When: January 3 - 9 2009
Where: Mayrhofen, Austria.
We've just had a quick reccy to check out the goods in the Vans park, and they also held a groms contest last Saturday so here's the skinny.
First up, the Gromfest was the time to cut the blue ribbon and open the park proper and amidst all the young bucks hucking and chucking it was local lad Tom Klocker who stood head and shoulders above the rest to take the title ahead of Tom Tramnitz and Georg Huber. A switch ollie to switch backtail 270 out, frontside 540 and cab 720 to switch backside 900 was enough to earn the 18-year-old the nod from the judges, including local legend and Vans TM Beckna.
There was then the obligatory party in the infamous Scotland Yard, which saw all and sundry crammed like sweaty sardines necking schnapps and getting jiggy wit it. A certain unnamed source from Vans was claiming it to be the party of the season so far as she battled the booze gremlins beneath her flesh the next day. Plenty of sore heads meant the park was relatively empty on Sunday, which was perfect for the Onboard Editorial crew to avoid potential mockery with their dilapidated freestyle skills on the mini line - now christened the 'Editorial Line' by us mag representatives whose park skills are on the wane.
The park on the whole is pretty much as perfect as you can get, and they haven't forgotten that not everyone wants to hit monster Wu-Tang booters. The high-speed 4-man lift gets you lapping and strapping super quick and once at the top there's certainly something for every level of rider to amuse themselves with. From the solid pro line to the left of the park, you can take the heavy kickers (15, 17 and 19 metre tables) or some beefy jibs like the big up-and-over rainbow box or good-sized wallride. Then there's the aptly named Funline to the right, which mixes in a bunch of rails and boxes of all varieties in with 5 and 6 metre kickers, and further right sees you get involved with minishred heaven, finished off with a small hip to get your Jonsson on. There's also a pipe (like how pipes used to be before they invented Super-Duper-Whooper Pipe Dragons), and a kids' line furthest left to ease you gently into the freestyle fraternity. Plus, right now, there's a big quarter at the bottom that may see some cats getting a bit of training on before the Air&Style Q-pipe contest at the end of January.
All in all, it's a banger. If you're looking for somewhere to hone your skills, this is certainly the place. Hell, by the end of the season maybe even the Onboard crew will be hitting the Funline...
Check out more about the park on the official Vans Penken Park site.