BUDS ’09 – Muddy Madness on a Scottish hill

The British Universities Dryslope championship went off in a big way from the 13th-14th November at Hillend near Edinburgh. As per usual it was a ridiculously messy weekend involving pissups, parties, precipitation and predictably brush covered pistes.

Syndicate’s Sketch sent us the match report:

“Friday the 13th is never going to be a good day to embark on a weekend of carnage, especially when those invited were 1500 students from all over the UK intent on their Uni being number 1. In everyway. No. 1 at racing, at freestyle, at drinking and at being the loudest… Welcome to BUDS ’09, where those that couldn’t do racing or freestyle had an array of events to study whilst finding new and inventive ways to down a bottle of cider and dress as pirates, while those that could put on a damn good show.

For those who are new to the uni snowsports thing and are already dismissing this as a bunch of pissed up students the idea of BUSC is simple. Each year new committees put up bids to host all the inter uni events (dryslope, indoor and finally alpine championships) and out do the last guys with style. Last year it was Loughborough, this year a combined force of Tyneside Universities and next year, as announced at BUDS, it will be the chance of a combined Bristol unis crew. And the size of what this is becoming is shown no better than the increasing level of sponsorship that is being attracted: Rome, Westbeach, Redbull, Snowzone, Syndicate and Freezeproshop as well as Whitelines.

Craig Howie heads for the North Sea - Photo: Mat Hay

Split over 2 days, the Friday hosted the Syndicate slopestyle with over 150 competitors a jam session was the choice of the day seeing almost as many slams as the tequila party later that night. Those that had made the transition from the snowdomes were getting a harsh lesson in the world of dryslope. The rails were beside the bar, which helped on the Dutch courage front and the kicker beside the Redbull dj truck, which helped with the motivation front. Extra obstacles were added from the other side of the slope when some pirates made a massive catapult and started firing water bombs into the 500 strong crowd. There were a lot of easy targets but none more so than Fatty McChatty the comedy fat bird from Bournemouth who hadn’t been on the carb free lager. These that have competed or witnessed a comp at Hillend will know that as soon as the sun fades and the floodlights come on the level of riding steps up which then makes the crowd ante up. Soon riders such as Andrew Flynn, Paul Smart, Ben Venn, Ally Gray and John Barnes were dominating rails and kickers as the dj banged out some anthems and the mc had the crowd bouncing as one the final was kicking off. However it was those that had the Hillend experience that shone even brighter than the floodlights with Davy Zyw and Ono Manchini standing either side on the podium with Craig Howie the champ. The girls were doing themselves justice standouts being Seona Paxton and Sarah Newton with Elly Redmore edging it.

Stu Gairns holds his nose and dives in - Photo: Mat Hay

Saturday was the highlight as always with Rome bringing their flying circus mark 2 and being the sponsors for the day battling it out with the freezeproshop team and the uni riders it really was show time. Starting mid afternoon it gave everyone time to sober up then start getting tanked up again the sun once again faded behind the hills and was replaced by the big air battle Rome’s shit chat Will Smith led the way o the exhibition front as him and mark Watson laid down big heelside rodeos. The Rome flying circus 2 (2 ft Pete Meadows, Stew Gairns and Mark McClement) hit up trains, each steezing out their own unique styles of front and back 7s leaving the crowd offering them beer and invites to parties which left the kids a wee bit bemused by it all. On the uni front it was the same usual suspects as the day previous along with Chris Meadows (who must hate his wee brother dominating his ass) and Kyle Wise. The crowd was so large come the final that it was spilling over onto the other slope and racing had to be delayed this gave the big air final even more focus. Extra mats were laid to gain the longest run in and biggest air possible. Sprinklers on the run in lubed up the battle commenced. Cab 5s were beat by front 7s which were then beat by toedeos and heelside rodeos switch underflips blown away by misty 7s but the final word was left to Craig Howie going larger than anyone by a fair distance front 9 tail stomped clean seen off Paul smart and Ben Venn to take the crown. As the crowd then converged into the landing area to have a dance off the riders left the moshpit behind knowing they had just been part of the biggest and best BUDS big air event to date. The crowd and riders love it those that have to clean up hate it but with such a great venue and large numbers lets hope it’s massive success and growth isn’t what ends up being it’s downfall.”

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