The Story Behind Surreal Snowboarding

Surreal Snowboarding members: Mary Luggen, Tini Gruber, Celia Petrig, Lea Baumschlager, Steffi Neusser, Sophia Schroll, Pili De La Cruz, Maria Hirschvogel, Maria Kuzma and Sarka Pancochova.

Whilst 2020 has been a weird time for most of the World, it’s also seen some positivity with the need to include more diversity into snowboarding. One project that is doing exactly that and got our attention is Surreal, an all-female snowboard movie, which was the brainchild of Lea Baumschlager

The fact that more women are getting into snowboarding is a win-win as far as we are concerned, and Surreal looks set to be a standout movie in its own right.  Surreal has strong cast of riders who are a tight knit group of friends and all the women involved from riders to graphic designers are all heavily involved in each aspect of the production to make it come to light. Surreal promises to not be your standard trick flick but to show a more artistic and visually tantalizing snowboarding movie. We wanted to find out more about the movie, what we can expect and what the project means to the individual riders.

Steffi Neusser, Photo: Jakob Wallner

What exactly is Surreal?
Lea Baumschlager: Surreal gives us the opportunity to show Snowboarding from a different point of view. We as Snowboarders experience mountains in an exclusive way. The obstacles in the park, the shapes of the backcountry, the handrails in the streets are only seen as those through a snowboarder’s eye. Our snowboard becomes an art tool to make those obstacles and pillow lines work. We unconsciously act like surrealist artists and put objects in a different context. We build our own surreal dream landscape.
Sophia Schroll: To be honest I think our mindset is. It’s surreal that we take things for granted that we didn’t fight for, regard our privileges as normal whilst others do not even have the chance to learn how to write `privilege ‘; our life’s, our constructed systems, our behaviour as humans, all of them can be described as surreal. We enjoy living in a dream-like world where almost anything is possible if you just try hard enough. We create and shape realities without even noticing that ‚REALITY ‘is a question of perspective, that should be shifted from time to time in order to get a better overall picture of what is going on. But in this amused-bemused situation living still is so real and genuine. This includes our everyday lives, our social interactions as well as our chosen passions to enrich our existence.
We want to address and exaggerate this ambiguity of realness and encourage people to reflect what kind of realities one is shaping, and one wants to shape for their own sûrreal life’s. We don’t put that question in a moral way, but as a reminder that we can interpret the world subjectively and are free to play with our surroundings. It’s surreal to shape a floating piece of wood and jump and spray and grind metal on the mountains, but we love it.
Therefore, I’d say Sûrreal is more than a snowboard-movie. It’s an artistic approach to show that is unutterably important to us, yet it doesn’t have any further value for the entire world. And both of it is fucking real.
(Something that doesn’t make sense does not necessarily have to be useless.)

Mary Luggen, Photo: Felix Pirker

Surreal wont focus on just the tricks side of snowboarding, what do you hope to show in the movie?
Celia Petrig: We want to show the beauty in the ordinary. You can do a turn or you can do the turn. Also, we are all women who are very interested in art and in harmony, therefore we want to create some eye candy not only for the snowboard freaks but for everyone. With a focus on the structure, little closeups and different light exposures we want to convey the idea of different realities that are still all connected.
Tini Gruber: Some beautiful, cool nature moments and woman ́s snowboarding. Fuck yeah!
Marci Hirschvogel: We want to show that it doesn’t matter where you come from or which background you have, we all decided to start this sport for different reasons and no one could predict we would stand here today doing this project together, but as life unfolds and you find yourself growing in the things you do, you come to meet people and start visualizing ideas – this is kind of what happened. We are absolute curious what it brings.
Maria Kuzma: Well all of the women on the surreal crew are very creative, and from all different aspects, so what we are trying to do is bring a more artsy and more thought through aspect to the filming side of the movie, so it doesn’t end up as a mismatch of snowboarding shots, it will be put together beautifully, with nice cinematography and a great soundtrack to go with it.

Maria Kuzma, Photo: Tero Repo

Where will you shoot the movie?
Sophia Schroll: We are going to film in our regional resorts as they are unbelievably beautiful and most of us couldn’t leave for a longer time because most us have to work and as Corona is hitting hard this winter this might not only be the best but the only way to still produce a movie.
Sarka Pancochova: Most of the movie will be shot in Austria. We will focus on our backyard resorts, as most of us are located differently somewhere in the Alps. This will be Zillertal area, Damüls, Arlberg, Nordkette and spots around Innsbruck.

