When: Sat 20th of October 2007
Where: AugsburgClick the link to watch video highlights of the Pow Wow Rail Battle in Onboard TV.
When we arrived in Augsburg yesterday afternoon, we ran straight into German rider Silvia Mittermüller. Everyone who has seen last year´s Pow Wow Railbattle in Augsburg, would suppose her being a hot bet for this year´s podium as well. But unfortunately Silvia had torn her ACL this summer and therefore could not defend her title as “Metal Queen”. What was she then doing in that little city about 70 kilometres northwest from Munich? Well, Silvia was not only the only girl at the judge table of this year´s third edition of the Pow Wow Railbattle – no, being one of the world´s best female snowboarders, Silvia was also appointed to be the head judge and even tried to rewrite the rules for this event. But more on this later…
The set up.
One of the first contests this season couldn´t start better than with some real snow. Although hundred of snow flakes (I tried to count them, really!) were not enough to fill up the ramp in the middle of Augsburg and next to a huge shopping complex, the conditions were great: Due to the cold temperatures around zero, the artifical snow wasn´t too slushy but also not too icy. Nevertheless some riders experienced a hard landing – on the metal stairs in between the three rails. The set up, consisting of a kinked rail, an elephant and a triple kinked butterbox, was one of the four possibilities that was chosen by the readers of the website powwowrailbattle.de weeks before the wevent. A good decision as the riders didn´t have a favourite but attacked all of the three rails with the same passion – hard!
The winner of the girls: Dutch rider Britte van der Pouw.
After the open qualifications on Friday 40 snowboarders (20 men and 20 women) and 40 freeskiers were ready to show their skills in the K.O. runs on Saturday. “The level of riding is really good and especially the many girls are worth to be mentioned – not only doing 50-50s but also Frontside Boardslides and 180 outs”, Silvia Mittermüller said. Guys like Marc Swoboda (AUT), Ethan Morgan (GER) and Wouter de Lange (NED) were obviously motivated to take part in one of the first rail contests of this season.
The judges had a hard time deciding. One of the rare occasions when Silvia is not smiling…
The good level of riding was also what caused Silvia wanting to change the rules: After seeing Austrian Nitro rider Marc Swoboda facing German Chris Boehnke (Atomic) in one run, the judges refused to send one of them home as it was such a close decision but the speaker made them do it. Not even Silvia´s alluring glance and the plea for female fairness couldn´t change it and so Chris made it into the super finals with a massive frontside boardslide on the bottom part of the butterbox. Understandably Marc was a bit disappointed: “I wasn´t riding very good but that is part of the game. Next time I will do better.” I´m sure he will as he is a rising star and has such a unique style that it is a pleasure watching him, no matter if it is rails or kickers.
The new “King of the Metal”, Dutch rider Gerben Verweij.
Dutch “superkid”, 12 years old Jesse Augustinus (Forum) was the youngest rider and it wasn´t a surprise that it was a close call when he lost against a Swiss-Italian rider who was a few years older than him – I bet we will hear a lot more from this super motivated kid who won the “Young Blood” trophy at the Austrian Rookie Challenge last season with a broken arm. It was also a Dutch who dominated this part of the contest: Gerben Verweij (Nomis, Technine) seems to spend more times on the rail than in the snow as he sticked almost everything and soon was the favourite of the crowd. But Austrian rider Paz Gruber (Rome) was breathing down Gerben´s neck and had strong fan support (three of his local buddies with his nickname “PAZ” painted on their chest, entered the stairs every time before Paz’s´ run but were so drunk at the time of the super finals that they were banned from the contest area). After some switch frontside boardslides and some more lipslides to 270 out, five rider qualified for the super finals – a one hour long jam session where everybody – freeskiers and snowboarders, girls and boys – was riding.
Again it was a close battle but in the end and at 10 p.m. Gerben Verweij and Britte van der Pouw (Ride), who were already dominating the whole afternoon, took home the titles to their home country Holland – isn´t that weird? No, it is not as it was a great contest and fair judging.
For more information and a gallery go to www.powwowrailbattle.de3rd Pow Wow Railbattle Augsburg
1. Britte van der Pouw (NED)
2. Helene Nadig (CH)
3. Maya Gehrmann (GER)
1. Gerben Verweij (NED)
2. Paz Gruber (AUT)
3. Chris Boehnke (GER)