PRESS RELEASE: MTB-Festival Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis
In a few weeks time, Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis will be taken over by hundreds of mountain bike rookies, ready for a full week of shred during the MTB-Festival Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis in Austria from July 30 to August 5. One of them will be 14-year-old mountain bike prodigy Jackson Goldstone, who will be returning with his dad Ron to improve his skills during the “Rookie Camp”, race during the “Kona Rookie Games” and most importantly have loads of fun with the other kids from all over the world.
We all know that Jackson Goldstone is able to ride at a level many of us dream of reaching at some point. However, we also sometimes forget that kids continuously have to adapt to bigger bikes and longer limbs. This can be a challenge at times, no matter how well they can ride. Jackson Goldstone is in the midst of transitioning to a bigger bike and admits that it is a challenge: “I’m riding a 24” Dirt Jumper now, which has a different feel. I’m trying to get all tricks back comfortably on the bigger bike. It feels better, but will take a bit of getting used to.” Learning to handle bigger bikes and at the same time improving is a continuous process. Regardless of their personal riding level, switching bikes does require training and hard work to get tricks and techniques dialed again. Camps with experienced coaches and riding together with other kids support the learning process and development.
Jackson and Ron Goldstone made their way to the Tyrolean Alps for the first time last summer for the “Day out with Dad” video shoot and to race against other fast kids from all over the world. This year, the 14-year-old returns with his dad to participate in the Rookie Camp starting July 30 and “Kona Rookie Games” from August 2-5, involving a pump track session and two downhill races. Jackson is already looking forward to the start of the week and meeting new faces again: “It’s just fun. You get to see the other riders and do cool things with them. There is a lot going on outside of riding as well, like BBQs and riding the mountain coaster. I’m looking forward to that too”, he explains and carries on, ”The scariest part of the whole trip last year was standing up and introducing myself to all these kids. I don’t speak German so I felt really silly. It was cool though, we all laughed at my attempt.”
During the Rookie Camp about 30 kids will be accompanied by a number of experienced coaches and the crew will not only be teaching the kids about riding techniques and the right line choices but also provide insight on the mental side of the game, strength and conditioning and media training. “I think that riding with other kids is awesome. You see someone do something and just want to try yourself. It’s good to have coaches there to point out lines, or skills, but group riding is always the best. I am looking to improve my line choice, especially in corners. Last year we walked with Si Paton and his point was you can gain .5 of a second on a jump, but there’s only a couple. If you gain .1-.2 on every corner it adds up to a better time,” Jackson explains.
All the young rippers heading to Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis this year will have a great opportunity to make new friends, improve their skills on the bike and line choices on the trails of the bike region; something Ron also appreciates and is looking forward to: “Obviously the “Rookie Camp” gives them an opportunity to meet other kids and share experiences over a longer term. For us, Jackson learned a lot about geography and also how to communicate without being able to speak the language. He had a chance to meet people from other countries, who share the love for biking and have a lot in common. I hope that this will lead to long-term friendships. The race part has different benefits, you learn about how you rank against other strong riders and how you need to improve to get faster. We live in a place where there is a TON of fast kids, so we wanted to see if Jackson was able to hang with kids from other places. He did last time, but I noticed the approach to racing is a lot different and more structured and serious in Europe. I saw a good mix of seriousness and fun.”
From Thursday onwards the camp kids will be joined by hundreds of other racers. Last year over 200 kids made their way to race in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis. Preparation is key for the downhill races on the weekend. Track walks and training on the gnarly 1,480 meter/ 4,855 feet-long Downhill track are on the schedule. “The racing was really cool. The different languages fascinated me. You heard so many different people talking and had no idea what they are saying! I rode as much as I could with Ike Klaassen from South Africa, Nuno Zuzarte Reis from Portugal and the Kiefer brothers from Germany. I think Ike and I got along best because we both spoke English. Nuno and I had similar start times so we hung out a bit too. I’m hoping to meet up with Ike in Europe before the camp.”
The region’s focus on family riding and kids biking shines stronger than ever at this event. A trait Ron is really impressed by: “The coolest thing about Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is that there aren’t really any “pro” riders, it’s all about the kids. That’s really unique from most of the festivals like Crankworx or Sea Otter where the kids get a chance to see the more famous riders and get pictures or whatever. They do a remarkable job of making the kids feel like they are the “pros” and try to give them the same experience. Live webcasts, good timing system, difficult track and an international field all lead to that World Cup feel. I admit I was skeptical about the “iXS International Rookies Championship“ title beforehand, but after what I saw last year, I would say it’s legit.”
Even though racing and being competitive is a key part to the week, it doesn’t substitute having fun. The “Pumptrack Fun Session” on Thursday evening, the “Family Challenge”, where the grown-ups can team up with their kids and ride the same Downhill track the kids will be racing and a Slopestyle show help lighten the mood and gives the kids space to just enjoy the time in the Bikepark, without having to think to hard about times and trophies. After all, the real value lies within progressing and making new friends. “It’s better for everyone, if there are good riders to learn from and ride with. Some sections Jackson can teach kids on and other sections he can learn from other kids,” Ron adds, ”I’m lucky that Jackson has found a passion early in life, can set his own goals and knows what is important. I know that one big reason why Jackson is popular is because of his personality. He’s fun to be around and genuinely loves riding his bike. That’s going to take him further in life than a trophy for winning a race.”
Registration and information: www.bike-sfl.at/en/bikepark/mtb-festival2018/general-infos
The timetable for the „Kona Rookie Games“: www.bike-sfl.at/en/bikepark/mtb-festival2018/timetable
Further information about biking in Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis is available on www.bike-sfl.at
Photos by Felix Pirker