Lifestyle: Big Trip

From the summit to the sea, part 1

Mountain tops with bike and board

Sebastian ‘Basti’ Kuhn was born in Bamberg, Germany, and now lives in a caravan surrounded by the mountains of Tyrol. An ideal set-up for the snowboard pro and ‘modern nomad’, as he calls himself.

Shortly after leaving school, Basti realised that snowboarding should play a central role in his life. Since then, he’s become an integral part of the European snowboard scene and can combine his work and his passion, thanks to his job in the marketing department at Nitro Snowboards. But that’s not everything, Basti is also a keen motorcyclist.

If the snowboard pro and Nitro Team rider could, then he would never take off his board. However, as boards don’t perform that well on tarmac, this motorcycle fan has grabbed himself a Triumph Tiger 800 XCA for his trip to the Camp Good Times event on the Kaunertal Glacier in Austria.

Join Basti on the glacier and let him tell you what he and his bike have experienced in this breathtaking alpine panorama…

From snow to moto…

One of the snowiest winters of the past 30 years is coming to an end. Of course, from the point of view of a snowboarder, the cold season could gladly continue for a few more months. But it is what it is and so it’s time to finish the season and I’m looking forward to a sunny and eventful summer. But before that, there is time for one last trip to the glacier. Fortunately, it’s a journey without much snow and ice.

This year, my anticipation of the motorcycle season is fuelled by the news of having a Triumph Tiger 800 XCA to call my own. The Tiger has already been praised by the press for its excellent off-road qualities and numerous updates in terms of technology and performance – so I’m curious to see what we’ll experience together. For the trip to the glacier I thought to myself: “Why not combine my two passions?” Thanks to the practical adventure panniers of the Tiger 800 XCA, it was easy to get all my gear on the bike.

The “Camp Good Times” on the Kaunertal Glacier is ideal for such a trip. It was warm and dry  on arrival and there were ideal conditions for snowboarding on the glacier. The scenery was stunning with incredible views of the glacier.

On the road to Camp Good Times on the Kaunertal Glacier

Carving the glacier

The 30-kilometre-long glacier road from Feichten to Weißseeferner, up to an altitude of 2,750 metres, lures you with 29 bends and picturesque panoramas. After a third of the route, the road meanders towards the glacier along the fjord-like reservoir. Depending on water level and season, the lake offers some beautiful detours over gravel and moon-like landscapes. The 95 hp of the new Tiger coped wonderfully. Top cornering and powerful acceleration also increase the riding pleasure and always give me full control of my bike.

On the way from the lake to the glacier, there are plenty of marmots that spontaneously decide to cross the road. Fortunately, either they were fast enough or, thanks to the excellent handling and the control of the Tiger, I could react in time, meaning we all managed to end up in one piece, despite one or two close calls.

Another challenge is that in some bends, the melt water runs criss-cross over the road towards the valley and due to the fairly cool temperatures on the way to the summit, these bends should be enjoyed with caution.

Hitting the slopes

Once at the top, it’s time to change out of my Triumph GORE-TEX®  gear and into the snowboarding kit. Camp Good Times is the last event of the season for most campers, as well as for a large part of our team riders or the last time we all meet up again in the snow. Many snowboarding pros have had an intense season, especially in the past Olympic year, as it’s all about using the time as effectively as possible.

At the end-of-season event, on the other hand, everyone indulges in the pure essence of snowboarding – to go snowboarding with friends and have a good time with no pressure. It’s about people who enjoy the same thing coming together and having a great time. No matter what level you are or how good you are, here, everyone is the same. So amateurs ride with the stars of the scene, play a game of table tennis or enjoy beer together.

As evening comes it is time to find an undisturbed spot for camp, campfire and my Tiger

As evening comes, it is time to find an undisturbed spot for camp, campfire and my Tiger. After getting out of the wet snowboard boots, it is off to enjoy a leisurely coffee on the terrace of the mountain restaurant. While the last rays of sunshine are lost behind the mountain peaks, I use the calm to recall the impressions of the day. At this time of year, I simultaneously enjoy two climates for a few weeks: the already green valley is ideal for motorcycling, while the glacier offers the best conditions for snowboarding. It is then when the view from the snow-capped mountains into the valley is priceless.

On the way back, the winter makes itself felt one last time and it starts to snow. Fortunately I am well prepared for the wind and weather. It is not only the motorcycle that attracts attention, the board strapped to my back is also an eye-catcher, so I get some thumbs up from oncoming bikers and the lady at the toll booth was happy to get a photo.

A busy winter season, with moments to fondly remember, will come to an end with this extended weekend. But the plans for the next trip are already in place. After a short but intensive office week with beautiful weather, my summer has arrived and I’m once again drawn back outside. Soon the fully packed Triumph will be on the road again and this time pointed in the direction of the sea.

With my trusted partner, the Tiger 800 XCA, I’m heading to Seignosse in the south of France to visit friends, then on to catch a few waves and, after a physically gruelling season, relax on the beach. Before that, of course, a detour over several passes to Genoa and Nice is planned. But more about that next time. Stay tuned… Part 2 follows.

Book a test ride on a Tiger today and have your own adventure. 

Photos Markus Rohrbacher manusmarkus

Story: Nitro Snowboards nitrousa