The Air and Style is a great place to get your mind blown.What with the space age looking stadium, erector set on acid of a jump, the next level shredding, and a healthy dose of jet leg, when it was all mixed together, it made for one one potent cocktail. Lots of eye rubbing and wondering if it was indeed reality.
The day started slow with rider practice and sound checks by the bands. And then the rookie challenge started just after the rain. It was just a drizzle and luckily the crowd was all that really poured in.
The field of “rookies weren’t really green horns at all. With yanks like Mason Aguirre, Louie Vito, Tim Humphreys, and a solid Euro contingency that included Iouri Podladtchikov, Daniel Ek, Jusso Lavisto, Marco Smolla and Werner Stock the gathering is a decidedly international one.
The rookie’s riding was aptly characterized by a lot of air and style, but in the end it was Tim Humphrey with his 1080 tail grabs that took top honors and earned himself a spot at next years event. Mason A floated uber-stylish front 1080 for second and Werner Stock took third.
After the rookies a band played, more fans filed in and milled around the many booths set up through out the stadium, the clouds turned darker but the rain went away and as the natural light faded the hyper-colored fluorescent spot lights painted the stadium in shades of rave.
The main event began with each rider being announced like some kind of super bowler or or boxer or wrestler. Each then proceeded to blast off the jump, with some opting for more tech trickery and others taking the opportunity to style our straight air and 180’s. Upon landing and then taking to the lower section of the course—a couple small jumps and a box—the crowd erupted in cheers. Minds were beginning to erupt.
The format for the contest was and is such: All 16 riders pair up and each pair goes head to head in the first round. Each dude has three tries to out do the other, and who ever does so, advances.I’d fill up this web page pretty quick if I listed off what everyone did, so I’ll keep it short by saying no one was pussy footing around, these guys were shredding like men possessed, no doubt fueled by the 30 thousand fans now filling the stadium.Round one ended, eight riders advanced, The Hives got the crowd even more crazed, and then came round two. Same format, even gnarlier riding, lots of 10’s, 12’s, double-corks, and a double back rodeo courtesy of Mr. Rice.
Judges passed judgment and four men were standing at the drop-in. It was Mikkel Bang, David Benedek, Kevin Pearce and Torstein Horgmo. Most of the other, now-eliminated riders promptly indulged in some well-deserved beers, kicked back and watched the action unfold. Terje was even on hand and watching intently as the super final began.
Now each rider had three jumps and the best overall score won. Shit got heated. Mikkel did a switch back 1080, Torstein followed with a back 9, And then it was especially mind-f-ing when the crowd went loony for David. They had a cheer for him that was reminiscent of chants heard at soccer matches. Imagine tens of thousands of your fellow countrymen chanting your name as you fly off a jump in an Olympic Stadium. Hard to relate, easy to impress. Benedek promptly made his people proud with a double cork 12. Then Kevin Pearce stepped up and hammered down on cab 12 and that was that. Pearce took the title and 100,000 Euros, which with the currency exchange is a lot of loot.
The multi-colored lights flashed all around, confetti fell from the sky, the announcer yelled even louder in that guttural German accent, the crowd did the wave, there was an award ceremony, more cheering, more waving and then Sean Paul came on and the riders took to celebrating at the DC after party and most of what went down there is better left off the record. If you ever get the chance to go to the Air and Style take it. It’s a snowboarding event and experience llike no other and one that’s sure to blast the brains out your dome.
Results Snowboard Main Contest
1. Kevin Pearce (20/USA) 286 Points (Cab 1260 / Crail)
2. Mikkel Bang (17/NOR) 281 Points (Switch Backside 1080 / Cab 360)
3. Torstein Horgmo (20/NOR) 277 Points (Switch Backside 900 / Switch BS Lipslide)
4. David Benedek (27/GER) 269 Points (Frontside 1260 Double Corked/Ollie Indy)
5. Heikki Sorsa (25/FIN) 267
6. Risto Mattila (26/ FIN) 261
7. Eero Ettal (23/FIN) 68
8. Mathieu Crepel (23/FRA) 61
9. Danny Davis (19/USA) 267
10. Nicolas Müller (25/SUI) 253
11. Travis Rice (25/USA) 250
12. Chas Guldemond (20/USA) 234
14. Gigi Rüf (26/AUT) 204
15. Andy Finch (26/USA) 189
16. Christophe Schmidt (24/GER) 73
1. Daniel Bodin (23/SWE) 268
2. Chris Burandt (29/USA) 255
3. Daniel Bodin (23/UNOR) 254
Results Snowboard Rookie Challenge
1. Tim Humphreys (19/ USA) 249
2. Werner Stock (20/AUT) 243
3. Mason Aguirre (20/USA) 240