One of the most stylish contests of the season, Vans Hi-Standard, went off on March 22nd Vans Penken Park in Mayrhofen!
And, as those of you who follow Vans Hi- Standard comps already know, this contest is specifically set out to break the back of the spin-to-win formula. The only two rules are:
‘No spins bigger than 720’
‘Go as steezy as you can’!
Friday’s practice set the character of the contest. With blue skies and high temperatures, the atmosphere was as chilled it gets! A few riders were hitting the jump now and then but most of the guys were just pissing around in the park and having plenty of laughs...
You could see Brits chugging Captain Morgan straight from the bottle, shirtless dudes pumping it through the slushy slopes as fast as they could, or shred babes working on their first serious tan of the year. Everyone and everything was ready for Saturday’s contest.
The weather in Mayrhofen was supposed to be good at least the first half of the contest day and after rider’s meeting at 10 am the 2014 Vans Hi-Standard was ready to go off!
Competition started with a big air jam session and our favourite cash-for-trick format - once you get paid for a trick you can’t do the same trick again. Even though high temperatures had taken their toll on the snow conditions, the park crew still managed to build a decent size step-up kicker.
55 riders gathered in the Vans Penken Park ready to put down some stylish tricks - with boys and girls, pros and amateurs, young-bucks and veterans:
About eight girls entered the women's competition, including Lipstick’s legend Conny Bleicher and 16-year old British talent Katie Ormerod. They took advantage of the slushy landing and fearlessly put down some sick looking 180’s, 360’s, 540’s, rodeos and backflips - everything with various grabs which earned some of them the Vans bucks (each worth €20...).
Among the men it was the UK crew who were the noisiest, happiest and most entertaining bunch of dudes on the hill. Rowan Coultas, who took the overall win, was having a good day, stomping most of his tricks. His buddies Will Smith, Marc McClement, Charlie Rowland and Sparrow Knox also got creative, and earned their bucks despite a few stacks.
Then the stylemasters Kalle Ohlson and Werni Stock held to their usual standard and entertained the crows with methods, stalefish spins, shifty’s and pretty much any trick you wanted to see...
Austrian rippers like Philipp Kundratitz, Tom Clockner, Steve Gruber and Flo Heim took the opportunity to show the crowd who was at home - and 15-year old German Maxi Preissinger also stood out to win the best rookie award!
Representing for the Czechs was young buck Dusan Kriz - a solid crowd favorite for throwing steezy doublegrabs and a super tweaked backside rodeo!
Once half the Vans Bucks had disappeared, the competition moved on to the second half of the event, which took the format of a rail jam.
The setup was creative - allowing riders to try most of the stunts from their trick-book. There was plenty of choice, with a wallride box, donkey dick tube, speed rail and a close-out rail...
The donkey dick and speed rail proved popular with classic rail tricks as well as more technical ones. Kalle Ohlson added some spice - going for a 50-50 on the closing part of the close-out rail then throwing 360 off to the right side of the setup. But he couldn’t quite stick the landing.
A couple of dudes threw frontflips off the close-out rail and Sparrow Knox was going absolutely nuts gapping to the flat part of the donkey dick. Marc McClement cut his toe edge while taking off on the donkey dick just to win 100 Euros for the Best Slam award!
Dusan Kriz put down arguably the sickest trick of the rail jam when he stomped a huge wildcat off the box - clearing all the way to the flat landing and earning the last buck to close the whole event.
On to the evening with Cash in hand - the riders moved to the afterparty at Scotland Yard Pub!
Henry Jackson kept the whole place entertained when he seized the mic and was rapping/singing long into the night. And the whole event made a nice change to the Olympic madness that has dominated this season. There was no pressure whatsoever, and the focus was on steezy fun and people having a great time!
If you have a chance, don’t miss the next stop which will be held at Scotland’s Cairngorm on April 5th! And be sure to mark down next year's event in Mayrhofen as it's got to be one of the best comps of the year!
Best overall: Rowan Coultas
Best rookie: Maxi Preissinger
Best slam: Marc McClement