All Good in Badgastein, AT

 In January 2023, Will, Luke, and Dan from Spark R&D met up with some of Spark's Team Riders and Shred Fam ambassadors in Badgastein, Austria for three days of splitboarding, high-fives, good meals, and good times. 

Words: Dan Ventura

Photos: Pierre Lucianaz

Considering I was seeing a lot of grass on the Austrian resort webcams even a week before our trip in January, I can say honestly, everything came up aces. It was looking pretty grim in the Northern Alps, but before we arrived from North America a couple of nice storms blanketed Austria with fresh snow. It wasn’t as much as they needed to get back to normal, but it was enough for us to be able to get out and splitboard together.

Speaking of ‘us’. Let me introduce everyone who joined us for three days of shredding in Badgastein.

Left to Right: Will Ritter, Ettore Personnettaz, Gerwin Andreas, Markus Moster, Luke Dale, Dan Ventura, Melissa Brandner, Max Zipser


We knew day one was likely to be our only day of sunshine so we got a nice early start. We headed up to an alpine area adjacent to the resort that we thought would accommodate our large group and would allow us to both stay together touring and also break up for different lines.

The zone was super fun offering perfect snow and gorgeous views of the surrounding valley. On our first lap, we sampled the lower-angle pow options.

Luke Dale and Ettore Personnettaz

Luke and Ettore at the trailhead before our first tour.

Left: Ettore on the way up. Right: Will leads the way up the skin track. 

max zipser pow austria

Max cruising in the low-angle pow. 

For our second lap of the day, we made our way a bit higher seeking out the steeper lines in the zone. 

Max zisper and will ritter at the top of their line.

Max and Will stoked on reaching the top of the line.

Left: Luke slashing his way down from the top. Right: Find someone that makes you feel like Markus does when he rides steep powder. 

melissa brandner splitboarding

Melissa rides fast and smooth. Easy to see why she is a competition freerider. 

At the end of the day we had a chance to talk a little shop, get tuned up, and make plans for day two.  

Left: Will and Max talk binding development. Middle: Melissa does a little first aid with the p-tex candle. Right: Gerwin, Ettore, and Dan scope ideas for Day 2. 


Starting at a different local resort, we skinned up the beginner area, past the learners on the magic carpets, and into the trees taking us away from the crowds. Our group spread out through the trees and rendezvoused at the cabins just above treeline. No time to rest with the weather coming in, we kept moving into the higher alpine.


As the clouds got thicker, it was becoming obvious visibility was going to be a little challenging. By the time we reached our peak, 4,ooo feet from where we started, we were surrounded by clouds and had to drop in a little tentatively. After descending a thousand feet or so the vis improved and everyone enjoyed surfy turns in the untouched pow. One group went for another lap, the other went for Spaetzle and beer. 

Max, Luke, and Melissa make their way up the beginner area. 

Left: Max couldn't resist the photo op. Middle: Dan makes his way through the snowy trees. Right: The group celebrates at the summit just before the clouds got thick. 

Ettore Personnettaz splitboarding

Hippy turns for Will Ritter.

If you can find yourself a pad with a sauna and wood-fired hot tub, we highly recommend it. Tauernstoeckl was our jam in Badgastein and the host is a ripping splitboarder.


With clouds in the forecast again, we decided to ride the same area as the day before. We had a better idea of where we wanted to be and didn't want to chance a new zone not working out for us. 


We had an excellent day and were able to keep a decent size group together for the entire mission.


Something to consider: on day two, we took the steeper skin track zigging through the trees and on day three we mostly followed the access road which was longer and flatter but ended up in the same place. When we got to the treeline, we noticed that it took almost the same amount of time as the day before, but everyone was far less sweaty from the tour. 

Spark team group photo at cabin

The whole crew on day three at the mid-mountain cabins. 

Left: Captain Ettore Personnettaz. Middle: Melissa's pow butter. Right: Ettore in surf city.

Luke Dale Method

Grasser or method? Either way, Luke makes it look good. 

Big thanks to Ettore and Pierre for cooking a traditional Italian meal to finish off the trip. 

Ettore the chef making Pasta Putenesca.

We said our goodbyes after breakfast on the morning of day four. The Spark crew was bound for Munich, Melissa was back on the road for her next competition, Ettore and Pierre were headed back to Italy, and our guides Markus and Gerwin were leaving Badgastein but staying in Northern Austria for the winter ahead. Max had actually left to get back to his family in Innsbruck after day two.


We had an awesome couple of days sharing good snow, exploring new zones, and just getting to know each other better. We're lucky to work with these excellent splitboarders and all-around stellar humans. We're already looking forward to the next time we get to split with this group. 


If you're looking for excellent splitboard guiding in Austria, find Markus and Gerwin at >>

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