Archive for the ‘Zipflbob’ Category

Incredible new Zipflbob World Record at 157.34 km/h

Donnerstag, April 16th, 2009

In case you don’t have a clue what we are talking about here… This photograph shows the standard Zipflracer model that was used for the sucessful world record attempt. It is a bit bigger and heavier than the traditional Zipflbob model. If you are keen to try Zipflbobbing yourself, now is the time to have a go. Many ski resorts are already closed, but there are still beautiful patches of snow left on the runs that you have almost exclusively for yourself!

Zipflbob - The Dark Knight

More details about the new world record at www.dooogy.com.

Mount Everest Extreme – First Descent with a Zipflbob marks new Milestone in Alpine History

Mittwoch, April 1st, 2009

On the 22nd of March, Pavlek Levpist wrote alpine history. He is the first mountaineer to Zipflbob down Mount Everest. According to news coverage by the outdooractive Magazin (German), Pavlek and his brother managed to climb up to the base of Hillary Step, where they had to abort their summit attempt due to severe weather conditions.

Pavlek Levpist

However, this was only the start of their remarkable adventure. From the base of Hillary Step, Pavlek used his Zipflbob to slide down the icy 40 degree south face on the Lirpa 1 route. They succeeded in following their strategy to ascent and descent in a single push.

Zipflbob-Descent-Lirpa-1

“Speed is your life insurance up there” said Pavlek in an interview after their trip. They did not use bottled oxygen on their attempt. “Bottled oxygen is like doping – it’s just not our style. We like the idea of knocking-off the bastards by fair means. Many people suggested that we should use the plastic material body of our Zipflbob and fill it with oxygen – using the Zipf as a breathing tube – but this is just really not our idea of moutaineering.”

Zipflbob First Descent

More images from the expedition can be found on the outdooractive news page and a video is also announced to be available on outdooractive in the next few days.

Asked about future plans, Pavlek said that he wanted to cross the European Alps on a special Zipflbob Transalp route. “Many people do a Transalp by foot, with skies or with a mountainbike, but I think that the most exciting experience will be to do this with a Zipflbob – as far as I know, no one has done this before and I like to explore new ways of doing things.”

News media are still waiting for feedback and opinions about this remarkable achievment from Reinhold Messner, Hans Kammerlander, Ueli Steck and the Huber Buam. All of them can be considered pioneers and legends in mountain climbing and each of them introduced a new distinct style and spirit. Now, Pavlek Levpist will join this heroic list.

Zipflknight – It’s all about Contrast

Sonntag, Februar 1st, 2009

Today, I am happy to introduce another new member of our growing Zipflbob family. We haven’t really found a new name for him yet. “Zipflellie” is up for the vote, but since he’s a boy, that may only make his life harder than necessary. Although the guys from Freakonomics have some interesting theories, which put all this naming philosophy into a new perspective. Anyway – “Dark Knight” was what first came to my mind when I found him in the woods. And it would only be logical to call him Zipflknight then. His new friends have already given him a nickname – They lovingly call him “Darth”. So while we are looking after the new fellow, he is actually not gonna stay with us for too much longer – his new family has been waiting for him for a while now, and I’m sure they are very much looking forward to meeting him soon – to take him out for some adventures themselves.

Zipflbob - The Dark Knight

The World’s most famous upcoming Zipflbob Race

Montag, Januar 26th, 2009

You may not think this will happen, but secret market research already indicates that by 2012, Zipflbobs sales will tip and by 2023, exceed the number of skis and snowboards sold worldwide. Reason enough for us to do some early research ourselves and explore the racing track of the Zipflbob Word Championships in 2025.

We thought it would be a good idea to inspect the whole race track, so we had an early start and climbed steadily towards the crux of the upcoming Zipflbob run.

Ski Tour Ascent

When we got to the “Mausefalle”, which translates to mouse trap in English, there were already a large number of spectators and officials, preparing for the race. The “Mausefalle” is the crux of the course, as you take off for a long jump into a near vertical wall (slightly exaggerated) slope.

Mausefalle

Anyway, about half an hour later, the race started and we watched closely, trying to identify the most optimal line racers chose on the course, just ahead of the “Mausefalle”. If you want to stand any chance of winning, it is crucial to reach speeds of 100 km/h and more, before you take off. At the present time, the “Mausefalle” jump it is yet too dangerous for Zipflbob riders as materials are not designed to tolerate the impact forces when landing. However, technology is moving fast and by 2016, the leading Zipflbob engineers are expected to have developed suspension technologies, which will reduce the landing impact and make it possible to do jumps of 50-70 m, without loosing control and any parts of your body.

Herminator

One of the best lines was chosen by the “Herminator” – a legend in ski racing and an idol for many Zipflbob racing pioneers as well.