There are lots of unique riders that have different riding styles in the movie, how will you showcase their talents?
Marci Hirschvogel: The movie is about passion that brings us together to create. It will focus on all sorts of riding styles and therefore also people. We all shape our lives for the sake of being up on the mountain. No matter what you do or how good you are as a snowboarder, it’s about asking where you set your own limiting beliefs and how anything can inspire your life. As you said, every person brings something unique with and besides tricks there’s a lot about the scenery and what each individual sees in it. Snowboarding has a lot of different layers from all mountain freestyle and touring to obstacles – from simple lines to finding tricks in the streets. Everything has its own poetry and we want to show a more artistic way of looking at it.
Sophia Schroll: Our diversity in our thinking and riding is our biggest behalf. This range will be mirrored in the movie by conflating backcountry, street and park shots in different ways. But it’s less about the talents than about showing a bunch of people that share parts of their realities. As we not only have different styles but as well different levels of riding (from unsponsored till professional) we’ll show how creativity enables us to still share moments with each other.

Pili De La Cruz, Photo: Felix Pirker

Which trips are you looking forward to?
Lea Baumschlager: I’m definitely looking forward to the trips where most of us are taking part in it. I guess Damüls will be one of the bigger trips where we have a lot of time to shoot and work together with the resort.
Tini Gruber: All of them really, It ́s hard to know what’s going happen with the corona situation but hopefully we get some good snow, so we have more opportunities. Im looking forward to be spontaneous, I am always up for an adventure.

It’s a tough year for the industry, what challenges are you facing?
Maria Kuzma: Well obviously we have the Covid situation but actually I believe that’s turning out to be a blessing in disguise, the resorts are closed so everyone is having to be productive in their local areas, there are big challenges but in my mind it’s a positive thing.
Lea Baumschlager: It is a tough year for most of the companies and of course it’s not easy to convince brands to support a movie project. The current situation makes it hard to really plan something. I still believe that in times like these it’s necessary to show the beautiful and fun side of life and bring in some positive vibes, regardless of the circumstances it’s about time for another European All Females Movie. I don’t know if it’s the best time to produce a movie but it’s definitely the best time to get creative.

Celia Petrig, Photo: Laax/ Philipp Ruggli

There are more and more riders wanting to film with Surreal, could the fact that some events being cancelled actually mean this is the best time to produce a movie?
Sarka Pancochova: 100% and for me it’s always a little bit more exciting to create a movie and ride in backcountry with friends. It has been a while since I did a movie so I’m really excited, it’s great to have more people on board and showcase great women snowboarding

Tini Gruber, Photo: Eli Eberl

What was the reasoning behind having a musical score for Surreal and how did this idea come to light?
Pili De La Cruz: The reason why choosing Little Element to be part of Surreal is the potential and freedom we get by being able to actually „design“ the sound for the movie. From the very beginning we had the challenging goal of doing something special and new in the world of snowboarding; Surreal is art and action together, it wants to touch the viewer, catch them and transport them in an artistic way through sick and stylish riding. It is not just a pure snowboarding film. So in order to do this, it was then clear for us that sound would play a critical role and that we’d need a person in our team to work with us hand-to-hand in order to make this actually possible and we found it. Little Element is also a friend of us and we are excited Lisa is gonna put all her passion and professionalism to the project.

What are the benefits of having an all-women’s snowboard movie compared to a mixed video production?
Sophia Schroll: To be honest we didn’t plan to make an all-women’s movie, it just happened, and it turned out that we just make an amazing team! Mixed or single-sex productions both have advantages and disadvantages, it’s about finding compromises either way. So I think the biggest advantage lies in having a team that sticks together, no matter which sex you are.
Lea Baumschlager: Our intention in the first place wasn’t to make an all- women’s snowboard movie. We wanted to show snowboarding from a creative perspective which in our case includes a feminine approach to produce a movie. Of course the fact that we are all girls makes it easier to shift the focus on girls ripping different terrains.

Sarka Pancochova, Photo: Fischi

What are you hoping to achieve with Surreal?
Lea Baumschlager: I’m already more than happy to work and ride together with such talented and motivated girls. The supporting vibe we have while riding is outstanding. My personal goal is to transfer this into the movie and motivate girls to shred and film together. There is more than just contest riding and there are so many ways to get creative.
Celia Petrig: Our goal is to get people hyped on snowboarding and give the people out there courage to follow their dreams without limitations. To show the beauty in every aspect of snowboarding and to connect style, big tricks and visual art. We want to capture a bunch of friends having a freakin good time out there snowboarding, inspiring, pushing and enjoying life together, because yeah, we all need some positivity and escape during these times.
Tini Gruber: I think it ́s very cool to produce something and create some memories that will last forever. I hope we can inspire more people to live their passion.

You can follow Surreal on their website here and their Instagram here.