What is the perfect job if you want to snowboard a lot? That’s exactly what Nikita rider Elena Könz asked herself before she took on a shaping job for September and October this year.
Words & photos by Elena Könz
I had already worked in Zermatt over the summer two years ago, helping out in the youth hostel and riding the Gravity Park, so was welcomed back easily.
I got back from New Zealand at the end of August to a sunny and warm Switzerland, enjoying two full on summer days. But when I was supposed to start working in Zermatt, it started dumping like hell in the mountains. First powder on my first working day, epic! Although that also meant that we had to dig out all the obstacles in the park. But after summer it was good to have fresh snow to build the new jumps and to change the jib line.
Some great days snowboarding followed, shaping and enjoying the autumn days in the village. There’s so much stuff to do in Zermatt in the afternoons or on down days. Like biking, which I used to hate, but have changed my mind after some crazy good sessions.
Like every year the Swiss championships where held in Zermatt in September with Swiss riders competing in the Gravity Park for halfpipe and a big air. The overall winner being crowned the new Swiss Champion. After a relaxing BBQ at the lake the night before, I ended up in 3rd place in the halfpipe comp the next day. I was much more nervous for the Big Air competition following on Sunday, as I knew that if I landed my tricks and made it to at least 2nd place, I would be in with a good chance to become Swiss champion. And luckily I did! Placed 2nd and was super stoked when they called out my name. And my mates were even more stoked to have a TBSPSC (turbo booster super park shaper crew) buddy on the podium as the overall winner!!
And I really enjoy being part of their crew. When shaping something brand new it’s always hard to wait until the next morning to ride it, so one night we organized a sleepover in the small cottage in Italy and on the glacier so we could do an evening session shooting and taking photos. It was so nice to be on the glacier at night and in the early hours of the morning!
Two skiers, the photographer and I even found the motivation for a sunrise shoot, forcing ourselves out of our beds in pitch black… Since the skiers were keen to jump the big kicker, I just followed them. It was really icy but the sunrise was super nice, so we kept on jumping. I also did some single hits in the half pipe after that. But when the first ski racers arrived we decided to bail and have some coffee at the cottage, letting the boots dry out that were still wet from the night before.
October followed with some bad weather days and although the skate park on the roof of the station is really crap, it does work for some fun sessions on lazy days. Zermatt is pretty good for partying too and so we had a fun night playing table soccer for shots. My soccer team mate and I probably had the most fun as we were winning all the time – not due to me of course…
It’s awesome to build new obstacles and get creative! When we decided to organize a summer park closing Jam, we were lucky enough to have some really motivated bully drivers with whose help we built a completely new obstacle: a bowl with two corner jumps and rails after the bowl! And it was amazing to see everyone again before the summer season was truely over.
On Sunday, the village was coated in snow again. We stayed two more days to clean the house and take out the rails and sneak in some powder sessions between working.
The winter park in Zermatt will open in December and I for one can’t wait to get back!