Category Archives: Events

X rated weekend

Smooth style and a sweet board!

Danny Davis: smooth style and a sweet board!

Like most other snowboarding enthusiasts I spent this weekend following the X Games in Aspen. As one of the biggest events on the snowboarding calendar, it always delivers some awesome riding, and this year was no exception. There was upset and excitement across the board with hardly anything going as expected.

One notable absence from the proceedings was Shaun White who has competed in every X Games since he was 13 but decided to sit this one out in order to focus on the Olympics. This left the playing field open for one of his many rivals to step up and steal his crown.

However, just who that would be was far from predictable with close fought battles resulting in surprise victories in both the Slopestyle and SuperPipe. In the Slopestyle Canadian Max Parrot snatched gold from fellow countryman and favourite, Mark McMorris, by less than a point with 2 super technical runs, which included back-to-back triples.

There was also a crazy amount of spinning going on in the SuperPipe final but it was Danny Davis who took gold with his super smooth style and perfectly executed tricks, proving that it’s not all about the number of spins you can cram into a run. Fellow American Louie Vito took time out from hosting the games to win silver.

There was just as much excitement in the women’s events where we witnessed some of the most progressive women’s riding ever seen. There was upset in the Slopestyle when Norwegian Silje Norendal stole gold from queen of Slopestyle, Jamie Anderson. Aimee Fuller also put in a solid performance, managing to land her double backflip and finish in 7th place.

One of the biggest shocks of the games was 13 year old American Chloe Kim who took silver in the SuperPipe with a couple of incredible runs, making her the youngest X Games medalist ever. Kelly Clark won her 12th gold medal making her the most successful female in X Games history, and the only one that I would have won any money on at the bookies!

Over to you…

Did you manage to catch any of the X Games? What was your highlight?

All mended for Spring Break

IMG_3114Last week I joined 250 other UK snowboard enthusiasts at the Spring Break snowboard test in Kaunertal, Austria, for a week of spring shredding, snowboard testing and parties.

Formerly known as The Snowboard Test, it was previously an industry event for snowboarding brands to showcase their new season gear to shops, pro riders, journalists and other industry insiders. I attended last year and it was a great event. This year, however, organiser Ian Sansom, editor of The Reason magazine, decided to open the event to the public so that they too can get their hands on next season’s new snowboards, bindings, boots and IMG_3100outerwear before they hit the shops later in the year. The result was a bigger and even better event than ever, which attracted every snowboarding brand imaginable and a collective of the UK’s best riders, not to mention an appearance from the legendary Gigi Rüf!

The main hub of activity was the test centre at the mountain base where excited riders got hooked up with one awesome board after another. Surrounded by stands brimming with all the latest snowboarding gear just waiting to be picked up and taken for a ride, never has the saying “like a kid in a sweet shop” resonated so strongly. Stoke levels were even higher on the mountain as we put them through their paces on the super fun slopes of the Kaunertal glacier.

Spring Break compsTesting sessions were interspersed with some great on-mountain events where the crème de la crème of UK shredding showed us how it’s really done. Whitelines hosted their annual rail jam which saw the likes of Andy Nudds, Ollie Dutton and Will Smith go head to head on a massive stairset feature in the Kaunertal snowpark. Dragon Alliance also put on a Methodical Madness competition where the usual suspects battled it out to pull the best method off a sweet hip, and The Reason Mag and Monster ran a big air comp which saw some impressive tricks being stomped in front of, and at times into, a reverent crowd.

Spring Break partiesOff the slopes, parties were plentiful and largely centered around the Pfiffalm Bar in the village. Sunday night was the Whitelines party, which featured an impromptu guest appearance from DJ JB John who went down a storm. Tuesday night was another big one which kicked off with the Analog après party up the mountain. Back in the village the awesome guys from Westbeach got the barbecue going and fed us all before we headed inside for the Monster party, which went off when stoner rock band, Steak, took to the stage.

