Flip the Gates

Flip the Gates - Aleck
If you’ve been following Aleck’s socials over the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen some clips, or hopefully the full video, of David Meier’s “Flip the Gates.” While Aleck is one of the sponsors of the video, we are closer to the project than many might think. Hi, I’m Felix Powondra, one of David’s childhood friends, a cameraman on the Flip the Gates, and one of Aleck’s marketing staff.

David and I grew up in western Austria. Living there, the chances are pretty high that you‘ll start skiing by the age of 2 and race your first race by the age of 3. From that early age on, hitting slalom gates in the winter is as common, if not more common, than taking swim lessons in the summer. Naturally, we were among that group of kids who grew up entrenched in this Austrian ski culture. I switched to snowboarding at 12, but David stuck to skiing. His gymnastics activity in the summer helped, and perhaps inspired, his ability to throw some crazy tricks on the snow. But it wasn’t always that way.

David and I attended boarding school together, and we quickly became good friends despite our one year age gap. David was always one of the kids who got along with all students, and his kindness made my first weeks away from home feel easy. We bonded over a love for powder, doing tricks, and spending every spare moment in snowparks or off-piste. What really connected David and I though, was our passion for film-making; always down to capture and edit small projects in our freetime.

He was always quite torn between racing and the freestyle scene. He envied Tanner Hall, a prolific freestyle skier, rather than Marcel Hirscher, a professional Austrian alpine ski racer. David had massive talent in ski racing, but the big air kept beckoning. Soon after finishing school, he found mountain biking, which tantalized his dare-devil tendencies. It didn’t take long for David’s focus to shift - no pun intended - to mountain biking in summer and backcountry skiing in winter, with big airtime at the forefront. His gymnastics roots began to pay off. I was quite sure, at that point, that Aleck would need an athlete like David. I helped score David his first proper sponsorship with Aleck, and he’s been stoked to be a part of team ever since. The company is stoked as well, because David’s talent ceiling is seemingly out of sight, making his career a joy to be a part of.

Enter, “Flip the Gates.” David had this project in mind for some time, seeing it as the perfect blend of his racing and freestyle abilities. He approached me in the fall of 2022 with a plan mapping out this insane plan for the upcoming spring. All we needed to take care of was the budget.

After making numerous calls and formalizing the project pitch, David managed to get a few sponsors for the video: HEAD Ski, VoÜs, Aleck, of course, and Bergbahnen Gargellen, which is where the project took place. With sponsors, a venue, and filmers, including me, on deck, “Flip the Gates” started to take shape.
All of his friends helped for three days straight leading up to the shoot, digging massive obstacles and jumps with almost no vision on the days before shooting. The crew at Gargellen worked overnight shifts and worked tirelessly in the snow cats for this project … “Flip the Gates” was clearly a film to be the first of its kind, and the effort that went into it was fueled by that thrill. Luckily, we had loads of VoÜs lemonade wetting our whistles, and David’s mom became the project chef, making sure we were nourished and happy. These were some of the things that helped make the project memorable.

The days of prep work in fog and light rain were anything but easy, and David was at the helm. If you’ve seen the final product, though, you can see it was a worthy task. In the end, David performed like the mega-talent he is, the film crew captured his vision perfectly, and everyone, including the sponsors like Aleck, is proud to have supported the dream of a snow-loving, daredevil kid from western Austria.

Any bike video sponsors out there? Aleck is on board!

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