An Open Mind… Is All You Need.

A few years back, Burton began shifting their focus away from the biggest elite events. There was a feeling that the global Open series, while important for progression, wasn’t actually “open” anymore. Unless you were on a national team, training year round, the only place for a normal rider at those events was on the sidelines, as a spectator.

With that in mind, the Mystery Tour was born. Riders of all ages and ambitions are invited to participate in a fun banked slalom and to session mellow park features with personal instruction from Burton’s local team riders. For the second year, the Swiss stop was held in Lenzerheide, so we rolled up to see what it was all about. While there, we chatted with local shaper / shredder Daniel Lanz to find out what goes into an event like this.

Daniel Lanz, from Whiteout 50 by Andri Kaufmann

Hey Dani, how was your season so far?
It’s been one of the craziest winters for me. With the huge snowfalls at the beginning of December we had the best snow conditions to ride all of the steep lines that we’ve been dreaming of theses last few years. And the snow stayed good for almost 2 months! We also did a lot of pow surfing using the car to shuttle up and then snurfing back down at night.

Dani at work

Nice! How was the buildup of the course for this year’s Mystery Tour?
It was pretty heavy. We worked for five days, every day and into the night with crews of five to ten people. It was amazing that we had so many volunteers to help out because it was super physical — the whole snake run was shaped by hand.

Burton gave us a lot of trust to build whatever we wanted. They just asked that we make it a little shorter since they had around 80 more competitors than last year. With 230 riders we wouldn’t have had time for everyone one to get two runs on a longer course.

You said you were pretty beat up. Any particular challenges?
It’s all good, but I actually slept up there on the mountain in the shaper’s hut all week. Well, every night except one. On Thursday we finished the cradle and I was just so done. I went back to the hut super late, had a beer, and woke up the next morning still wearing all of my gear… with just the wettest boots! I got up Friday morning with the worst wet feet I’ve ever had.

Then, on Friday night we were pretty much done and then the snowblower broke. The track came off and while I was trying to fix it, it started to rain. I thought I’d be done by 11h but it was after 1 am when I finally finished.

Damn, that’s a lot of work! Was it worth it?
Totally! I’m so happy with this event. When you put your heart into building something and see how stoked everyone is to ride it, then it’s such a good feeling. This is the 8th banked slalom that I’ve helped build and the 10th that I’ve ridden in. Every banked is unique. It’s amazing.

And I loved how open it was this year with a good mix of boys, girls, groms and even adaptive riders…. Some people were just surfing it. They didn’t care how fast they were. And then there were some guys taking it super serious, with their fluoro waxes. I love how people could take it any way they want.

But the Mystery Tour is also special because we always get to add a little freestyle touch. Every turn is different. It’s not like last year in Laax where every bank looks the same. So we had the idea to make a skate-style cradle, but in the end it was really hard to ride so the racers were allowed to skip it.

Gabriel Kreienbuehl goes over while Jeremy Denda takes a nap.

Yeah, I was wondering if the big “mystery” was how to make it through the cradle without crashing…
For sure. It was pretty difficult to ride. I went way too fast and had a pretty gnarly bail on my third try. So it was good that they took it out of the race, but we did a reshape today and made it a little bigger. We’ll try to hit it again this week.

Were there any other big mysteries this year? Maybe how to find all of the park features in the fog?
I don’t know, but I really like the slogan: An open mind is all you need.

Do you think he made it?

Anything else that you want to add?
Well, as a shaper, I really want to thank the whole crew and all of the volunteers. It was great how everyone came together and made it happen!

And a special shot out to the one and only Legend from Lenzerheide, Ralf Heeb. He does the best shaper and pistenbully job and always motivates others to have the most fun. He’s the crew dad!

Thanks for the interview Dani! Also, big thanks to the crews from Burton and Lenzerheide for investing in fun grassroots events like this!

Another gem from Dani and Andri, featured in Whiteout 50.

Text and photos by Ahriel Povich (unless otherwise noted)