When: Thu 1st of January 1970
Saturday was hot as hell. Frickin' great for all who rocked up to enjoy the ambience of the Landiwiese by Zurich's magnificent lake. Seriously. A great spot for an event, even though driving round Zurich often seems like an exercise in futility. We really should have helped save the planet and walked. What a bunch of dicks we are.
The snowboard quali's were the first time I could legitimately excuse myself from sticker and mag hand-out detail at the tent so Onboard events dude Hamish and I legged it over to check it out. On the way we bumped into TTR honcho Drew Stevenson who showed us the new TTR website, which was looking good - a lot easier to see who's doing what and how the rankings change from event to event, along with a bunch more accessible info on all the riders. It should launch soon, so keep your eyes out for that nugget of HTML gold.
Somehow I managed to lose Hamish; easily done when there's 20-odd thousand people and Ham ain't the tallest person in the world, so I took in the action on me todd. The riding was good, with the shreds getting tech whilst at the same time giving the non-snowboarding members of the crowd something to cheer about with backflips and stuff. It’s really cool to see that these riders understood that they’re also there to put on a show at this kind of big crowd event and the spectators rewarded the riders with many a roar. Keller, one of the most stylish guys to ever strap in, was getting the crowd going with his backflip double shifty, front 3 shifty to indy nosebone (sick). He qualified first.
Finnish rotator Antti Autti whirled cab 1080s over the smallish (by today's standards) jump and got second whilst homeboy Reto Kestenholz gave the Swiss faithful even more to cheer about. I also have to say Nicolas Müller’s uber corked, rather fully inverted – backside 5 Japan was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. He didn’t tech it up though, and so didn’t get through.
Then it was back to getting deafened by the blaring speaker and watching the mini ramp sessions with a couple a beers to finally beat off the ming from last nights festivities. Drinking is neither big nor clever. It makes you behave like a dick, feel rotten the next day, yet sometimes it is almost obligatory. So I drank. And drank some more. And then it was time for the crossover session....
Now the crossover session was something I missed last year and I heard it was pretty fun – the snowboarders, skateboarders, FMXers and ski dudes go head to head against each other with the crowd voting with their vocal cords. Rapid fire and doubles – and even triples – were abound in this one to get the crowd’s backing. Even though Keller showed the crowd his thong pulling a pants down backflip (sadly not landed and we’d imagine he’s still pulling chemical snow from the holy of holies) not even his fine Swiss ass could prevent the skateboarder Sandro Dias from taking the title of Crossover Champ for 2006. If you’ve never seen Dias skate, it’s like watching a common-or-garden pro vert skater on steroids – he goes fucking huge, fast and does 540 body jars, which I’m sure can’t be good for your back. Props to Sandro, the crowd love him and he was a well-deserving winner.
Feeling good for avoiding another leathering, I spent most of the day at the tent. I still have tinnitus. Legged it to watch the vert finals at 3, pretended to be a photographer and had a ringside seat. Without going into too finer detail as we are, after all, a snowboard mag… err… multimedia platform, as expected Sandro Dias went pretty much twice as high as everyone else, pulled 540s, one foot 540s, smooth fs rock n roll boardslides, huge Madonnas, alley-oop sack taps and won. The guy’s a fuckin’ mentalist. Usually watching vert skating I’m not that worried that someone will hurt themselves. I was scared for Sandro, though. He da man. Matias Ringström was keeping the Swedish end up with a more technical and tweaked approach, but I think he fell and that pretty much rules you out against Dias. Perhaps the best thing I saw all weekend was the German vert skater Sacha Müller lading his first McTwist. He’d been trying between the other guys’ runs and coming close, getting tips from Sergie Ventura, but it looked like it would elude him.
Then, in the middle of the super finalists’ runs, he span, touched down, had a little wobble but rode it out. Seeing the raw emotion on his face, that pure stoke, was incredible and the crowd and riders joined in cheering and hugging him. Brilliant. I love skateboarding.
The snowboard finals are the blue ribbon event and the whole Landiwiese was rammed. It was cool that there were a few Swiss riders to get the home crowd stoked, but sadly none of them made it through to the super final. In fact, none could match the tech and style of the two Finns and a Frenchie (sounds like a cabaret act…). I think the jump was a bit off or something as I saw Eero and Antti fall, which is something I’ve never seen before, but these guys are pros and dusted themselves off and got back on it. So, in the super final it was Mathieu Crepel, Antti Autti and Eero Ettala. Eero’s hits went like this: switch double backflip and backside 900. Antti did fs 1080 but the landing was not perfect… and Crepel looked like he was winding up for a sw bs 10 but only went to 7, then went for (I think) sw bs 1260, got to 10 and fell. So Eero deservedly took the win to add to his last year’s title of Crossover Champ in his Freestyle.CH cabinet. And then no sooner had the awards been given, we packed up the tent in the blink of an eye and legged it back to Munich. Well, after begging stuck in traffic for an hour. Gosh, we’re so kind of on it. Thanks Zurich, see you next year. Maybe I’ll bring me bike though.