header photo for the article, YGFRST crew on Vitosha, pic_Vid Baric, illustration_RIna Barbaric

Yougofirst in Bulgaria – Interview

In the end of January the international crew of Yogofirst visited Bulgaria for the Red Bull Fragments event at Borovets. They swiftly made their way up to the winner’s podium, securing two medals and grabbing a special prize. David Struber and Matic Zavodnik got second and third place respectively and Žiga Rakovec won the Best trick prize.

header photo for the article, YGFRST crew on Vitosha, pic_Vid Baric, illustration_RIna Barbaric

Here is a short video from the night session on the slopes of Borovets with the special appearance of Lozyo Dimitrov.

After the event, the guys shredded on Vitosha mountain, where they shot for their video project. Their guide on Vitosha was Nikola Plukov, who was also their special host.

After the end of their trip, we asked the crew a few questions about their impressions from Bulgaria and also about their latest movie Heterotopia, which we featured at the end of last year. We got answers from Vid Baric, Philipp Ramppel, Georg Ischepp, Žiga Rakovec and Matic Zavodnik. They told us about the broken streets of Sofia and our amazing local food. They also shared with us some analog photos shot by Vid Baric and Matic Zavodnik.

landing in Sofia, pic_Vid Baric
Landing in Sofia

First, we want you to introduce yourselves – Onboard introduced you as Slovenians and Transworld – as Croatians. From where are you actually and how many people are there in the crew?

Vid Baric: ctually we’re a pretty mixed crew – I am the only Croatian around, but we have bunch of people from Slovenia and Austria. Basically we’re all friends that met up while riding on Dachstein in Austria. It’s hard to say how much people are there in the crew.

In filming we are now focusing more on few Nitro riders since they’re sponsoring our full film project but I would say YGFRST collective is a lot more then this – it’s all of the friends that we get to ride or film with and of course graphic designers and illustrators we’re collaborating with on different stuff we do.

How was your trip to Bulgaria?

Vid Baric: It was so good! Like always when travelling with Yougofirst people everything went really smooth. Things can sometimes get stressy when you’re out there filming but with these folks it always feels more like a vacation and that’s exactly what I like. During our stay in Bulgaria we had really nice time driving around exploring the country and everything it has to offer.

Niko was our guide and host and he really, really helped us a lot. He showed us spots to ride around and organised for us sleeping at his apartment, winch, rent-a-van, airport rides… Literally everything. I think he really did represent the Bulgarian hospitality that we heard lots about and made us went home with smiles on our faces and good times in our memories.

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“At home” at Niko’s place

I think the highlight of the whole trip was night riding at Borovets resort. We spent 2 hours having fun on the piste, riding side hits all together and keeping the shred alive. It was that kind of the evening you would repeat every day if you could.

Georg Ischepp, night riding at Borovets, pic_Vid Baric

Georg ischepp, night riding in Borovets, pic_Vid Baric, illustration_Rina Barbaric

Philipp Ramppel: It was a great experience and a really fun week. For me, it was the first time traveling to an eastern Europe country and the fact that we went snowboarding there made it even more exciting. We rented a very old van and started the trip with a sketchy ride to Borovets to join the Red Bull Fragments event.

drove around in this van for a week, pic_Vid Baric

We had two fun days shredding the setup, hanging out and getting ripped off by Bulgarian restaurants. After that we drove back to Sofia and we finally started filming at the local mountain Vitosha and eat at the right places with the sickest local food. We found some really cool places to film and ride. Too bad the snow was only around Vitosha so we had to drive up the most fucked up street of Sofia with our old van every day. Fortunately listening to Trap-music and enjoying the wonderful landscape kept us hyped enough to go up there day after day.

Klaus, Matic and Scheps getting some lev$
Klaus, Matic and Georg getting some money for the restaurants

Scheps and Phillip at Borovets, pic_Vid Baric
Georg Ischepp и Phillip Rampel meditating in Borovets

Davo and Matic in Borovets, pic_Vid Baric, illustration_Rina Barbaric
The street stalls in Borovets are scary enough at day, but even scarier at night.

How did the Red Bull Fragments go?

Žiga Rakovec: The Red Bull Fragments event was one of the coolest I have ever been to. A big up goes to the course creators. They managed to build a setup which offered creative lines, gaps, wallride and more. I definitely want to come back next year because it was so fun to ride.

Matic getting his burger after Fragments contest in Borovets. pic_Vid Baric
Matic Zavodnik treats himself after the event.

Where else did you ride?

