The city of New York may be known for its skyscrapers but Snowscrapers? On the 5th of February 2009 Red Bull, the energy drink that gives you wings unveiled its latest attention seeking event, the Red Bull Snowscrapers. Rising on the banks of the Hudson River was the world’s first inner-city hip, whose whiteness contrasted shockingly to a backdrop of towering residential blocks.
On this structure 16 of the world’s most notorious riders including the likes of Terje, Travis Rice, Daniel Ek, Scotty Lago and Torstein Horgmo were to show the gangs of New York the intricacies of contemporary snowboarding.
Practice caused a stir in the hood as well as with the riders but for very different reasons. Although the hip was fine the run-in was too short to get speed and as one rider proclaimed jokingly in an interview: “we were going a massive 32inches over the hip". For the contest-real a tow-in machine would have to installed on the pitch to give the riders wings.
The hip’s ineffectiveness however went largely unnoticed by the spectators, many of whom were virgins to the shred. Each trick caused a ripple of cheers to spread through the massing crowd, who in the words of one Red Bull marketer the following morning numbered between: “2 and 20,000".
The temperature on the night of the contest was nothing but Baltic, hovering in the sub-teens. With an icy run-in and questionable speed and a tow that was more of a hindrance than help the riders started into their practice runs slowly, with straight airs seasoned with the odd spin from the likes of Torstein, White and Rice. But once into the expression session and elimination rounds were on the riders began to charge – after all there was a $50,000 purse waiting for the winner. In the words of Pat Moore said, this was the right 16 riders to make the most of the jump. The predictions of a Pospisil / Torstein final by the Onboard crew came to fruition and with a front V back 9 challenge on New York got the action that they had been waiting for. After two hits the New Jersey lad bagged a win and the astounding $50,000 first prize, sending the crowd into a frenzy, which led to the barriers being uprooted, and Shayne being crowd surfed around the arena.
In conclusion the Snowscrapers was a New York doughnut of two flavours: a tasty sponge shell that amped out a crowd who would otherwise never see such a star studded line-up of pro riders rip except on video and a rather sour filling that from an insiders perspective was a poor representation of snowboarding, reeked of sports marketing and left one wondering why such an event had been bestowed with a coveted rating of 5 stars on the TTR tour.
Thanks to the efforts of the riders and Red Bull for bringing snowboarding to the streets of New York!