Words: Freddie Fruhstuck. Photos: Vernon Deck
Last week, around 25 years after the Austrian resort held the first halfpipe world champs, Ischgl welcomed a mix of legends past, present and future to tear things up on an innovative new contest concept. Our man Freddie Fruhstuck was there to report...
Aah Ischgl, What a place. If you’ve ever been, you’ll never forget. For too many reasons to mention, Their slogan “Relax-If you can" says it all. In Ischgl even your car gets to feel special, cause you won’t be parking in garages but in a lounge. Yes, it’s true.
But I digress. The reason why you’re reading this is because Ischgl hosted the Banked Air last week last week, (the brainchild our our beloved Klaus Marko - aka Captain Chaos - of 90s SPC Camp Fame) in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the first Halfpipe World Champs, held in Ischgl back in 1993
The concept of the Banked Air is simple. Riders race on a banked course with some extra spice: four hips followed by banks and a kicker at the end. As in any regular banked slalom, time is of essence, but seconds are deducted for airtime, style and difficulty. A chip attached to each rider's board registers the time spent off the ground.
On arrival night there was a party that I (un)fortunately missed, judging by the carnage and horror in the eyes of the usual suspects the following day. Then the next night there was a welcome dinner for all at the Silvretta centre, which was a personal highlight for yours truly - seeing so many heroes of the past from across the world gathered in one room, talking story
As for the event itself, I could wax on forever about who did what, hilarious remarks dropped and whatnot, but that would be unfair to all the ones left out.
Luckily though, there’s plenty of video material for you to dive into, including the above best-of-the-best
A huge thanks to Ischgl for the hospitality, Klaus Marko for the course and concept, and last but not least Birgit Gruber for tying all the loose threads together aka unique reverse curling skills.
Hats off to all the riders, course builders and fans on site, as well as local buck Roli Tschoder for showing us the goods, and the Trofana Royal Spa.
Shame on you Scandinavians for not showing up in force, leaving it up to Terje and Jonas Hagström as the only Scandos on site, thus having to team up with the Finns to form a team.
No thank you to the grumpy head waiter at Trofana Royal Hotel for the bullying and unfriendliness and Jason Horton for leaving early.
Hope to see you all again next year, make sure you feed your baby properly Klaus.