Guys who need to wake up early in the morning, even after the craziest Aprés-ski parties in the resorts. The ones who are always first, but also the last in the snowparks, usually seen with the blue shapetools in their hands. Guardians of the perfect takeoffs and landings. Yeah, we are talking about the shapers. And one of them is our fella, HF family member, photographer/videomaker, Adrian Formella. Germany born, snowparks in Europe raised. Let's have a quick insight into this magical world of shapers with him.
Hi Adrian, how are you doin' these days?
I'm doing very good, pretty tired, but its worth it. The last weeks we build up the park and that is the most exhausting part. When the park is done, its a bit more „chilled“. Also, last weekend we had the opening party and I did, beside the shaping, a lot of photos and a part of it are long nights editing on the laptop. But the feedback for the park and the photos was unbelievably good and this is why it's worth it.
For those who don't know you, can you please briefly introduce yourself?
My name is Adrian Formella, I'm 27 years and I'm from North of Germany (Kiel). My hobbies besides snowboarding and photography are biking, surfing and traveling around in my small van or sometimes also by plane when I have to overcross an ocean.
Your Instagram bio says that you're into photos, video and shaping. Are you a photographer/videomaker that shapes or a shaper that do photo/videography?
For now im a shaper that do photos/videos and I am really happy with it, but slowly my small photo business is getting more busier and I know, that my body can't do the shaping forever, so I'm hoping that one day I will be a photographer/videomaker that sometimes shapes a takeoff just for fun or for a spot that we will be shooting, because I really love it.
"As a shaper, you need to be motivated to work when its cold, wet, windy and exhausting."
As a photographer/videomaker you have been working on a few projects with a Horsefeathers crew as well. How did you like working with HF crew/riders?
The work with the HF crew was a really good experience, it was something new for me. But everyone welcomed me very nicely and we had a lot of fun while shooting. The mix of different styles of snowboarding, ages and nationalities made it very interesting.
What was the last project that you were working on with HF?
The last project we did was in Penkenpark, Mayrhofen. It was the shooting of the Outerwear collection 2022/2023. We did some action shots on the rails and on the pro line jump and some detailed photos of the clothing like usual.
Let's have a closer look on the shaper's part now. What does such a shaper in a snowpark do in general? What are all of your duties?
The shaper is there for shaping good take offs, cleaning sides of the rails, tubes, boxes or other obstacles, safety (checking if the rails don't have any damage, for example, because that can be dangerous for the rider and the board/skis), digging out the park when there is a heavy snowfall and communicating with the pistenbully driver about different things.
In which parks have you already worked as a shaper?
My first season was in Switzerland, in a small family resort, called Pizol. It was an amazing time with the locals there, learning shaping and spending my first whole season in the mountains. My first spring season I was shaping in Schilthorn, Skyline snowpark and after that I did some winter seasons in Penkenpark, Mayrhofen and combined it with the spring and autumn season at Hintertux Betterparks, where I am still right now. The next winter season I will be shaping in Damüls, Vorarlberg for the first time and I am already very exited to explore a new resort.
And where is your base at the moment?
At the moment my base is the Betterparks Hintertux, which is a really good one, the best one for me so far.
Why did you choose that snowpark ?
Because it's one of the best snowparks in Europe, in my opinion. We have a really good and professional team and everyone knows what they're doing, which is very important in shaping. Besides that, we are very good friends and got a lot of fun while working.
How many people are there in your shaper's crew? And are there any girls shapers?
We are 4 shapers, 2 pistenbully drivers and one clever and very experienced mind behind all that. At the moment we don't have a girl in our crew, but I was working already with some shaper girls in the past.
How does a typical day from a shaper's life looks like?
Open the park, check if everything is okey and how it should be and than you have some time to ride. If something feels weird while riding, you grab the shapetool and make it good again. We often speak to riders to get the feedback about the obstacles. Later, the reshape begin and we have a few hours of shaping ahead to get everything ready again for the next day.
"Shaping is very satisfying for me, you can create beautiful takeoffs when you have the right feeling for the shapetool, but the biggest motivation is the feedback from the riders."
How many months of the year do you spend shaping?
I spend nearly 9,5 month of the year shaping, combining spring, winter and autumn season.
Nice, and what are you doing during the remaing months?
Definitely traveling, this summer I was in Canada, British Columbia, visiting my brother, who lives there. And as I already mentioned I like biking and surfing as well. So that's what I do too, when I am not shaping.
What do you like the most about being a shaper?
Shaping is very satisfying for me, you can create beautiful takeoffs when you have the right feeling for the shapetool, but the biggest motivation is the feedback from the riders, which is really good normally.
What's your least favourite thing about being a shaper?
Dig out early in the morning on the glacier after a party night.
Do you have a time for snowboarding as a shaper during the day?
Of course, it always depends on the conditions, but normally you always have some time to ride, I mean the best is when you ride what you have built.
Would you recommend this job to a winter/snowboard/ski addicts?
Yeah for sure, but only when you are also motivated to work when its cold, wet, windy and exhausting. Sometimes we are digging out the park with shovels for hours and hours, and we're still smiling somehow.
Can you recommend some of your favourite Horsefeathers products?
I wear a lot the Medler bib pants, they're super comfy for me at work, they got a lot of pockets for tools and walkie-talkie for example. They're also super baggy in XL size, what I really like. As a jacket I often wear the Halen jacket, which protects me really good from snow, wind and sometimes even rain on the glacier at 3200 metres above the sea level.