STRT Jam | Ethan Morgan throws the event of the century

Innsbruck did not know what hit it when the best riders from around the globe took to the streets of the European snowboard capital

Trying to put into words how you feel getting back to an empty home after spending the last three days having possibly the best time of your life is hard. It’s a feeling of emptiness yet joy, as I think back about all that went down at last weekend’s STRT Jam in Innsbruck. We saw everything from naked male genitalia and mad tricks, to flaming rails and afterparties that never ended.

“We saw everything from naked male genitalia and mad tricks, to flaming rails and afterparties that never ended”

Big up to Ethan Morgan, who pulled off possibly one of the best snowboard events of all time – and this is exactly why we want to hear how it all came together.

After only one day of recovery, I met up with a surprisingly fresh-looking Ethan over the best Falafel in Innsbruck. With a voice that had clearly suffered from a generous amount of quality conversations throughout the weekend, it was time to find out how the man behind the event was feeling now that it was all over.

Jake Simpson. Photo: Stella Pentti.

“I’ve got mixed feelings”, Ethan begins. “I’m feeling good and very bad at the same time. Really destroyed but so happy that we were able to pull this off in the end. Best weekend of my life.”

The idea kicked off one year ago when Ethan met up with Thomas Bauman from Monster Energy and after a “few” beers the boys had it all figured out. With the snowboard industry taking an almost two-year break from events, it was time for someone to take the risk and start planning something huge. “With Covid, everything is obviously a bit messed up but we just thought we can’t do anything about it, we just have to go for it and worst case we’ll have to cancel it.” Luckily for everyone, that wasn’t the case and it all worked out in the end.

Zeb Powell. Photo: Stella Pentti.

But this isn’t Ethan’s first time putting together an event. A few years back he started doing DIYX at smaller scales and now it was time to do it bigger and better, “We thought about doing a rail jam, like a scaffolding rail jam but with the idea of making it DIY so that the riders would build up the sets themselves and from there came the idea of taking it into the streets.” Ethan explains that the idea was to have the riders help set up the spots together with the volunteers, thus making the spots more personalised.

“Big up to Ethan Morgan, who pulled off possibly one of the best snowboard events of all time”

Can we expect this to happen again? Hell yes. “This was only a pilot. We want to try and keep it as core as possible and not make it commercial, but potentially add a few days to the event, make it a bit longer, like a week…” Ethan pauses as he realises that a week might be a bit too ambitious considering how both of us are feeling right now after only three days… “Okey, riding street spots and partying for seven days in a row is probably a bit too much…”

Third spot. Photo: Stella Pentti.

Known as the snowboarding capital of Europe, there hasn’t been much going on in Innsbruck since Air & Style. “It was cool to see how this group of people got together again, mixing street snowboarding with contest kids. I mean, it really got snowboarding back together,” Ethan hypes up the good vibes at the event.

Shovels and hugs. Joe Simpson and Kasper de. Zoete. Photo: Stella Pentti.

Ethan and the rest of the crew also managed to keep the three spots secret just to create some additional buzz around the whole thing. “By keeping it secret we kind of aimed to not make it too much into a public/commercial event, which in my opinion made the atmosphere so much better.” This event wasn’t about having the next big musical act playing beats just to get social coverage and have people attend only because of the music, this event was purely snowboard focused. “I wanted people to come because of snowboarding. By keeping it secret we avoided everything going through social media too and instead brought it back to the old school vibe: If you know, you know. If you don’t, you don’t.”

“Best weekend of my life”

The beauty of a DIY event is to get everyone involved. “Everyone can pick up a shovel, everybody can be there to help out. So many kids showed up early and picked up a shovel just because they wanted to be part of it. And that’s what it’s all about. Bringing everyone together, having a great time,” Ethan says with a smile on his face.

For Ethan, it all started when he realised how everyone in Innsbruck was taking the situation for granted. He explains, ”People are taking this shit for granted these days, like when it comes to building parks and shit. I remember when I used to go into my backyard with some friends and shovels and we built a drop-in in the snow for four days because we had no idea how to use a shovel.

Flo Corzelius. Photo: Stella Pentti.

There is this spot in Innsbruck that me and my friends used to go to, with everyone understanding the situation and making an effort to reshape things. I didn’t end up going back to the spot for a few weeks and when I did the place was pure ice, everything was completely tracked out and there was only one person with an avalanche shovel. So, we took the rails out because this is not how it works.”

This is what inspired Ethan to start throwing his own DIYX events, to get people together and teach them how to use a shovel, to inspire them to be creative and teach them what snowboarding should be about. But, unfortunately, many resorts do not allow the riders to put their own shovels to use to help shape the parks.

