Heading up the 25 elite riders, nine of the very best skiers and snowboarders in the world have been invited to join Swatch Oâ€™Neill Big Mountain Pro. They will be joined by the top eight skiers and top eight snowboarders from the Freeride World Tour rankings.
Leaving from Chamonix on February 24th and touring the Alps in search of the best snow conditions, the Swatch Oâ€™Neill Big Mountain Pro wraps up on March 1st wherever the best snow happens to be (details of the final location â€“ as well as the party and award ceremony – will be announced at least 24 hours prior to arrival).
Among the invited riders is snowboarder, Jeremy Jones who has just been nominated once again for the Big Mountain Rider of the Year Award, confirming his status as one of the all time best. He will be in impressive company. Experienced freestyle rider, Stefan Gimpl returns to the Big Mountain Pro for its second year, and will be joined by fellow freestyle specialists, David Benedek and Frederik Kalbermatten. They will all have their work cut out to beat last yearâ€™s winner Xavier de le Rue. The acclaimed French freerider currently sits fourth on the FWT rankings, but always promises a lot more.
The skiers on the 2008 Big Mountain Pro have a lot to live up to following Kaj Zackrissonâ€™s victory last year. The Swedes have a tight grip on the competition this year. Kaj will be back as the man to beat, and is joined as an invited rider by another renowned Swedish backcountry skier, Sverre Liliequist. It is yet another Swede from the FWT rankings who is the one to keep an eye on; Henrik Windstedt has built impressively on his solid freestyle background, and currently sits first in the Freeride World Tour rankings.
The Swatch Oâ€™Neill Big Mountain Pro will kick off this year on February 24th with a freestyle session at Montenvers, at the end of La Vallee Blanche, courtesy of local shaper and snowboarder, Douds Charlet. This will all be followed by the much anticipated opening ceremony at Montenvers.
With six regional guides keeping an eye on all the best terrain and snow conditions that the Alps has to offer, the two VIP buses are ready to set off with no restrictions throughout the mountains. Helicopters and lift access will provide access to wherever conditions prove best.
A live webcast of the event can be seen every day of the event from February 24th until March 1st between 14.00h and 16.00h on www.bigmountainpro.com, Oâ€™Neill TV, www.swatch.com as well as on Freecaster.