The Alps—Swatch & O'Neill take great pleasure in introducing a brand new snow event for the forthcoming winter season — the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro 2007. With innovation lying at the core of everything we do, it made perfect sense to push the envelope and develop a new contest format for 2007, and one that promises to revolutionize the world of freeride snowboard and ski competition as we know it.
In early March 2007, the inaugural edition of the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro will see 16 of the world's best snowboarders and skiers coming together for a competition like no other. On the snowboarding side of things, confirmed riders already include 5-time Big Mountain Rider of the Year Jeremy Jones, U.S. freeriding legend Steve Klassen and Austrian freestyler Stefan Gimpl, voted Rider of the Decade in 2003 at the Air & Style. Confirmed skiers, meanwhile, include Sweden's Kaj Zackrisson, Canadian freeskier and 3-times IFSA World Champion Hugo Harrison, French daredevil Seb Michaud and Swiss skier Phil Meier. Starting out in the picturesque Swiss ski resort of Laax with the Take-Off Party on 1st March and culminating in the Awards Party in the Austrian city of Innsbruck on 10th March, the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro will adopt an innovative mobile format guaranteeing the competition the best possible snow conditions and terrain.
Free to roam the European Alps on a search for optimum conditions, the event will embark on a 10 day journey including 3 competition days spread out over 3 different mountains. With the vastness and diversity of the European Alps setting the stage for this unique event, the competitors will be offered unparalleled lift and helicopter access to some of the region's most impressive peaks. Judging one another via video feedback over 3 different kinds of terrain — including steeps, cliffs and freestyle-friendly terrain — the competitors will battle it out to earn the respect of their peers and claim their part of the '¬ 60,000 prize purse. Locations will be narrowed down in February and finally confirmed 48 hrs in advance.
Never one to miss an opportunity to document the world's best doing their thing on the best mountains in the best possible conditions, numerous film crews and photographers will be on-site to capture the event on film. The competition will also be broadcast live and semi-live over the internet for web surfers to witness the dawn of a new era for freeride competition. Nicolas Hale-Woods, event organizer, can't wait to see how this original format will translate into mind-blowing action, adding: "We're stoked to bring the world's freeride elite together for the first edition of the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro — with Mother Nature shaping the playground, and the world's best freeriders battling it out and judging one another, it promises to be the ultimate freeride event. For more information about the Swatch O'Neill Big Mountain Pro 2007, including an updated list of confirmed riders, makesure you save the following link in your favorites: www.oneilleurope.com/bigmountainpro (Available end of October) For all other O'Neill events, hit up the Events section on www.oneilleurope.com. For more information about Swatch, go to www.swatch.com