DC has this year introduced a sick series of events called ‘Hit & Run’, and consists of three consecutive ‘Banked Slopestyles’ around the globe. In Meribel, they mixed this event with their annual team gathering that they’ve been doing for the last 5 years, centred around the always sick DC Area 43 in Mottaret. Here’s our report from last week in the vibrant Savoyard resort.
Meribel is the spiritual home of DC in Europe. They have there their infamous DC chalet, accommodating pros and amateurs from the team and from other horizons all winter long. And of course they have the DC Area 43, one of the best parks in Europe settled in the Mottaret part of the resort. For the fifth consecutive year, the DC riders put on a great show in the resort, and more particularly around the spot called le ‘Rond Point’, as well as in the DC Area 43. And the show officially began by the team demo right in front of the Rond Point, to the vocal stoke of the audience - there's a better and louder crowd each year (and perhaps more drunk?).
The après-ski people from the ‘Rond Point’ always unleash their energy and their enthusiasm for those evening shows and most of the riders from the team (even the one who were injured like Antho Chamberland) were here for the party. Fireworks of Back Rodeos (and even an attempt of a Double from the brave Sam Turnbull), almost coordinated with beer throws from the audience…
It’s for the public and the shred that everybody comes here, but it’s also a good opportunity for the media to spend time with some riders that we don’t often have the chance to see, because of the WST or photoshoots. And DC people are really doing their job here, because it allows us to create a lot of content and this is a good thing. Except that, nowadays, the agents, like in other sports obviously, seem to have decided to endorse the role of troublemakers when an interview is requested… And this is a pain in the ass. I hope that Torstein’s agent will read these lines and come back to us when he thinks it’s a good time to ask questions to his protégé for instance.
After Mammoth, it was then the second stop of this 2016 Hit & Run series. A killer idea mixing style and speed, because it really is a timed Banked Slalom improved with several modules that are spread out on the course, so the riders can get ‘time bonuses’ (depending on the style and the amplitude of their tricks) and then improve their score by throwing big tricks. Among the judges on the course, the presence of Devun Walsh is worth being mentioned, so better put everything on style, eh?!
DC honcho Bobby Meeks was instrumental in bringing such a banked slopestyle to life in his previous gig at Nike with the Snake and Hammers, and it's sick to see he's pushing on in this direction now he's running things at DC. On this course, each rider had to land three hits in the big pipe, for starters. Then, a quick section with turns led to a very long jib section, including mushroom, rails, boxes and pole jam. After passing in front of the chalet, there were a huge table, where some never hesitated to put their head on the block and land some really solid tricks. Then the 360 Gap, or holed snail, or Gap Jump to Toilet Bowl… A feature just as cool as it was original, followed by a series of motocross-style whoops to finish the course.
There’s no way around Mathieu Crépel at this game, who is showing more and more versatility these days. Continuing on from his amazing domination at the Legendary Banked Slalom in Mont Baker (riding both normal and switch stance, no less!), he showed, one more time, that Pyrenean riders must be taken seriously. Full speed from top to bottom, he found the way to start his run by chaining a Corked Front 7 and a Haakon 7 in the pipe, before throwing a smooth Switch 540 Nose on the big kicker.
Another highlight of the moment was the local rider Thomas Gerin who took the priority from the European top riders by reaching the second step of the podium, thanks to one of the best runs of the day: FS air / BS air with a great amplitude in the pipe, then a huge 720 Back Tailgrab (the trick of the day according to general impression…), with the speed of a crazy train. Torstein was also on the podium with a really solid run and a lot of ease. He took the lead over his teammates Sebbe De Buck, Kyle Mack and Piotr Janosz, who showed some great snowboarding too. It’s also worth noting the presence of Lucas Benacchio, who took off for a real flight on the main jump with a front 720. We also take here the opportunity to wish the best to Victor Loron who took a big fall on the pole jam, though he seemed to be in a really good shape and really enthusiastic. He was killing it in the park the day before for the training runs, destroying every module with Rusty Toothbrush and Alex Stewart. We hope to see him back on his feet really soon! Finally, congratulations to Thalie Larochaix who took the lead among the girls.
The DC team set the resort on fire one more time and not only in the park! Let’s mention Torstein Horgmo, Brady Lem, Jordan Morse, Sebbe De Buck, Kyle Mack, Justin Fronius, Mons Roisland, Antho Chamberland, Alex Stewart, Piotr Janosz, Benni Fridbjornsson, Victor Loron, Sam Turnbull, Benny Wetscher and also the really young Ian Matteoli, 10 years of age and already full of talent!
Big thanks to Méribel and DC for the welcome, to the shapers who did a crazy job to make this course something so unique, and particularly Jahno who even replaced the ‘Onboard team’ to mark the tricks when we were stuck with Canadian diarrhoea… And of course big thanks to the riders who gave it all: the pros obviously, but also all the amateurs who came to be a part of the fiesta, because no less than 80 riders were present for the event. The last round will take place around Whistler and it will happen on March 26-27.
And now, the little video teaser (before the main edit) and the Gallery!