When: Sat 16th of February 2008
Where: Obertauern, Austria
My mission for this weekend was to drive out to Obertauern, Austria and check out the Run to the Hills comp. As soon as I read the name of the contest, I knew I wanted to go. All I had spooking around in my feeble brain were images of old Iron Maiden album covers and Bruce Dickinson in tight jeans screaming like a soprano on crack. I admit, the latter image scared me aswell.
There I was, speeding on the Austrian autobahn feeling vibes of high octane madness in true spirit of the theme of the contest I was going to. Well maybe, I was just speeding instead of running to the hills?! But hey, I can't run to save my life since I'm too chubby and my ankles just give in after a couple meters if I try to run. Hmmmmm......The weather was looking perfect, but the temperature was a little disconcerting, as the thermometer of the car just kept on sinking till it reached double digit negative degrees. Yiiikes! Out of all the days I have to catch one of the, possibly, coldest ones of this fairly warm winter. Ahh, who cares I thought. The winter chub would finally come in handy for a change.
The contest format was an innovative one, as it was a team competition, consisting of four person teams (different rider crews from all over). In the first two heats, the teams had to pick two riders that would hit the booter and the other two slippin' and slidin' the jibstacles. The finals would be held at a seperate part of the park, located on the other side of the hill, where a hand sculpted quarter pipe/wallride combo was waiting to be worked.
After embarking onto the lift I had to take to get to the contest area, I was able to catch a glimpse of the park from a bird's eye view. The setup was as follows; there was a curvey inrun to a decently sized booter. After, the course made quite a sharp turn to the left where the jibstacle course was setup entailing a down rail, a down box and a down-flat-down kink box. Sidenote: The landing of the booter was quite sketch as you had to make a fairly sharp left turn almost immediately after you had hopefully stuck your trick. Otherwise a drop of about 3 meters was waiting for the poor souls that could not link up a left turn after the landing. There was a few 'crash test dummies' that flew off that little ridge after the landing into a sea of big icey boulders. Scccaarrry!
The sketchiness however did not scare the riders and I got to see some properly steezed 5's, 7's, 9's and even some 1080 attempts. The jibstacles were pretzeled in, danished out, bonked, not to forget a couple smooth stock fs boards etc.....
In the finals, the QP/wallride gave the teams a chance to combine forces of the four team riders, who in part, all dropped in simultaneously doing some cool snychronized trickery such as handplants, fs airs, backlip disasters or even bs rodeos.
In the end it was the highly motivated Slovenian 'AJDE' crew who took first place, followed by the 'Whatever' and 'Bad Company' crews in second and third.
Note: The coolest thing about this contest was that it had the rock and roll vibe of early 90's contests. It was a little chaotic, the MC's were out of their minds, the setup was not perfect (but super fun) and most importantly, it seemed as though all the riders had a blast and were just digging the whole leisurly vibe that was going around. Underline that with some serious rock (slayer, iron maiden, metallica were blasting out of the speakers) , and you've got a really fun contest going. Okay, no next level things went down. But, I don't think Double Corks were on the day schedule. I wouldn't have changed anything about the format or contest, well, maybe the booter landing, which defined the word sketch.