Travel – Bad Gastein, Austria

December 2nd, 2009

Medieval palaces, Swedish girl-lined hot springs and empty powder fields: another epic Austrian destination that wasn’t ready for Transfer Mag and the Kiwis.

Story & video By Sean Balmer Photos by Alex Roberts

Medievial Bad Gastein full of horny Swedish girls keen for Exotic types like Australian’s and Kiwi’s.

Bad Gastein, a place where European royalty has for centuries come to bathe in the mineral enriched water. Nearly 10 years into the new millennium and it seems to be a dumping ground for finely tuned Swedes who have just finished school and are not sure what to do with life. This place is to Sweden what Whistler is to Australia, a day care centre for 18 to 25-year-olds but with more Volley Ball captains than you can poke a Jagermeister at. This place was my domain and I was in my element.

Kiwi Stef Zeestraten making the most of the un-roped terrain right off the lift.

I had been brought along on the trip as a cinematographer, the idea being that I would shoot footage to give some insight to you on what goes on in the making of a magazine and deliver it in video format. To keep it short it’s a lot of hunting for spots on and off the mountain, a heap of claiming something is useless because Travis already did, and it’s a mental battle to stay motivated and creative. I had to bring my A game because it’s not everyday someone says to me: “Come film with us, this guy is shooting for Absinthe Films and he has no filmer”! I was gurgling at the blurter and knew I had to be a part of this. Unfortunately I did not get much sleep on the trip, causing me to make the most rookie of all mistakes on the final day – “the uncharged battery”.

Put up your hand if you haven’t tasted the Swedish delights of “Bad-ASStein”!! LtoR: Adam Shaw, Stef Zeestraten, Quentin Robbins, Sean Balmer.

On the first morning I was woken by Adam. I didn’t really know him but this was the start of a great friendship and an amazing few nights out together. I had no idea where we were; it was 7:30am and there was a barely dressed brunette spooning me fast asleep and another female in a bed beside us. Without a word we nodded at each other and bailed out a few doors, which led us to a basement full of rusty bikes and old toilets that my brain was in no way ready for navigating. We stumbled back to the hotel in time for the de-brief with the rest of the crew on the night’s activities and a spot of breakfast before heading up to some rank weather. The day was fairly uneventful: Quentin bonked a sign, Adam jibbed a 2m rail and Stef Zeestraten was throwing moist slashes like the grim reaper in a sprinkler.

Stef Zeestraten shooting the tree-hole with a nose tap.

We headed out on the town to have a creative conference to ensure we all had a plan for the next few days and to catch up on what we had all been up to over the winter. Then, after a few quiet rounds in the corner, we relocated to a good viewing spot looking down on the dance floor of the duel storey Silver Bullet bar to try to meet some of the locals. It is very rude to drop in somewhere and not introduce yourself. I saw a lonely strawberry blonde in a black dress making the eye at our table so I gave her the eye back. A few minutes later she came over and used the classic, “Do I know you?” “Not yet” I replied. After an introduction we all moved towards the bar to mingle a little and to launch a full-scale offensive on the Swedes. Then all of a sudden a shot appears in my hand: it’s dark and smells like the Jager was running low so they topped it up with mouthwash. It was Branca Menta, and it was just bearable. My Swedish hostess kept them coming and pretty soon we were on the stroll to her’s, where she informed me that she had only been having shots of diet Coke while I was stuck sippin’ on the silly syrup. I had been used, which would become a theme for the week. A few hours later I was on the walk of claim (no shame here) arriving just in time for breakfast, again.

Quentin Robbins backside 180 tail grab over a sweet lil’ ol cat track gap. 5 minutes after this shot a random avalanche came down and filled in the gap…

The next two days were the same song on repeat – film some mini shred, turn up in time for breakfast feeling refreshed but tired; I was four-from-four and ready to head home after not spending one night in our beautiful hotel. I was packing my stuff to leave when Basti (MBM head photog) invited the boys to come and hit two features with Austrian shred chief Werni Stock. Werni was shooting with Absinthe but was without a cinematographer. The job was offered to me. I checked the train timetable and decided “no risk, no fun!”
I was due to fly to Stockholm – of all places – the next morning and needed to get home to Kitzbühel for some fresh gear. So I headed up the mountain with the boys. After a little reshape and a build on the tree jib, the session was underway. The boys were firing when the battery icon started to blink – I wanted to vomit. How could this happen, my machinery was betraying me. I thought this was my shot at getting into the big leagues and it was blinking away from me. (Maybe I should have gotten the train.) I went to the lift hut to charge the battery for a bit so I could shoot the sweet jump they had built, which was a guaranteed banger booter. An hour later Werni appeared on a sled, the session was over and so was his ankle. They dropped me at the train station. I was so tired but I had to go out that night to tell everyone about my adventure. The next thing I know I’m at Munich airport paying A$500 for my taxi ride because I’d slept in and missed the train to the airport, but after spending a week at Sweden’s top day care centre I was ready to pay whatever it cost.

The risk was definitely worth the fun and I recommend you all lock in somewhere like “Bad-Asstein” on your next northern hemisphere adventure. Just roll the dice and pay the price.

Click any image below to view the complete photo gallery from Alex Roberts.