Spectators

We were a bit disappointed that there were only few people watching the race. This is very different to Zipflbob races, where access roads to the Alps have to be closed 2 days before every race, as millions of spectators from all parts of the Worlds are heading for the slopes. Still, – in summary, we were satisfied with what we discovered. The course is tough enough for the Zipflbob World Championships, and we are very much looking forward to 2025.

Zipflbob, Zipfljo and our new family member Zipflmax

Sonntag, Januar 18th, 2009

Today we took our new family member, Zipflmax, out in the snow for the first time. Of course, he was already very excited when we got into the car, fastened the seat belts and started our drive to the big mountains. Zipflmax had heard about the big mountains a lot before, but this was the first time, he would actually go and see them for real.

Zipflbob Driving Home

After we got out of the car, Zipflbob, Zipfljo and Zipflmax lined up for their first family walk ever – they enjoyed the fresh air, the snow and the exercise outdoors.

Zipflbob Hiking

Zipflmax was happy to come first and he followed the track without once asking how far it still was until the final destination. Good boy! We’ll take you out again.

Zipflbob Day Out

Happy New Year Zipflbob!

Montag, Januar 5th, 2009

Zipflbob 2009

Zipflbob Post Season Trip

Sonntag, April 13th, 2008

This is a secret tip for all Zipflbob enthusiasts out there. The winter season is ending. Most ski resorts have already closed, or are about to close. Why? Probably because the snow is melting, it has been a long season and everybody needs a break, or because people are now getting onto their mountain bikes instead of their skis and snowboards. Now here comes the hint: While the meadows are already green in the valleys and up to about 1200m, there is still compressed snow on the runs, which lasts a little bit longer. As long as you stay away from the grassy bits and try to not destroy the recovering ground, you can still enjoy Zipflbob rides for a little longer. And the best of all – you are almost by yourself as hardly anyone is keen enough to walk up instead of taking the gondola when it is not running.

So before Zipflbob and Zipfljo go hibernating in the basement over summer, they wanted to head for the slopes once again. So here we go. Zipflbob takes the big backpack with all the good food, drinks and the warm and waterproof cloths for the downhill ride. Waterproof turned out to be a bit of a joke, but more about that later… Zipflbob Backpack

Since it snowed just a few days ago, walking up was tough. But you really turn into explorer mode when you set your feet in fresh snow and go where nobody has gone before (well, not since the last snowfall at least).

Zipflbob Climb

Once you get up, you enjoy the view – green valley, snow covered mountains. You drink some tea, chop some food and then you get dressed up and ready for Zipflbobbing. Here come the tactics: Figure out who has less weight. Let that person go first. Why? Because it will be much easier for a light person to go through 10-20cm of “fresh” wet snow than it is for a heavier person. That way, the first Zipflbobber already leaves a nice track that the second one can follow at an incredible speed.

Zipflbob Deep Snow Tracks

Next tip: You do not want to go down where it is too flat. It does not need to be super-steep (beware of avalanches and do not take any risks!!!) , but you don’t want it to be flat when the snow is deep and wet. The one, who is leading has to navigate. Tough job. Tip for the one following. Be prepared to break when the Zipflbobber in the lead needs to break. Or perform a super-crazy stunt to get around them or over them. The latter one is for experts only!

Zipflbob Deep Snow Downhill

When you increase speed on a steeper slope and you get into more flat terrain, Zipflbob turns into a snow mower. I forgot to mention that you should really really wear some proper goggles. Dramatically increases fun, vision and face temperature.

Zipflbob Snow Mower

Now if you follow these instructions and you watch out that you can break at any time, for instance if deer crosses the slopes or you get to some red lights, you should be alright – Park Zipflbob and Zipfljo at the end of your run and let them dry. I cannot over-emphasise drying. I have yet to find waterproof clothing which actually stays waterproof. Believe it or not. I had the equivalent amount of snow of 2 snow balls in the inner pocket of my jacket. Don’t ask me how it got there!

Zipflbob End of Track

May have been the last Zipflbob trip this season. I need to work out how to make Zipflbobs work in summer. I’ve got the wheels figured out, but the brakes are still a bit of a problem. I am pretty sure you need them, but I have no idea how that would work. So all you engineers out there who think you’ve got the idea to make this work, get in touch!

Zipflbob Riding for Kiwis 101

Donnerstag, März 20th, 2008

Glad to welcome Aaron, a friend who came for a short visit from Aotearoa.

Two years ago, I did some experiments with Christian and Rob, another Kiwi who came over from New Zealand for a visit. Back then, we thought that proper winter pants were fully overrated. We also thought that a rubbish bag is good enough for getting down a mountain. I guess this is still true, but if you do have a Zipflbob, why would you want to torture yourself? Kudos to Rob though – true explorer spirit riding a rubbish bag down a world cup run in shorts!

