When: Fri 21st of September 2007
As Munich residents there surely is some kind of law that requires all attend the opening weekend of Oktoberfest. However, due to the unforgiving dates of 2007, the opening weekend coincides with another opening weekend of sorts – that of the 0708 northern hemisphere snowboard contest circuit that is heralded by Freestyle.Ch. This meant we had to show terribly bad Münchner form and escape the hoards of Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and traditionally attired locals and sack off the tapping of the keg for the affluent streets of Zurich. There are, however, comparisons to be drawn between the two events - both involve thousands of eager revellers soaking up the atmosphere and while there are fortunately no lederhosen at the Landiwiese, the beer is certainly better in Munich. The snowboarding, however, is always first rate at Freestyle.CH and really ramps the crowd and riders fully into the winter mindset after a long summer’s enforced abstinence.
Freestyle.CH is thirteen years “young" (to coin a phrase from the rather imaginative MC chap) this year and despite a fairly small booter by today’s standards the riders always step it up for the huge crowd that will gather over the weekend. Amongst predictable cliché’s of ‘picturesque location by Zurich’s lake’ and ‘moto-Xers throwing backflips is always pretty rad’ today was prequalification for the snowboarders and kicked off as the sun had crept behind the surrounding mountains. The prequalified big names ride tomorrow, but there was certainly more than one well-known rider in the qualifiers today. Guys like Marco Grilc, Mason Aguirre and Torstein Horgmo (aka Man On Fire) were getting their sea legs on the jump but were quick to adapt and began putting down some hammers.
Following some German yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-yo-ing from some frightfully yo Germanic rap ensemble, the prequalification session got underway. 2 hits to say ‘oi, bitches. I be owning your ass’ or falling by the wayside was the deal and for the most part it seemed to be going by the script. The only bad thing was the Torstein Horgmo, who we’ve already mentioned has been on fire of late, got bucked by a gnarl-bump and looks to have done his collar bone, or hand or something. Here’s hoping it’s nothing major ‘cause that guy was really riding well coming back from his back injury earlier in the year.
So, for me, the trick of the session was Marco Grilc’s frontside 1080 that from our point of view was grabbed a long while and put down smooth. But the judging is based on 2 jumps and local hero Reto Kestenholz was deemed to be the hottest over the 2 hits and qualified first. I guess Marco’s second jump wasn’t so hot as he ended 3rd, but then again Reto’s styler was a banger. Anyway, I did see Alessandro Boyens’ backside 1080 and to me it again wasn’t up to Grilc’s frontside version, but again his second hit was solid so I can only imagine I missed Marco’s 2nd trick while fiddling with the damned camcorder. He qualified 2nd. What without doubt makes the nitpicking redundant is that these 3 guys certainly put down the techest 3 tricks and deserved to go through for another go at it tomorrow. Second runs generally consisted of less madness and more aesthetically pleasing, slower poked spins to stoke out the purists. Oh, a notable mention must go to Louie Peruka, who threw caution to the wind and was going for the double back whick only a rogue bump denied him of landing. Yeah dude!
Right, that’s that for day 1. Hopefully our tent will still be there tomorrow; we had to leg it to get this report up and there was still more than the odd vulturous-looking juvenile kicking around as we climbed in the cab. Well, can’t be helped. More tomorrow from the X-Tremo-Gnarl-Fest that is the crossover session. Should be a good un, that.