Words: Sam Nelson Photos: Russ Shea (www.dopeshots.com)
Although only open for 6 weeks the Hemel Snow Centre managed to get the FBBB guys in and put on the centre's first bona-fide event.
Having been every Friday for the last 4 weeks I can tell you that the park staff there are working super hard and constantly thinking of ways to improve and progress the Friday night park session. This Friday was no exception, the FBBB guys moved in on Thursday and spent most of the night and all Friday establishing a tightly packed but fun set up for the 150 plus entrants, Hemels busiest night so far no doubt. Once again demonstrating just how hard riders work in the UK to get their fix on, some keensters even making the trip from Scotland, thats some 300 miles away!
Under the subtle but spacious lighting that Hemel is now being recognized for, riders were greeted by four choices at the top, a slanted box ride (stuffed full of DC shoes), vertical and horizontal barrels and a rubber tyre pyramid with which to tap, stall or in my case fall over. These led into the piece de resistance, a make shift snow stair set with down rail and down box, before the rocket box and jump sent you back to the lift line. Once again jam sessions seemed to be order of the day as the FBBB judges looked out for the smoothest and most technical riders (of which there were many) to advance to the final. I'm constantly surprised by the level of rail riding and jibbing the UK youngsters are getting up to, its hard to see where this will stop as our halls seem entirely appropriate to this discipline. Just watch Matt Higson, Gareth Andrews or Sparrow Knox sliding the steel and you'll see what I mean, they can do more tricks in one go than I've done in my whole life.
Following the relaxed mellow vibe of the comp that FBBB is synonymous with creating, 11 riders including Whitelines very own Craig Scrivener (there's life in the old dog yet) were given red bandanas as they were deemed to have rode the most consistently throughout and selected for the final. But pretty much no one walked away empty handed though, and pushed on by the DJs (Armitage skanks and NSB radio), Mikee Cee (FBBB front man) spent most of the night making sure people were having a good time whilst occasionally hollering through his megaphone and handing out goody bags.
Riders exhausted after 4 hours shredding but still throwing down to the last, the FBBB at Hemel was over. Spectators and riders made their way upstairs to the lounge bar for Hemels welder Steve Terrys raffle. Many brands kindly donated sought after product in aid of raising funds for the young Aaron Mcintosh as he begins to adjust to life sadly without his father, a prominent figure in the UK snowboarding scene.
Hemel Hempsted Snow Centre now has a benchmark by which to set its future events.