In March, a motley crew of Völkl rookies set out for Switzerland. During their one-week trip the young bloods from Germany, France, Italy, Slovenia and Norway were not only facing thrilling team battles and countless park sessions but also excessive raclette feasts.
The group’s first stop was Thyon, just around the corner from Verbier, as the resort was hosting a very special slopestyle event. The ‘Gangs of Tyon’ contest invites ski and snowboard crews from all over Europe to compete against each other in head-to-head battles. The team showing the better performance on the challenging kicker and jib set up was then allowed to advance into the next round. For the 9th edition of the contest more than 50 riders signed up, with Völkl sending two crews into the battlefield.
From the kickoff the level of riding was very high with the tricks becoming more and more difficult with each round. Among the four best teams to make it into the finals was the Völkl Snowboards crew with Tit State (SLO), Jan Kralj (SLO), Marius Bakken (NOR) and Florent Vorger (FRA) and after a close battle with the local Centralpark crew they ended up in second place!
The second Völkl team missed the finals by a hair’s breadth, taking fifth place. However, the next day their disappointment was but a distant memory when they bagged a lot of trophies and Swiss Francs in the ‘Tricks for Cash’ sessions! “I liked the ‘No Spin To Win’ contest the most because you had to show original grabs and tweaks”, recalled Völkl rider Hannes Zösmayr who took home the award for ‘The Most Stylish Rider’ while his team mate from Italy, Antonio Contessi, was awarded ‘The Smoothest Rider’ of the session.
After a successful weekend the team headed for Laax, where a product shooting and visit to the Freestyle Academy were scheduled. “Laax simply has one of the best parks in Europe”, a stoked Antonio Contessi stated after the first session. The large selection of different obstacles and a perfectly shaped superpipe made it easy for the riders to go big during the two days of their stay. 15-year-old Loris Framarin from Italy also enjoyed the trip to Laax: “It was a great experience to shoot with the boards from next season and to meet and shred with the other Völkl team riders.”
At the end of the week another highlight was waiting for the rookies: together with photographer Patrick Steiner they visited the Freestyle Academy where they had a good romp on the trampolines and foam pits. “The possibilities here are incredible”, said Antonio. “There are countless trampolines, workout stations and synthetic carpet ramps for snowboarding and skiing where you land in a super safe foam pit; we could try new tricks without having to worry about crashing. It’s a pity that there are no more of these facilities in Europe!”
After a busy week of contests and shooting the Völkl rookies returned to their respective home countries with good memories and some money shots in their bags. For Jan Kralj from Slovenia it was one of the best trips of the season: “The week was so much fun because we worked together as a close team and got so much done!”
Looking at the many trophies and shots there is no doubt about that…