When: Sun 16th of December 2007
Where: Kitzsteinhorn/ Kaprun
What happens if the world´s best female snowboarders come to a small village like Kaprun? The sun rises! That is what exactly happened on Friday, the first day of the 6 star TTR Roxy Chicken Jam 2007. After a week of heavy snow falls, the weather finally changed and heralded a perfect contest.
When we arrived at the top of the Kitzsteinhorn Friday morning, the Roxy park on 3000 meters sea-level couldn´t look better: A set up consisting of a rail line, two kicker lines, a quarter and a wallride was inviting 33 girls from all over Europe who all wanted the same - a spot in the main contest on Saturday where they would ride against the best female slopestyle riders of the world, like Cheryl Maas, Jamie Anderson, Jenny Jones, Torah Bright and many more. But it wasn´t that easy. Temperatures around 20 degrees below zero were not only making it hard for the girls to show their best but also taking out the speed of the snow. But one good news gave a lot of motivation to the girls: Instead of only five riders who could proceed to the finals on Saturday, event organizer Tina Birbaum changed the plan - suddenly eight girls could earn themselves a spot in the line up of the 22 invited riders, one of them and becoming first in the qualifications, being German Aline Bock.
In the evening the new Roxy movie „Labor of Love“ was shown in the rider´s hotel Sportkristall Vötter and I can only tell you to not miss it if you want to see the girls rocking. It is an amazing all girls movie with a creative intro, banging sound and sick snowboarding from Kjersti Buaas, Torah Bright and many more. The same evening I had a long chat with head judge Christian „Reini“ Reinhardt (overseeing the judges Christel Thoresen, former rider, Mone Monsberger, Ästhetiker, and Björn Hartweger, at this event and told me the secrets of his job. Pretty interesting and you can read more about „A Day in the Life of...“ in Onboard issue 97 (on sale March 17) as we followed Reini through the whole event. The Austrian also told me that the Mellow crew worked hard after the qualification had finished and changed the set up so the girls could hopefully show all their skills in the main contest. Furthermore the organizers had hired a professional waxing team so the girls could hand in their boards for service. Everything looked perfect for tomorrow but...
...the weather played a trick on the organizers of the Roxy Chicken Jam. Due to heavy winds, the finals couldn't take place at the Roxy Park at the Kitzsteinhorn glacier on Saturday and were postponed to Sunday. As the weather forecast for Sunday was similar, the shape crew not only prepared the Roxy Park on the glacier for the contest on the next day but also the DC Central Park near Sonnencarbahn, located on a lower altitude. The decision, which park will be used for the final, should be made Sunday morning at the riders meeting. After the riders meeting on Saturday, the girls were leaving in all directions: Some, like Lisa Filzmoser, Vera Janssen, Kimmy Fasani and Conny Bleicher going for a backcountry session and coming back with big smiles in their faces, others like Cheryl Maas using the time for interviews and photo shoots. “No party for me tonight but I´m looking forward to the finals tomorrow!", she said.
The Christmas Party on Saturday night that took place in a huge hall in Kaprun was packed with people: Most of the riders came for a quick chat but left early, so they were the ones to be the first up on the mountain the next morning. After the riders meeting at 10 o´clock it was decided that the final would happen in the reshaped DC Central Park as the wind was still blowing heavily up on the glacier. As the weather forecast for the afternoon predicted some clouds, the main contest should take place within two hours, seeing the 30 riders having 4 runs and the best one counting.
After one hour of training, the contest started at 11 o´clock and the girls showed their skills on a flat down box and three different kickers. It was an exciting contest as Jenny Jones could have taken the lead in the Swatch Ticket To Ride Women's World Snowboard Tour overall ranking with a victory. But it was the day of a 23 year old Dutch girl named Cheryl Maas. She made it with a super stylish Frontside 360 Indy, a huge Backside 360 Indy and a Backside 720 and not only took home half of the € 30,000 prize-purse but also an original Gibson guitar. “It was not easy to adapt to the new set-up but we saw a good variation of tricks - it worked out well", winner Cheryl said. Last year´s winner Jamie Anderson took the second place this time with a strong run including a Cab 540 and a Frontside 360. She also made a big step forward at the Swatch TTR ranking and is on third place now. Third place Austrian Claudia Fliri was more than stoked about the result as she just came back from a three months injury. You couldn´t tell that it was only her third week on a snowboard after reha as she was showing a perfect Frontside 180, Cab 540 and Frontside 720 combo.
A second Gibson guitar has been promised to the one girl who would show the first 9 in the contest, but as this didn´t happen (the girls only had one hour of training on a complete new set up!), the guitar was given to the most stylish trick - Kjersti Buaas´ Frontside 360 Stalefish.
It was impressing to see so many good female riders in one park, cheering for each other, giving high fives after a great run and just being friends. It was not just a contest but a session with friends…
For more information hit www.roxy.com and www.chickenjam.com
Roxy Chicken Jam 2007, Kitzsteinhorn/Kaprun - Results:
1 Cheryl Maas (NED) 2 Jamie Anderson (USA) 3 Claudia Fliri (AUT) 4 Jenny Jones (GBR) 5 Kjersti Buaas (NOR) 6 Meri Peltonen (FIN) 7 Ursina Haller (SUI) 8 Lisa Filzmoser (AUT) 9 Sina Candrian (SUI) 10 Heidi Paumola (FIN)