By Staff

“Plastic Is Fantastic” in Europe, and Board AID 5 surpasses the half-million-dollar mark.

There were four inches of new snow, clear skies, and 70-degree temperatures on a lazy Sunday afternoon in March at Bear Mountain in Southern California. Peter Line, Daniel Franck, J.P. Walker, Circe Wallace, Travis Parker, and Nicola Thost supplied the air and style. Wyclef Jean and the Refugee Allstars, Steel Pulse, The Specials, The Offspring, Royal Crown Revue, and One Hit Wonder provided the tunes. Bob Burnquist, Andy Macdonald, Brian Patch, Matt Moffett, Darren Navarette, and Peter Hewitt skated the plywood U-jump atop a couple of tons of snowflakes. Yep, just another shitty day in So Cal. It was so easy to get wrapped up in all the fun, that we could almost forget for an afternoon that nearly two people between the ages of thirteen and 21 are infected with HIV every hour of every day.

“I’ve gone to Board AID¿ every year,” Says Bobby Meeks. “You get to hang out with friends you don’t normally see, and you don’t feel the pressure of a normal competition. Plus, it all benefits a great cause.”

Jeremy Jones was ruling the big air in the men’s division, as Liz Doman dominated for the women’s. They each won 2,500 dollars, to be donated to an AIDS organization in their hometown-money that was part of the 176,000 dollars raised by over 9,000 attendees at Board AID¿ 5 for LIFEbeat. To date, Board AID¿ has raised 645-thousand dollars in the U.S.

Still, women are the fastest-growing segment of the population becoming infected with HIV. One out of every 100 men in the U.S. are HIV positive. One person dies of an AIDS-related cause every thirteen minutes. These are facts. Board AID¿ for LIFEbeat raises money for teenagers living with HIV/AIDS and strives to prevent further infection through education and awareness.

Swiss Mate, a company that promotes board sports in Europe, decided it was time to bring the Board AID¿ message to the European youth, who are also at risk of contracting HIV. They licensed the name and concept from the TransWorld Foundation and picked Andermatt, Switzerlandwas the site for the first annual European Board AID¿ event.

Andermatt, “the crossroads of the Alps,” was chosen because it sits smack dab in the middle of the Swiss Alps and is easily accessible for Swiss, German, Italian, Finnish, Austrian, and French spectators and riders. It is also a Swiss military outpost, and the soldiers stationed there acted as security, set-up, tear-down, and clean-up crew for the event. Their barracks were even used to house some of the athletes and Board AID¿ volunteers.

Tony Hawk, Andy Mac, Lincoln Ueda, Brian Patch, and Digo Menezes demoed on a vert ramp set up pipeside, while Bobby Meeks, Chad Otterstrom, Blaise Rosenthal, and Travis Parker spent two days sessioning with Europe’s finest. Meeks says, “It was cool to go to Europe because I got to see all of my Euro friends. And Run DMC put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen-I got to be right up in front and took pictures.”

About 71,000 Swiss francs were raised through donations and from ticket sales of the evening concert that featured Run DMC and Delinquent Habits from the U.S., and H-Blockx, Guano Apes, Spektacoolär, Subzonic, and Wrecked Mob from Europe. As Board AID¿ Europe is a benefit for several countries, the prize money was divided into first-, second-, and third-place amounts. It was then donated in the name of the top-three scoring snowboarders to their home countries. Tero Ainonen from Finland, Marco Lutz from Switzerland, and Teemu Lahtinen from Finland took the men’s division. Tanja Baumgartner from Australia, Daniela Schrank from Germany, and Katharina Keller from Switzerland won the women’s. The prize monies for the best trick, won by David Benedek of Germany, and highest-air, won by Jukka Eräntli of Finland, went to AIDS projects in Africa and Asia, making Board AID¿ a truly global event.

Board AID¿ 5 for LIFEbeat was presented by Airwalk, Warp magazine, KROQ, and Bear Mountain Resort. For more information: www.snowboarding-online.com, or write to: Board AID, 353 Airport Road, Oceanside, CA 92054.

Board AID¿ Europe was sponsored by SwissAir, Airwalk, and Nescafe. Andermatt will host the second annual event March 20 and 21, 1999. For more information: e-mail at swissmate@cmag.ch, or write Swiss Mate, Cotes de Montbenon 24, 1003 Lausanne, Switzerland.