Ethan Morgan rocking up at the second day of the event after a heavy night. Photo: Stella Pentti.

During the two full days of riding, we saw the riders hit three different spots. And when it came to choosing these spots, Ethan had a good crew of people help him out. “The double kink was quite obvious. It’s an iconic spot for Innsbruck. And as for the downrail, I got told about that by a friend of mine who works for Tivoli [the place where the first two spots were].”

“I mean in those five minutes people knew, shit, this is what this is about”

As for the third spot, it was completely different from what we’ve seen before. “The guys from Distillery told me about it. There’s been a few raves going on beneath that same bridge and people told me there were some cool spots there.” Unfortunately, Ethan ended up being too hungover himself to strap in that day, so we’ll just have to wait until next year to see the host himself ride that spot.

Sparrow Knox. Photo: Stella Pentti.

But Ethan wasn’t the only one who sent it on the dancefloor during the event, as most of the riders could be spotted at the afterparties – or after-afterparties – and still rock up at the spots the following day. “I love the fact that I went out Friday night and almost all the riders were out until whenever and still ride the next day. And even if they didn’t ride it was still dope because they were there, they were part of the whole thing because they were partying with all of us.”

Joe Simpson droppin in. Photo: Stella Pentti.

But the extreme moves weren’t just limited to the dancefloor. We saw Zeb Powell shooting full speed through the tiniest V-gap (“threading the needle”), Alex Stewart riding up the spots on his motorbike and Joe Simpson climbing up and riding down a pole that must have been at least 10m high.

“It gives me the chills to remember that exact moment”

“That was when shit actually kicked off. It was insane. I mean in those five minutes people knew, shit, this is what this is about. It gives me the chills to remember that exact moment. And then we had Len’s back 360 which was amazing to see. He didn’t do any other tricks besides that one that day and then on the last run of the whole event, he nails it.”

Time to light the rail on fire. Photo: Stella Pentti.

And, to top things off, we also saw the guys pouring petrol over the rails, because what’s more extreme than riding down a rail on fire. “That was Thomas Bauman’s dream, he needed the fire to happen. And then having Zeb [Powell] going front lip through the double kink with a fire stick in his hand… He told me it was dripping on his face while he was on the rail.”

Ethan’s hype when he thinks back at some of the key moments of the event is catching on, and we can’t help but smile when thinking what next year will bring.

“Big shoutout to EVERYONE who made the event awesome”, Ethan ends the interview with and all of a sudden the post-event tiredness feels like long gone.

A big shout out to both Monster Energy and Method Magazine too for helping to make it all happen!

Zeb Powell. Photo: Stella Pentti.

We also caught up with some of the riders from the event. Here’s a few one-liners, of which some make more sense than others, they gave us when asked how they’d sum it all up:

“His dick was out before his shirt was off.”Fridge (referring to the fastest undressing we’ve ever seen on the first night of the event)

“All in all, it was exactly what we all needed after this long time without seeing each other – a rad get together without any contest pressure, just pure energy and urban culture.”Flo Corzelius

“This is the start of something really huge. A place where snowboarders, media and homies from all different backgrounds come together to create madness and thrive in each other’s creativity! I guess it’s been one of the best weekends of my life, I even proposed to my girlfriend during the event.”Alex Stewart

Alex Stewart and his motorbike. Photo: Stella Pentti.

“Beautiful carnage with infectious energy to shred and have a good time no matter the age.”Zeb Powell

“DIYX felt more like party & bullshit than podium & coaches.”Simon Pircher

“STRT Jam was probably the best event I’ve ever been to. Snowboarding needs something like Copenhagen in skating. Thank you Ethan Morgan that you are the one who made this real.”Dusan Kriz

“We blaze zoots, ciggies and rollies, look out for the yoots and the OG’s.”Sparrow Knox (unknown context)

“It is hard to sum up in to words what just happened these last few days so I will just give you a ten second period of the first session: I was standing there under a football stadium watching my brother monkey climb his way up one of the pillars to jump off it, all the while Alex has just got his motor bike out to winch people off stuff and was driving up the steps nearly bailing but holding on for dear life. At that point I told myself there is nowhere else I would rather be. Thank you to Ethan Morgan you are a true pioneer of our sport – also more like a mad scientist! big love to Ethan!”Jake Simpson

“3 party’s over 2 days of riding the gnarliest spot with the gnarliest riders, what could possibly go wrong?”Joe Simpson

Davide Boggio. Photo: Stella Pentti.
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