Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 121, March 2011
Snowboarding’s all about corporate sponsorship, triple corks and wearing tight pants these days. Sadly Nikita didn’t get the memo and held their annual end-of-season contest with the sole aim of letting some talented ams have a blast all day, making sure the vibe was chill, and hooking the best rider up with a deal for a year. What were they thinking?
Serfaus played host to the 4th Nikita Chickita Europe last April and the goodtimes were in full flow. Sure, shred contests are from time to time all about beating the other riders into a bloody pulp with your skills, but let’s face it – for most people snowboarding is simply the best fun you can have without a pin-up, KY jelly and a length of rubber. This is the vibe Nikita wanted for their end of season shindig.
16 girls from across Europe had beelined to this quaint town tucked away in a fold of Austrian alpine and come the day of the contest the park had softened up nicely under the bluebird skies meaning the double kicker line and the extensive array of jibs was ripe for the girls to throw down on. Straight off the bat, the freeform, easy-natured approach Nikita were keen to encourage was evident when the riders conferred with the judges and decided that scrapping the qualifi cations/finals format in favour of a day-long jam session was the way to go. It worked out perfectly as the girls could now lap the park all day without having to hang around, while the judges (Nikita riders Julia Baumgartner, Lisa Filsmozer, Maude Richon and Vanessa Waldenhofer) were charged with keeping an eye on whoever was stepping it up and throwing down hardest. In fact it went so well that even when the judges were ready to decide on the three girls who’d impressed them most, the riders wanted to keep the session going for the fun of it and did so into the late afternoon.
In between laps, the girls would head over to hang at the Chill Out area to grab a drink, some food or even enjoy a massage from the on-site physiotherapy guru, Jan, before heading back into the park to continue with their session. As we hung out here all day, supping on beers, watching the riding and chatting with the Nikita crew, the brand’s warm family spirit was obvious, with Heida, Geiri and co’s children and other halves all having made the trip to enjoy the vibe, and it was all in all most defi nitely the least contest-like contest we hit up last year.
Over a burger and a beer, we asked event organiser Geiri to sum up the Nikita Chickita in a nutshell. “It’s not really about the contest itself, although the contest is at a really good level,” he explained. “It’s more about just having fun and keeping it real and progressing. That said the fi rst prize is pretty good, it’s a year’s contract with Nikita and Ð1000 and a shitload of goodies, but we’re more about having fun and enjoying snowboarding.”
Fun and enjoyment were certainly had and when the girls had finally been dragged off the course, we euro carved our way down through the spring slush with the whole crew and it was hard not to feel a warm glow in your stomach. Ok, that may have been Geiri’s schnapps so we made the glow all the warmer with some afterski and by then it was time to crown the winners. Yeah, yeah, it’s not about winners and losers, it’s all rainbows and unicorns, but Nikita wanted someone with the lick on their books for a year so after much deliberation the judges doffed their caps to Elena Könz, who’d convinced them with her solid riding through the day putting down stuff like front 3s, front and back 5s, switch back 1s. Isabel Derungs nabbed secon thanks to her back rodeos and front 3s and Malin Johansson’s Cab 5s saw her into the third spot, with Mary Luggen getting some love for being the day’s best jibber. If you’re a young, up-and-coming chickita and fancy being part of the family this year, head over to nikitaclothing.com/events where you’ll find details of how you can become part of the fun.
1. Elena Könz
2. Isabel Derungs
3. Malin Johansson