Après means party. Well, no, it doesn’t. It’s actually French for “after,” but in the snowboard world, après is the party after an epic day. My friends Adam Ireland, Tristan “Teton” Brown, Veronica Paulsen, and I had the chance to go to Switzerland to do a short film segment for Backcountry Access and Trew Gear. We were in Verbier–considered one of the best big mountain freeride resorts in the world–for three weeks. We did some amazing riding. We hit some fun jumps, hiked around the Alps, and rode down some incredible couloirs. But I’m not here to tell you about the snowboarding. This is the story of the après.
If you’ve ever seen a group of groms [young riders] ripping around Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and wondered who they were, it’s probably Marvin Martel and his friends. It doesn’t matter what the conditions are; Marvin will be out on the mountain charging around and smiling from ear to ear. There is way more to snowboarding than just being on a board. There is a deep culture and lifestyle that fully embodies snowboarding and Marvin is completely engulfed by it. He is constantly telling stories about his adventures of the day on snow and loves sharing his stoke for riding with the other kids.
I am standing with Neo Emery at the start gate on top of a mountain in Switzerland. I’m trying to keep him cool and collected while he visualizes his run. This moment, and everyone leading up to it, is where being a snowboard coach is filled with anxiety.