“Schralp”, a combination of antiquated words like “shred” and “radical” used by German snowboarders and surfers, refers to the sound the boards make when they skim over snow or water. On October 13, 2005, founder Chrisian “Mee-Z” Miessner posted the first episode of Schralp!, a video newscast about snowboarding in German. Miessner had been at the height of Europe’s foray into new media in the ‘90s, working for Europe’s first internet service provider in 1995 and serving as production manager for Microsoft’s German portal in 1997. In January 2006, he teamed up with Blank Paper Studio to bring more sophisticated footage to Schralp!. The site had already boasted 20,000 visitors per episode when it was in German, but it became a legitimate phenomenon when the first full English-speaking episode aired the month after Blank Paper Studio signed on. In fact, it became so popular that Miessner began Schralp Surf! to similar acclaim in April 2006.
Episodes always last less than five minutes, containing segments like interviews, snowboarding filmmaking (like Lamaproductions), competition results, and montages of long runs, huge jumps, and painful falls. Everyone gets equal attention here, from big snowboarding names like Shaun White, to the international and the lesser known. And while most footage is set in European peaks, events like the U.S. Open and the Red Bull GAP Sessions get covered as well. During the winter, episodes are posted weekly, though they move to biweekly during summer, when the sport goes into off-season. There are several signature clips within each episode, including the Tiptrick, in which a pro demonstrates a cool move, and the post-credits 2-second clip, which is often very funny. There are lots of technical terms used in the podcast, making it geared more toward enthusiasts than the average viewer. Another interesting touch is the reporting on equipment sellers like Goodstuff, which is similar to coverage of brands like Nike and Supreme in American sneaker culture. Those unfamiliar with German may want to start viewing at Episode 16, though the previous episodes are visually stunning.
To someone who’s never snowboarded, three seconds of airtime doesn’t seem like much, but it’s quite a feat. There’s something ridiculously impressive about seeing these kids fly through the air while rotating over a thousand degrees and managing to land on their feet!