Everything went quite smoothly in Oslo last year at the World Snowboarding Championships, except for the lack of ambulances. So the next logical step is to move the February 2016 edition of the event 8000 miles around the world, up by Mongolia. In a resort none of us have ever ridden in or heard of. But they probably have an all you can eat buffet there so why the heck not. And they’re throwing in a Big Air event for our viewing pleasure too, so everyone’s winning. The decision to move away from less obscure venues is clearly “a major step forward in our ambition to establish the World Championships of Snowboarding as the world´s most respected snowboarding contest”, just as Reto Lamm says. Obvious, really.
For the uninitiated amongst you, Yabuli is away up the north of China in Heilongjiang. You know, the place famous for China’s best fumigated raw dog and salmon soup. Round the corner from Mundanjiang. Just up the road from Harbin, the place where snowman building contests have been way out of hand since the mid nineties.
World Snowboard Federation president Marco Sampaoli reckons “every rider coming from all around the world to China’s northeast will undoubtedly have a memorable experience” and you’ve got to assume he’ll be right. I mean, almost everything you own that is cool, tacky, or just plain bizarre was made by a small child in china. The Beijing Olympics were a hoot. Let’s send some snowboarders over there, have a bowl or two of dog soup served by a waiter talking a language we can’t decipher, add a dollop of dubstep, gopro every move they make and you’ve got a guaranteed viral jackpot in the making. Both FIFA and the International Olympic Committee are allowed to turn a blind eye to the questionable politics of their host nations, so why should the WST stand for anything different. And hey, I’ll be snuggled up with my mactop watching from somewhere warm in the heart of the Alps, so what do I care which corner of the internet the highlights are streaming from, as long as 14 year olds are trippling off massive piles of snow and there are some flashy lights?