On a personal level, it was great for me to get back on the proverbial horse, or actual board, after my injury earlier in the season. Although I’d had a day at Glenshee a few weeks earlier, I’d taken it easy to make sure I didn’t fall. For some reason I felt much more anxious than I had after a much worse break to my ankle a few years ago, but I think that’s because it’s only just mended. That, and the realisation that I break much more easily these days has finally begun to sink in! 

Still a bit tentative with the grab!

Still a bit tentative with the grab!

After a tentative start in Kaunertal, I soon lost the fear and began to let go. My biggest worry had been getting back to riding switch and risking falling on my arm in the same way I did when I broke it, but I took the plunge and the fear subsided. Riding switch led to 180s and I did eventually fall on my arm, but although it hurt a bit, it was fine and I got up and rode off, happy that I’d managed to overcome that mental barrier!

It’s always sad when the season draws to a close, but I can’t think of a better way to have ended it than getting stoked for next season with a load of people who share your passion. It definitely lived up to its Twitter hashtag of #bestweekoftheyear. By the end of the week I was a little weary from intensive board testing and partying, but elated from an awesome few days testing out some sweet new gear, catching up with some great people, and achieving my own little goal of getting back on the board before the end of the season. Roll on winter 2013/14!

But until then, I’m rolling out the bike…

To find out more about what went down at Spring Break check out my review for Snowboarding Deals UK.

I’ll also be writing reviews on all the gear we tested for Snowboarding Deals UK over the coming weeks, so keep an eye on the site for those, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter for updates.

For more photos head to the Riding Switch Facebook page.

Winter X Games Europe 2012: Tignes host another Xcellent event

The third Winter X Games Europe in Tignes has just come to an end and once again proved itself to be just as exciting an event as its North American progenitor.

Shaun White mid-flight

I was fortunate enough to be in Tignes for the first European X Games in 2010, and even in that first year it was world class event. I was working for the resort that season and it was evident that they were taking their task of recreating this massive competition in Europe very seriously. The event staff had been sent over to the Aspen for the US contest to see how it was run, and the park shapers and maintenance staff were trained by the guys who shape the park over there. They even brought the Zaugg Pipe Monster over from the US in order to replicate Aspen’s massive X Games superpipe.

Kelly Clark winning gold in the superpipe

Thanks to their thorough preparation and dedication, the event was a triumph. So much so that that they earned themselves the gig for the subsequent two years, and the Winter X Games Europe are now as synonymous with Tignes as the X Games are with Aspen.

This year’s event was arguably the best yet with incredible performances in both the superpipe and slopestyle. The bar was also raised by Shaun White who made his first appearance at the X Games Europe, and dominated both events. The women’s snowboard superpipe was won by the indomitable Kelly Clark who landed a massive frontside 1080 and secured her 17th consecutive win. Fellow American, Jamie Anderson clinched her 5th X Games gold medal in the women’s snowboard slopestyle with an incredible score of 98.

The UK also had its best ever representation with three of our world class snowboarders competing in the finals. Former X Games champion, Jenny Jones came 7th overall in the women’s snowboard slopestyle, with rising star Aimee Fuller coming just behind her in 9th. Our main man Jamie Nicholls put down his best ever run to take 8th place in the men’s snowboard slopestyle, which is a seriously good result considering he was competing against the likes of Shaun White and Mark McMorris! But Britain’s best result came from skier James “Woodsy” Woods who came fourth in the men’s ski slopestyle.

Jamie Nicholls practicing ahead of his fantastic performance in the slopestyle

Tignes have made the Winter X Games Europe as big an event as its American counterpart, and the only down side to this is that it now attracts their best competitors, who dominated the medals tables this year. Europe has some very strong contenders though, and with a good number of them coming from our very own shores, it’s a very exciting time for British freestyle snowsports.

Did you catch any of the X Games in Tignes? What was the highlight for you? Leave a comment below…