Nike’s season-ender to end all enders has been going down here in the Montafon valley for that last couple of days. With the cream of the Ams from the Chosen Series, the video contest winners and a host of Nike pros sending it through a park of epic proportions, this session is a bit sexy. Check what’s been going down now that we have a spare moment to tap-tap out our thoughts.
The culmination of the Euro-wide Nike Chosen Series events and the Chosen Crew video contest, the Nike Chosen Sessions promised to be ‘something special’ from the get-go. Thing is, until we crested a ridge in a Montafon gondola, we were a little in the dark as to what this ‘something special’ actually was. Turns out they meant a park of monumental proportions - think the Pyramids, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Great Wall of China and other stuff that deserves capital letters - which the Ams, video contest winners and the Nike pro team could attack for a week of übersending.
Expletives were the norm when riding the primitive, private chair which accesses the park. From seasoned hacks to professional snowboarders to wide-eyed Ams, all to a man and woman were uttering words that would have even the hardiest of sailors turning a shade of crimson. It’s easy to understand why: Nike and Montafon had worked for what’s rumoured to be 7000 cat hours to craft one of the most ostentatious terrain parks snowboarding’s seen to date. A gap-to-rail on a boulder to a solid stairset setup are the first features, which are not too shabby in their own right, but then it starts getting, frankly, silly. There’s a huge scaffold thing that can be wallridden, ridden through or stepped up on and dropped off; a short super pipe with a channel and jibs, a high jump thing, a snaked mini pipe, a launch pad of a hip, a double kicker line and a megaladon of a jump that’s at least 27m to the knuckle. Oh, and a mental skate-inspired bowl setup that we’ll come to later.
The first day of riding-proper saw the Ams lap a couple of different lines, each time with their own personal follow-cammer in tow, to produce a video part that will be judged by the Nike team later in the week to crown a winner. And when we say ‘Ams’ we’re maybe doing these guys a disservice – if this is the level of amateur shredding today then we thank Haile Selassi, Jesus, Bhudda, Yahwah, Dennis Bergkamp and any other religious figure you’d care to mention that we’re not groms with aspirations to be pro snowboarders. These cats are legit, with doubles in several directions, heavy jibs and imaginative lines commonplace. This coming Saturday we’ll find out who won, but some names that popped out were Jorn Simen Aaboe, Markus Mathis, Enzo Nilo and Andy Nudds.
Amongst this the Chosen video crews were out doing their thing, including the German Rock On guys who’d ditched the vampire chic for some 80s Elho ski suits. To be honest it was a little hard to keep up with what was going on – it’s a full on session vibe here with no MC drilling your ear with penii – but when the sun started getting low and the lifts stopped running all attention was on the monster wedge where a few of the pro team who had the minerals (Kevin Backstrom, Gerome Mathieu, Peetu Piiroinen and Jan Scherrer) hoofed it at sunset.
In contrast to the scattered nature of yesterday, today’s action kicked off focussed on the unique bowl feature. The greybird skies were a tad ominous, but once Louie Vito and Gerome Mathieu started sessioning the cone, it was soon on, with a real skatepark vibe and riders boosting left, right and centre. “It was quite hard to find a good line at first," bleeped Peetu, “but it was super fun to session with all the guys. It’s really cool to ride something totally different." Standouts were Jamie Nicholls’ transfers into the wallride, Peetu’s impossible pop, the lesser-spotted Nicolas Müller's Method airs, Jed Anderson, Coin Coin, Enzo Nilo… hell, there were a lot of standouts.
With hungerpangs healed by schitzel it was over to the kicker line for the arvo session. Of course, you’d expect Peetu, Jamie, Ethan and the rest of the pro team to put their laces through it, which they duly did, but again we were proper floored by the Ams. Markus Mathis was putting down back double 10s and 12s, Andy Nudds steezing through front 10s, and Jorn Simen Aaboe stomped a trick we’ve never seen before – think a frontside rodeo from 1995 and double it. Insane. And to finish the day off? Why, let’s launch over a 60m-long Swoosh shall we? Ok then.
The weather’s supposed to sock in sometime tomorrow but with luck there’s still some more sessions to go down before Saturday’s send off. We have the feeling the surface has only been scratched here at the Chosen Sessions and we want to get our nails deeper in its flesh. We shall return with more information.