On March 11th, David Benedek and Christoph Weber invited spectators to the Ski Stadium in Garmisch, Germany, for a show that would usually be for camera lenses only.
Ten friends and fellow pros including Travis Rice, Nicolas Mueller, Travis Parker, Mathieu Crepel, Freddy Kalbermatten and others were allowed to ride the set up five days before the public was allowed to watch an exclusive session. After riding on Saturday the pros themselves got together to vote for the “Best Rider” of the week as well as “Best Trick” of the day.
French rider Mathieu Crepel was more than happy to take home the “Best Rider” award and a brand new ATV with consistent riding all throughout the week, showing a huge variety including backside and switch-backside 1080s.
Travis Rice was looking good for the “Best Trick” with Double Backflip late backside 180s until German local David Benedek stepped it up with a never-before-seen frontside double cork 1260, assuring him all votes for the win.
Also, Christophe Schmidt was awarded with a prize for the “Longest Airtime”, clearing the hip with a total of 3.10 seconds in the air.
Interview with Organizer and Best Trick Winner, David Benedek
What was the intention of putting this event on?
I really wanted to create a time-out from the regular snowboarding season and dedicate a week to simply pushing the technical envelope. I have the feeling Pros don’t ever get that time-out to just ride and progress.
Snowboarding is at such a ridiculously high level that even when you are filming for a video part you cant just try crazy shit all the time because you need to make sure to land tricks and get shots. And in contests people obviously have to show what they already know in order to succeed.
So in general, pro snowboarding seems to be more in a state of delivering as opposed to experimenting.
I wanted ten guys that are capable of pushing the envelope to simply spend time at a perfect set up, and try stuff they’ve always wanted to try.
How was the set up more perfect than others?
Well, Christoph and I have worked on this jump for a long time and I can surely say it’s the safest jump I’ve ever ridden. Especially considering the airtime. It’s somewhat of a step-over, which means you land with a lot less speed than on a regular park table, the downside obviously being high in-run speed—you’re going close to 60 miles per hour.
Looking back on the week, I think we had five different people trying double-corks or similar tricks. That really shows how comfortable everyone was feeling. We also brought in an air-pillow people could just launch into, but people didn’t use it much at all.
Unfortunately we weren’t too lucky with the weather. Otherwise I think we there would’ve been a bunch of never-before-seen tricks gone down.
Why did you want the last day to be a competition?
I’ve always found it sad, that contest riding is never on the very top notch level of Snowboarding. Maybe in the pipe it’s different these days, but in general you always had to wait for the videos to come out to see the progression. And for a regular snowboarder there wasn’t really a way to witness it first hand or take a look behind the curtains of the exclusive and elusive crowd of video riders that snowboard somewhere he will most likely never go.That’s why I wanted this event to be a fusion of a film session and a competition—and besides, a little competition never hurts the riding level.
Will you put this on again next year?
We definitely hope so. I really liked the vibe this year with everyone spending a week together just riding. We’ll release a short film about the session later this summer, and II think we should know by then.
For more info and to view our latest trailer, go to: www.blankpaperstudio.com
Red Bull Gap Session, Final Results
Garmisch, Germany—Saturday March 11th, 2006
Best Rider: Mathieu Crepel
Best Trick: David Benedek
Longest Airtime: Christophe Schmidt