Published in Onboard Magazine Issue 117, November 2010
PHOTOGRAPHY: Christian ‘Eli’ Eberl
In early November, Nike snowboarding entered the European scene with a bang. Not with the Mikkel kind, but a fi ve-a-side football tournament celebrating the launch of the brand new Gigi Rüf Nike Zoom Kaiju Qs snowboard boot. Nike created a real football pitch in front of the famous X Double store in Innsbruck, allowing the finest of the European snowboard industry to show their footballing skills and tackle Gigi, Nicolas Müller, Austin smith and the rest of the Nike crew.
Yours truly, Onboard Mag, teamed up with a few industry friends under the name “FC Mullet” and entered the tournament with high hopes. From the start things looked way too fast-paced for us, but we decided to play extremely defensive and low risk and thus managed to win every single game up until the fi nals. Here we had to face the “FC Gigi”, a team consisting of the three aforementioned shredders plus a few hand-picked footy friends. Being a little fearful of becoming Nicolas or Gigi’s career ender (and had maybe one too many cans of beer during the day), lost to them 4-1, and Gigi & Co. took the inaugural Rüf Cup.
However, as every single player in the tournament had been pimped in head-to-toe Nike football gear the loss did not taste that terribly bitter. Hopefully it made it easier for the Nike boys to expense this spectacular day, when earlier, before kick-off, we were given an introduction to the entire Nike Snowboarding range in general, and Gigi’s new boot in particular. It sounds quite amazing what strings they’ve pulled to make things
work: NASA technology got mentioned as well as Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, rigid environmental and workplace standards and, first and foremost, a snowboard team that is already among the best in the industry (comprised of Gigi Rüf, Nicolas Müller, Justin Bennee, Danny Kass, Austin Smith, Annie Boulanger, Laura Hadar and Eric Jackson).
However, everyone’s focus was already on the events to come on the pitch. The photos on this page hopefully illustrate the blast everyone was having. The next day we put the new boot to the test at the Hintertux glacier, even though it was hard to shake our football injuries, the sumptuous dinner from the night before and especially the few too many quiet ones in the hotel bar. The boot felt good, though, and off we went charging down the slopes hot on the Nike team riders and their manager Bobby Meeks’ trail. Next year, however, we will be back to claim the trophy!