Words: Veera Vihervaara
Photos: Teemu Heljo
Wikipedia defines a catfight as "an altercation between women that often involves scratching, slapping and hair- pulling." Even though no such violence was seen at the 4 star TTR contest--Battery Catfight, the ladies still had to fight hard during the action-packed week that took place in Finland at the end of March.
In addition to the TTR comps, the week also included a video contest. The two teams were team Finland and team World, and the competition was fierce.
Battery Catfight took place at the ski resort Levi, right on the fells Finnish Lapland. The roots of this event go way back to 2004, when the organizers behind Catfight set up the first all-girls snowboard event in Finland. Along the years the event has grown bigger, changed its name and venue, and gained international interest. But one thing hasn't changed, the event has always been a relaxed get-together for girls and women who like to ride park and pipe regardless of their skill level.
The weather could've been better for the first few days, and all in all I think we experienced almost every type of weather. Throughout the week we had snow, rain, fog, sun, wind, it was intense. However the weather didn't stop the ladies from shredding, and both teams got a lot of nice moves caught on tape.
After a fun few days of filming, it was time to get serious by the end of the week because Friday was the 4 star TTR halfpipe contest. The Swiss rider Elena Köntz conquered the pipe and took home the first place prize for the second time in a row. The Finnish slopestyle machine Enni Rukajärvi was seen in the pipe for a change and took second place, while Natsuki Sato from Japan landed in third.
Friday kept the girls busy because after the pipe contest it was time for another contest, the Reissumies Rail Jam. The rail jam was really popular among the ladies: altogether there were over thirty riders and they were divided into three different heats.
The rail setup included a flat-down rail, a straight rail with a kink in the end, and a straight funbox. The rail jam ended up being dominated by the Finns as Vilina Koivisto was crowned the overall winner, Enni Rukajärvi was rewarded with a style award, and Kristiina Nyman nailed the best trick with a solid frontside boardslide on the donkey rail.
After the rail jam everyone headed to the club where the results of the video contest were announced. The judges which consisted of Enni Rukajärvi, Roope Tonteri, Satu Järvelä and Mel Simmons decided to give out the best team and best rider prizes to team Finland and Ruut Laukkanen. Team World received the prizes for best filmer and best mentor.
The team whose video got most views in YouTube during the two weeks after the event also won 1000 euros. The team spirit of team World really paid off, because their teams' video received more views than team Finland's and the prize money went abroad. The money was split between the best rider in the video (who was Elena Köntz) and the filmer Jere Toivonen. Elena Köntz described the video contest as nice change from regular contests: "Levi is a nice place and as we went riding in the whole resort looking for spots to film we got to see so much more of this place than if we would just been riding in the park."
Battery Catfight ended with a 4 star TTR Burton slopestyle on Saturday. The weather was sunny as ever, but a slightly fitful wind made things a bit interesting for the competitors. Unfortunately in the morning we also witnessed some nasty slams, when birthday girl Ruut Laukkanen, turning 20 the same day, overshot one jump and hurt her back. Doctors had to operate on her back, but luckily it went well and Ruut should be back on board next season. We wish this sweetheart a speedy recovery!
The competition itself was really exciting. Swedish rider Cecilia Larsen was ruling the qualifications, but Enni Rukajärvi took over in the finals and won the slopestyle with some strong performances. Enni stomped three different runs in the finals, but the best one, scoring 94.3 points, consisted of a frontside 360 nosebonk, 540's in three different directions and a switch backside boardslide. Elena Köntz got second with a score of 78, and Cecilia ended up in third (score 70.7). Enni also claimed the title of Overall Champion in Battery Catfight which was based on the success in all three contests.
Originally Enni Rukajärvi wasn't even planning on coming to Battery Catfight this year, but in the middle of the week Enni had a change of heart and decided she wanted to be there after all. Organizers were happy to hear a lot of positive comments about the event from the riders. Cecilia Larsen summed the week up in her blog as following: "It´s been a great week in Levi. Good weather with snow, sun, blue sky, a nice park, kickers, pipe, filming, taking photos, competing, Dumle, Reissumies, porridge and more. It was my best week of the season!" I think that pretty much wraps up Battery Catfight 2012, see you there next year!