Wandering through the old town and looking at all the colourful buildings always makes me smile. Every time I always feel like a tourist again, and I love it. You can stare for hours at all the details in the architecture and surroundings. Craftsmanship has embedded itself in the foundations of the city. It made me think about which different crafts Innsbruck/Austria is home to.

For this blog I visited a couple of different places that each hold their own craft. SPURart sells custom made skis and snowboards, also offering workshops to build your own. I don’t remember how I found them, probably through a friend, but I signed myself up for a workshop with them to build my own splitboard.

Sometime later, I went to a laundromat and stumbled upon this little shop across the river from the old town where they were selling soaps and cleaning products. Turns out I found myself in the oldest soap factory in Austria! This family-held company, who has been in business since 1777, is now already at its eighth generation and sells products all over the world.

Walde Soap Factory

Being in business since 1777, the family Walde initially needed a product that would keep them in business. Their solution was to develop a product that the city needed. Back in those days, lights in people’s homes and even streetlights were still candles. This was the main product of the Walde family, together with soap. Back then candles and soap were made from cow fat, a substance available in abundance in the region. It’s a product they still use in some of their soaps and candles today. As a vegan i’m obviously not a fan of this, but they shifted to also producing soaps that are 100% plant based.

Because of higher demand the factory moved to a 6000m2 complex near Hallerstrase in 2005. I visited the new factory to get a better idea on how soap and candles are produced. The store where the old factory was located remains. Inside the factory they also still make candles and use huge machines for the process.

If you want to visit the store near the old town, the address is Innstraße 23 and they are open Mon-Fri from 9am-6pm and Saturdays 9am-1pm.

SPURart – design your line

One of the coolest things I've done in Innsbruck so far was the workshop at SPURart. During this 2 day experience you can build your own skis, snowboard or splitboard. I decided to build a splitboard with a custom design on the top sheet.

Saturday morning around 8am we came together to have coffee and a small briefing on what we were going to do. I honestly had no idea how a board was made, let alone what it’s made of.

We started right away with fixing the edges to the side of the base. I almost glued my hand to the board but managed to get it off and get the clips on. For a little extra cost, I decided to get a custom print on the top sheet with 3 different types of wood that were cut out by the laser.

Many of the next steps involved getting dirty hands so I wasn’t able to take photos of everything. We put the board in some sort of mould to make the nose and tail curve upwards. Then we put the different layers of fiber glass on the base, put a core in the middle, and some more fiberglass on top, soaking every layer in plenty of glue to keep it together.

The final top layer was the 0,6mm thick top layer made of olive wood, black Macassar and Indian red apple.

After glueing all layers together, the whole thing went into a plastic vacuum bag to go into the oven until the next morning.

To be honest, at this point I never thought this thing would come out as a splitboard or if I would ever be able to ride on it. Knowing how many layers go on top of each other this seemed quite impossible. The next day, however, it came out the oven as one big, firm square plank and it actually looked like it could work!

When the surplus fiberglass was cut off it really started to look like a splitboard. The scariest part for me was cutting the whole thing in half.

After some more shaping and sanding, both sides of the splitboard were ready!

Check out their website for prices and the different shapes and styles you can choose from! I know the prices for the workshops are less during the off-season, so this might be a cool thing to do while visiting in the Summer too!

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