Have you always been wondering what the daily routine of a QParks parkdesigner looks like? We have talked to “QParks-cornerstone” Rudi Wyhlidal about his life as a QParkdesigner AND professional QPhotographer and where he sees himself at the present and in future! Without a doubt, his Swatch Snowpark Sölden is currently one of the best Snowparks in Europe: Last week, the pro-line could already be opened and all obstacles shine in splendid condition, and to a considerable part this can be attributed to the enormous efforts of Rudi Wyhlidal and his crew. Curious how he did this? Read on!
Rudi, what does a day in the style of a shapecrew in the Swatch Snowpark Sölden look like and what are the duties of a QParkdesigner?
Well, that always depends on the weather. When there’s fresh dump, we take the earliest gondola up the mountain and get to digging the park out as fast as possible. When we’re done we plunge into the powder and keep shredding until no spot stays virgin! [laughs] On a regular day, I go up at 10 am and warm up a little on the beginner kickers and rails for then I can at the same time make a little quality check and thus the park always stands in perfect shape! Thereafter, the whole crew shreds the park and if there are not enough riders, we destroy the park ourselves J At 4 o’clock we swap our backprotectors and helmets with shovels and rakes. The shapers start shoveling and I walk the park together with bullydriver Andi to whip the park into shape again!
You had already taken care of the Swatch Snowpark Sölden before the foundation of QParks, how did you get into the business?
I’ve already run the park in Sölden for 10 years now. the whole thing started off with the first Base Summercamp. Jürgen Kipperer who was working in the SPC camp at that time, built the first Summercamp park and showed me everything important about parkbuilding. From this time on I held responsibility for the winterpark in Sölden. And soon after also for the summercamp. When QParks was founded, they made the first parkshooting in our park and made the youth-marketing. The next logical step was to put together our know-how and hence the Sölden Park became a QPark!
Besides building awesome parks you also take awesome pics and lead shootings. How can you accommodate these things?
Well, I’ve been building parks considerably longer than doing photography. To reconcile both is not always an easy thing and often you have to accept compromise. Many times I have to cancel or postpone shootings, as there’s no way to find the time. However, I’d never want to miss one of the two jobs, ‘cause I really like both works way too much! But when there is powder… the shootings have definitely priority ;)
How’s the daily routine of a QPhotographer?
Depending on the shooting. If we just go for it, we go up the mountains at around 10 am and if we already have a spot we directly head for it and prepare everything. If not, we have to search for a fitting location. Afterwards we shoot and shred until it get’s dark and the shooting is rounded off by an après-ski–beer!
But only after that, the real work starts for me: Downloading pics from the flashdrive, selecting the best, editing and eventually, at 0:00 am I’m falling into bed…
How do you see the current Freeski-boom and where do you see Snowboarding in future?
The Freeski boom is BIG! Just here in Sölden, I’d say 80 percent of the local kids are riding on skiis. Personally I’m deep rooted in snowboarding, but I like it how the kids destroy the park with skiis as well. To each his own and when they feel more comfortable on skies and have fun that way, why not?
Snowboarding was for a long time on the “bigger, larger, more extreme” – path, fortunately this has changed and it’s again more about creativity and style, which is the fascinating for me about snowboarding. I also believe that this is the future: More style and more tricks! This can also seen at the current doublecork-madness going on that combines the style, new tricks but also to a certain extent the “bigger, larger, more extreme”!
If you compare the Swatch Snowpark Sölden to other international projects: Where could the park be improved and what makes it unique?
In any event, what makes the park unique is its beginner/medium –line that is exactly tuned for our guests and is just pure fun! But also the proline guarantees that no advanced shredder or pro will be bored in our park.
Of course, if you search for it you could always find things that could be further improved, such as terrain forms, but I think we are in the very first row of the park-business across Europe, not only owing to our special obstacles!
Rudi, where do you see yourself in the future… What do you want to achieve and what’s your dream? And most important: Will Snowboarding stay the center?
Well, certainly I don’t know what the future will bring, but one thing is certain: Snowboarding will always be a huge part of my life! However, the flipside of the coin is that you can only make money with it in winter and everybody needs money. Therefore I try to gain a little foothold in photography. I’d fancy doing more photography in the fashion area.
What were THE highlights of your career so far?
THE highlight is not easy to find since there are so many! Pew… hard to say… but one of the best things I’ve seen were definitely the Lozzas Cube, the MBM Needle, the Oakley kicker and the Swatch Snowpark Sölden of course J
Thanks for the interview and ride on!