Burton European Open 08 – Day 1: Gromfest.

When: Fri 11th of January 2008

Where: Laax, Switzerland

Greetings from Laax, webworld.

This is now the fourth year that Burton have held the European Open in the fine Swiss resort that will be our home for the next week. And for those of you who don’t know, Laax is renowned for being one of the most snowboard-friendly resorts in Europe, if not the world. Hell, they’ve been having snowboard contests here for something like 20 years and were amongst the foremost to embrace the sideslide and invest in serious facilities to, basically, allow us to have more fun than is probably good for the abstemious types we are. With this kind of shred-loving pedigree it’s unsurprising that when the BEO rolls into town the Laax massive rolls out the red carpet in the best way that a resort can: by constructing a mighty fine slopestyle course and, as ever, the geometrically perfect uber-moster-shit-the-walls-are still-going-up superpipe.

Anyone familiar with the BEO will know that each year there is a theme to this event. This year’s is BEO Airlines, and so the park is replete with landing lights, those dudes who tell the planes where to go, arrows, and a couple of tail sections that would make the cast of Lost feel at home. And so, with this backdrop, today was the time for the groms to show what they were made of.

Today’s conditions were far from perfect – flat light, constant snow flurries and more than a little ice – and this served to separate the boys from the, err, boys. And girls, of course. The set-up looks banging for slopestyle shennanigens: a donwn box or rail leads into a small step up to a skate-style quarter, that sends you down another box and into the quarterpipe. After this, it’s three kickers in a row to show you can back up your jibbery with some park pokery.


Jesse Augustinus, jibbin’ up top.

Yeah, as I mentioned the conditions were certainly testing for the mini-men and mini-women, but there were front 7s and back 9s being thrown down with reckless abandon by little people for whom the 80s is nothing more than photos of when their mums and dads had dodgy hair and funny leg warmers. Hell, there was even a kid in there who was born in 1997 who was taking on the course with no problems. Even the younger members of the Onboard crew were made to feel like decrepit old men today.


A mini-man, who may be Ståle Sandbech, givin’ it large on the middle kicker.

Anyway, fear not for the future of snowboarding, people, the kids are ripping. As well as the podium-ers, the likes of Ståle Sandbech and Ethan Morgan were mixing it up with styley spinnery and wanged out jibbery, but like many others they found it hard to make a whole run clean, with no sketching or speed loss. Yeah, it was tricky up there. It was tough enouh for this aged scribe to ride down with piste with a photo pack on, so mad props to all the groms for stepping it up today. Here’s the results, written as the kids are all indulging in an orgy of cola and candy at the groms party. Tomorrow is kids’ pipe, and it’s also supposed to dump tonight. Happy days!

Slopestyle Girls Youth:
1 Bernard Emma Claire FRA
2 Rusin Katarzyna POL
3 Trespeuch Chloé FRA

Slopestyle Girls Juniors:
1 Bonnaud Alicia FRA
2 Norendal Silje NOR
3 Maeland Kari Opsal NOR

Slopestyle Boys Youth:
1 James Scott AUS
2 O`Connor Seamus USA
3 Ravnjak Tim-Kevin SLO

Slopestyle Boys Juniors:
1 Toutant Sebastien CAN
2 Stone Zak CAN Collingwood CAN
3 Piiroinen Petja FIN

More tomorrow, and we’ll even have a real life, living and breathing, proper photographer in the name of Pat Vermeulen by then. Sweeeet.

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