If you haven't read issue 23.2 of Method Magazine already, we pity you... This is partly why we give you this present today. Here's a bunch of words and photos by Theo Acworth as well as a wonderful video by Christian Bjonness. In fact, that edit was secretly kept in our harddrives for months, so even if you've read the article, you most certainly never saw the video...
You know those adventure park places you went to as a kid? The ones with big slides, ball pits, and other fun stuff to run around and play on? The Alaïa facilities are like that, but for adults too. Instead of being politely asked to stop jumping in the ball pits and frightening the children as you would anywhere else, we were actively encouraged. Ok, no children were frightened, but we did have a really good time. And instead of ball pits, there were halfpipes, jumps, rails, skateparks and a wave garden surf facility. Not bad. A ball pit or two actually would have been fun, but I guess you can’t have everything.
I’d come straight off a street trip, so it was extra nice to be in a space where everything was totally laid on for us, courtesy of other people’s hard work. We also got to eat in a fancy Italian restaurant under our hotel, twice! I’m a simple guy, and having food provided in any scenario makes me very happy. Even better when it’s actually good food and comes with good wine. Everyone in the restaurant was wearing cashmere turtlenecks and had big shiny watches. Fridge was wearing a Cradle of Filth shirt with ‘Desire me like Satan’ written on the back and a picture of a topless crucified woman on her period on the front, so of course, we fitted in perfectly.
I had a mad pizza that had been slightly deep-fried and covered with lime zest, sun-dried tomatoes and rucola. It was like a classy Italian version of fried bread, but much better. If you don’t know what fried bread is, go to the UK and order a full English breakfast. Anyway, I’m digressing.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, playgrounds. The fancy food was great, but all we really needed was the space to play, and this was more than provided. Fridge tweaked his knee in the pipe about 30 minutes after we started riding, but this didn’t stop him from landing a backflip on a scooter later that night. What a hero. Another scooter rider in the park looked a bit put out by Fridge’s progression, so he immediately flexed and did some sort of scoot double cork. He only did it into the airbag, though, whereas Fridge put his down on the resiramp, so Fridge won.
Moritz and Marcus didn’t get injured, but they did destroy pretty much everything in their path on the mountain and off it. One evening they both bombed all the way to the Alaïa Chalet skatepark from our hotel at Alaïa Lodge. Moritz needed new wheels when he got there as he’d left most of his on the 5km stretch of downhill behind him, and his board sounded more like a motorbike in the indoor park.
The surf session was followed up by a sunset session up on the mountain (yeah, surfing and snowboarding in one day, not bad) with Fridge running the handycam while Moritz and Marcus shut the jump down, with the Matterhorn lurking in the background.
This trip was simple, and it was just what we needed. Snowboarding isn’t always about going on some insane adventure into the unknown. Sometimes you just need a playground to kick back and enjoy, and that’s exactly what we did. Big up to everyone at Alaïa for hooking this one up and making us feel welcome and for not kicking us out of the restaurant because we looked scruffy. We’ll be back for sure.
*When I wrote the title for this story, I imagined it being said in a Spanish accent. I don’t know why. Crans Montana is located in the French-speaking part of Switzerland, not Spain. I guess I just thought it sounded funny and could picture Bumblebee Man from the Simpsons saying it. Alaïa-Ay-Ay! Know what I mean?