Freestyle.CH is pretty much the first northern hemisphere international big air event that goes down in the world and for that reason alone, manages to generate the kind of buzz and excitement that we spend the long, hot summer months looking forward to. Yep, it’s a pretty good indication that winter is right around the corner.
With the blistering heat and sunshine that blessed both days of the event, you could have easily forgotten that fact though and even though the riders were all dressed up in their winter gear, spectators were lounging around in the sunshine in T-shirts and armed with cold beers.
Once the dudes on motocross bikes had finished sending it above our heads and returned to the rider’s area to rub ointment onto what was left of their testicles, 12 of the world’s best freestyle riders hopped in the lift and ascended the gargantuan scaffolding structure to drop in for the snowboard big air semis.
As was the case last year, style runs were placed between technical runs to help prevent the contest from becoming your standard huck-fest. Backside rodeos, Japan grabs and stylish flat spins were all the order of the day and everyone’s favourite microphone-wielding-jester Henry Jackson was on hand with his dodgy German and quite exceptional tash to keep the crowd riled.
Saturday’s Style Session winner Halldor Helgason’s massive backflip cross-rocket perhaps drew the largest cheer from the crowd, while 14 year old Marcus Kleveland also impressed them with backside 1440s. Will he be doing back 16’s when he’s 16?
Peetu couldn’t quite hold onto his double back rodeo 1080s leaving the field wide open for the others. Sage stomped what was arguably the most stylish trick of the entire comp – a backside 1260 rocket air which was ultimately only enough for third place. Antoine Truchon stepped up in his final run whipping round a ridiculous frontside 1440 leaving it all down to the final rider. Stale Sandbech dropped in and unleashed the backside triple 1440 but couldn’t stomp it as cleanly as Antoine and had to settle for second place.
If that final, filled with doubles, triples and 1440s was anything to go by, the 2013/2014 season is going to be another heavy one for slopestyle progression. Particularly with that little-known, relatively unimportant event happening in Russia sometime next year…