Rubbish bag Riding

Anyway – today, two years down the track, we have learnt our lessons and wanted to pass on our experience. We got Aaron dressed up and introduced him to Zipflbob. They immediately made friends with each other and Zipflbob promised he’d give everything on the descent.

Zipflbob, Zipflbob god and Aaron make friends

But first, it was time do some climbing. Inspired by the Kiwi experience, Zipflbob made his way through the fresh and deep snow.

Zipflbob tracks

This is when you feel like a true explorer.

Make your own track

Zipflbob on untrodden ground.

Zipflbob Explorer

You have to admit, Aaron does look a bit like Jack Nicholson preparing for a Zipflbob ride.

Zipflbob Jack

Lift your feet and lean backwards to increase speed. Press you feet into the snow and pull the Zipflbob back to break and get your face covered in snow.

Zipflbob Riding Technique

I reckon there is some business case potential in developing little solar powered goggle wipers.

After breaking

Big Day Out for Zipflbob and Zipfljo

Sonntag, März 9th, 2008

After we already had spring temperatures up to 19 degrees C last weekend, winter thought this really is pathetic and decided to come back for some extra time. It was snowing pretty hard for about 2 days – then we got a bloody cold night with temperatures around -15 degrees C. When I got up the next day and drove to work, the landscape just looked fantastic. All trees were coated with ice crystals, the sun was shining and the sky put on the best blue in stock.

Morning after snowfall

Now there was something really interesting I discovered on that day as well. I had taken a banana to work the day before, but had forgotten it was still in the car. Trust me, the banana was yellow. Not green, not brown – it was yellow. However, during that freezing night, an interesting metamorphosis must have been happening. The banana turned dark brown – or to be honest, it almost turned pitch-black. It looked pretty much like the bananas you get when you wrap them in aluminium foil and chuck them into the fire for a while to enjoy them with vanilla ice cream and honey afterwards.

Frozen banana

On the weekend, we took Zipflbob and his girlfriend, Zipfljo, out for some winter hiking. We thought it would be a good day to show them the Zipfbob god monuments. They are really famous, but Zipflbob had never seen them before.

Zipflbob god monument

We continued our walk and came past a huge caterpillar, which was parked next to the track.

Caterpillar

Zipflbob got very excited and in the 5 seconds when we didn’t pay attention, Zipflbob was already on his way.

Zipflbob Caterpillar

Luckily, there were no keys left, so we got him off the drivers seat before he could do anything stupid. A little further on our way, we discovered some snow-capped conglomerate rocks, which are called Nagelfluh. We explained to Zipflbob that these rocks were formed long before he was born. I think he was very impressed when he heard that a nature reserve called “Naturpark Nagelfluh” would be created soon.

Nagelfluh rocks covered in snow

After about an hour and a half, we got to the top and Zipflbob took in the view.

Zipflbob summit photograph

He loves the mountains and he was happy to come up here and enjoy the 360 panorama with his girfriend, Zipfljo.

Zipflbob and Zipfljo

They moved close together and Zipflbob told Zipfljo that he loved her and wanted to be with her for his whole life. He said that he wanted to have many many Zipflbob kids with her and then also take them up here. They kissed and then prepared for the downhill ride home.

Zipflbob downhill action

The runs were in top condition and since there were few people on the slopes, we allowed Zipflbob and Zipfljo to go full speed. It was heaps of fun and some of the best Zipflbob riding we’ve done this winter. Zipflbob, Zipfljo – YOU ROCK!

Trip to Zipfelbob’s home

Sonntag, Februar 24th, 2008

I wrote about how spring is driving away winter really early this year. Well, we thought we should do a trip to Zipfelbob’s home. May quite well be the last chance for some Zipflbob action this season. Since I presented the flower shot yesterday, here is another proof for global warming – end of February and we’ve got the butterflies coming out. Hope the little bugger will find some of those flowers we saw yesterday, otherwise he’ll have a hard time waiting for the nectar to become available.

Butterfly

The slopes that are more exposed to direct sunlight loose snow earlier. So while there is still a fair bit of snow on the slopes that get only a few hours of sunlight during the day, you can pretty much walk on browns grass on the sunny slopes already.

Sunny and shady

And here we are – this place is called “Zipfelsalpe” and it is where Zipflbob was born. Seriously this is where Zipflbob grew up and went to Zipflbob school. He also met his first Zipflbob girlfriend here, before he decided to look for a dignified rider, leave home and see the big world to enjoy the real adventures.

Zipfelalpe

He used to play on the roof – he actually still enjoys doing that.

Zipflbob’s home

Too bad we didn’t have much more time to take Zipflbob out on the home slopes for some spring riding. I’m sure he really appreciated the trip though!

Zipflbob spring riding