Best events of '99?
I personally liked Laax and Bear Mtn. best, mainly because of the
courses. Lodging was not too far away (like at the Canyons which would have been way too expensive if you stayed up on the mountain and Val di Sole). The best party was Laax probably because everybody’s happy for the season to be over, Solden’s party was great too. I actually judge an event by it’s course, so … worst was Val di Sole; the course sucked and it was a 40-min. drive up to passo tonale every day. What was good about it was that the best riders were there. The Canyons’ course would have been the best but the jumps were too short so you always landed in the flat and I personally want to keep my knees 'til I die.
What makes a good boardercross racer?
You should have a lot of experience in riding, be able to ride any type of terrain fast. You need a good technique and should not be scared of huge jumps. Last but not least, a good start is important (reaction).
Is BX all luck?
No, I don’t think so. Of course there’s a lot of luck in it but in the
end only a good bx rider will win.
Why is BX so popular?
It’s the most interesting to watch. Even non snowboarders like to watch it and you don’t need to know anything about it (like for example in halfpipe) to see who wins. Anybody can start (hard or soft boots), though I think there should be rules about the boards bx riders use because an alpine board scares me and I try to avoid starting next to an alpine rider (most of them are not secure landers on big jumps).
Who are some up-and-comers?
Hard to tell … with the guys probably Marco Huser and Dani Infanger. They're too young right now but very secure riding and nice style, fast in qualification. Christoph Maierhofer will rule in the next few years. He won the toughest course (The Canyons) but needs to work on his starts, smoothest riding next to Shaun and Philippe, he has a very strong mind. With the girls I can’t really tell ’cause there’s not many who compete in all races so you don’t get to see their riding.
Any secret tactics?
It always depends on the bank/berm sometimes you ride them high
sometimes low but a good thing is to hardly use your edges. Stay low,
almost sit on your board. Whoops sometimes you gap or you suck ’em up–it depends. But in general sucking is faster.
What's your setup?
I ride a board designed especially for BX. It’s not too wide,
rather small nose, and tail not too stiff (I’m a light weight) but very
“ollie-friendly.” I wear Northwave boots (ladies)–the stiffest available and Flow carbon bindings which give my ankles the best protection.
That was in December, '96 a Swatch BX in Val d’Isère (F).
Should BX be in the Olympics?
Yes, because then I can win a gold medal. No, because then you have
to qualify in FIS races.
What kind of safety equipment do you use?
I have a full-face helmet from Protec (thanks Archerman) I used to
land on my face a lot. Then I wear a back and a butt protection from
Dainese which are especially designed for the bx riders.
Whose gonna win next year?
Christoph Maierhofer and me, hopefully. Then we can finally be on
the podium together.
What risks are involved?
There’s always the risk getting cut in half by the edges of a board
so we all use the protective gear. Somebody could fall in front of you
and you run into him or the other way round. I try to be in front so I
don’t have to watch out for the others.
How do you train?
Ride, ride, ride, only practice makes you a good rider.
None yet and I hope it stays this way.
What makes a good course?
It should have a smooth flow. You should be able to ride it
fast. I personally like big jumps (so everybody’s scared) with
proper proportions so you don’t land in the flat (knees and hip) fly,
fly, fly. It should not be too narrow so you can pass. The start should
be equal for all riders, which is very hard to build. There’s almost
always a line which is faster. It’s a good thing if the course is
straight (with whoops and jumps, gaps and stuff) for the first 100 meters then nobody really has an advantage and the fastest rider (Holmenkol wax, yeah!) with the best technique gets in front.
What's it take to win?
It’s all in the head … and a lot of it in the start.
How much does it cost to compete for a season?
Without training camps, plus additional training around 15,000 -20,000 dollars–depends on the number of races and the host countries (Japan is pretty expensive).