Georg Ischepp:: After Borovets we went straight to Vitosha mountain and filmed some cool and creative stuff there. We came back there couple of times more because of the variety of cool spots to film and the solid situation with snow there. We found a very good restaurant with typical Bulgarian food right next to one of the spots so we basically went filming every day and after that straight to that place to eat some delicious homemade food!

Vitosha mtn.1, pic_Vid Baric

Ziga Rakovec at the spot in Vitosha, pic_Vid Baric

Ziga, Klaus, Matic and Scheps at the spot in Vitosha

After we’ve finished with one side of Vitosha we went to the other side of the mountain where Niko showed us some other potential spots, some new rails that were just built a few weeks ago so we were the first ones to ride them. All in all it worked out pretty good for us throughout the whole trip. We had amazing luck to have such a nice guy as Niko to guide us around and help us with everything.

:Let’s talk about your movie Heterotopia. With that project you’ve made something unusual for a snowboard movie. From where came the idea about those psychedelic illustrations?

Matic Zavodnik: From editors point of view, making cuts in the same concept all the time becomes really boring very fast. In order to break that, the first change we decided to do was to not make riders parts, which immediately opened many options when it comes to the editing. The second thing that played a major role in the edit was the decision to shoot with more cameras, get more perspectives, capture more vibe, feelings and moods at the locations. 

Matic and Klaus checking in the hotel at Vitosha, pic_Vid Baric

Once we decided that we are gonna stick with that, we didn’t plan much more, but let the things happen naturally. When we had time, we went where the snow was at that moment and had a good time boarding. When we got some of our first shots, I went straight to editing it in order to get a little bit of feeling of how the edit could look like. Even though the final cut looked much different that my first cuts, editing while filming played a big role to the whole thing because it gave me enough time to rethink the stuff, I let it for a while and return to it again when felt inspired. 

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I put a lot of weight on synchronising the music to the video so I spent a lot of time on that also. In the meantime, I was always thinking a little bit about combining the video with illustrations. Rina was the first one on my mind at that point, not only because I like her work as an illustrator, but also because we have a very similar taste in music. The tunes in the film are narrating the whole vibe through the sections and it was not hard for Rina to relate to it and enrich the vibe with the fictional world of her great illustrations. 

Does Rina ride and is she a part of the crew?

Matic Zavodnik: Yes, she does, but we haven’t snowboarding together yet. We said we have to make it happen this season and I really hope we do. And yes, of course she is one of us!

Matic at the spot on Vitosha mtn., pic_Vid Baric, illustration_Rina Barbaric
Matic checks the spot together with Rina’s illustrations.

What’s the story behind the name Heterotopia? Does someone of you read Focault?

Vid Baric: I somehow connected Foucault’s concept of heterotopia with street snowboarding and riding “accidental playgrounds”, different arhitectural sites which were never intended for that kind of use, during my times at Cultural studies from which I recently graduated. There we got to deal with a few authors discussing anthropology of space, spatial theory and all this weird stuff. This certainly included some of Foucault’s work on “spaces of otherness” as well as the work of some other authors such as Henri Lefebvre or Edward Soja who were writing about what they called “third space”, a space that is both real and imagined, in a quite similar way. I think these theories perfectly meet street snowboarding at one point. I always thought that this title for our film was a great choice because it kind of represents what we do and, more important, it sounds and looks damn good.

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Which are all the places where you have ride in Eastern Europe and which one is your
favourite?

Žiga Rakovec: I have been riding in Sarajevo, Belgrade, Erzurum (Turkey), Krynica (Poland) and Sofia. It seems like all these cities come to life when you snowboard in them so its really hard to decide on my favourite.

At the end say something to all of the Bulgarian riders out there.

Vid Baric: I want to give shout out to all the Bulgarian riders out there, especially to friends I got to know years back such as Niko, Mario, Lozyo, Kiko and all the other dudes that are doing great job in pushing the Bulgarian snowboarding scene. It’s great to see them working hard in building parks and organising events because this is the most important thing to keep snowboarding alive in Bulgaria and to amplify your scene. I’ve seen a lot of hyped kids at the Borovets event and I’m looking forward to see them killing it in a few years from now. With those Jedi Masters I mentioned before young padowans have nothing to worry about. See you around folks, and remember, shredding is the answer.

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crew at the spot in Vitosha, pic_Vid Baric

Georg Ischepp - Scheps chilling in Borovets, pic_Vid Baric
Georg Ischepp says “thank you for reading this”

You can check what the crew is up to on their Facebook page, on Vimeo, and also on their Tumblr page.