails, less responsibility and more sun were constantly growing.
It was almost perfect timing that Korbinian Engstler invited me to join his Hypecam bike trip with his partner Nikolaj in the picturesque Vinschgau valley of South Tyrol.
Since neither Latsch im Vinschgau nor Korbi were really known to me, until then I had only talked to him by phone, I was as inspired as I was sceptical. Unaware of what I was in for, I humbly accepted the invitation, threw my belongings into the back of my ageing Mercedes (AMG) and set off for Italy. Would it be an influencer bike trip? Would we stop every few metres to take selfies or speak precocious half-knowledge and other comments into the camera? Or would the focus in the end be on a good vibe and crisp trails?
Arriving in Latsch, I was first bowled over by the landscape. Our apartment nestled in the middle of the apple tree orchards has left a lasting impression. Already at the late check-in I noticed that the vibe was right. Not much later, thanks to Michi's bike shuttle, we were ready for the first sunset run down the mountain.
Day after day, Korbi's and Nikolaj's riding styles and the trails amazed me. For my taste, there was a lot of pushing and adjusting of action cameras to make the filmed scenes look even faster. Nevertheless, I tell you, every single Hypecam break was a pure pleasure. On the one hand, because I wasn't used to the speed yet. But on the other hand, because the scenery left me in unbridled wonder, whether it was the different trails or the mystical caterpillar webs in the trees.
Between the descents on the various trails, our palates were satisfied with pizza, pasta and espresso breaks, and so the spirit gradually switched from Hypecam to Vibecam.
You can watch our little Dolce Vita holiday on YouTube under Hypecam Vinschgau.
Side fact. After being plagued by hellish itching from the neck down to my genitals, I asked the NetDoktor for help. Note to myself and to any other adventurers out there, stay away from the mystical caterpillars in Vinschgau. These are none other than the common oak processionary moth, whose fine hairs trigger highly allergic reactions.
After I’d sufficiently convinced myself that South Tyrol is Italy after all, my next trip took me to France.
My French friend, Olivier Cuvet, spent the winter making his spot Le Labo near Lake Geneva, which was already massive, even more massive and invited me to his annual Alchemie Invitational Jam.
Personally, apart from Olivier, I don't know anyone with such a freeride spot “at the back of the garden”.
This trip was completely new territory for me, as it was the first time my girlfriend had accompanied me on a bike trip. Laura and Ellen were commissioned by OIivier to take care of the physical well-being of the participants and guests with their catering service Heaven and Earth. I was delighted about this, as the French at freeride events live by the culinary motto "shit is enough".
Apart from the food culture, the French are the only people I have met so far for whom freeriding means a competitive sport. They get up early and ride hard. All day long. Beer and other stimulants are only available after the session, in contrast to Austrian freeriding. Skills and riding level on the bike are also different from what I usually see, whether on the surrounding trails or in the air.
As for language skills other than French? English? Not a word. You have to put up with the fact that people will only communicate in French, without exception. Thanks to my two-wheeled universal dictionary, I was nevertheless able to communicate without any problems.
After the very testosterone-charged week, with heavenly-earthly pleasures, Laura and I continued on our journey, culminating in Ardèche. If you are lovebirds and need a can opener for your relationship, I would highly recommend this area of France. Good food, good wine, red roses and beautiful villages at very affordable prices make for the perfect love match. To top it all off, there are a few hidden freeride lines.
I prescribed myself the compulsory holiday I mentioned at the beginning on my last road trip because, unfortunately, it was more road than trip, as I already picked up the red card at my very first stop.
While on my way to Poland for the Fest Line, I made a stopover and accepted Bernd Winkler's invitation to the opening of his jump line Rise ‘n’ Fly in Miesenbach.
First of all, I would like to mention with how much love Bernd and the crew of Miesenbach have designed and shaped this jump line.
After a wonderful, long session, I nobly knocked myself out with a massive case on one of the jumps on the last run. When my systems came back online, I promptly realised that my hardware had taken damage in the shoulder and rib areas. But since I'm a lucky guy, I didn’t need an operational update, just time to reboot.
Now, I finally have the time to teach myself how to juggle five balls, fire up the barbecue and record exciting conversations for my podcast the Stevie Schneider Show.
By the time you read this, I'll most likely be back in the saddle or in the gondola with you.
If you need personal travel tips, write me @stevefuckingschneider