On Saturday 14th March, while Liverpool were crushing Manchester Utd at Old Trafford, Meribel's Moon Park played host to the latest round of Volcom's Peanut Butter and Rail Jam.
As is the tradition in froggy land, a free barbecue loaded with Merguez sausages kicked things off, to be washed down with three tasty jibs: a step-down box, a flat-down rail and a wooden hurdle of death.
Conditions couldn't have been more perfect, with bluebird skies all day and the snow softening up nicely for that classic springtime atmosphere. The local guys were throwing down hard, with some über technical spins onto the box, while the girls' event was dominated by the burly skills of Nina Manich, who looked a lot like MFM with her baggy-ass jacket flailing in the wind.
Each of the riding groups (men, women, kids) was given a few minutes to strut their stuff on each of the obstacles in a loose jam format, while the French MC got increasingly excitable on the microphone.
Since the UK indoor leg had been cancelled, Volcom's European HQ decreed that Meribel would also double as the British stop for the tour (presumably because the 3 Valleys is full of British seasonaires). Unfortunately word didn't get out early enough to see many of the Brit contingent enter, but 13 year-old Lewis Courtier-Jones from Coventry stepped up to the plate to claim victory in the under 15s category. Lewis is a member of Team GB and has been impressing on the Burton Am Tour all season. What with the French getting hammered in the rugby the same weekend it was a nice little bonus to see him smash the garlic-eaters in their own back yard. Keep an eye on him next season...
With the women's event looking sewn up, it was up to the senior men to provide some spice in the final. The DJ threw on 70s classic 'Kung Fu Fighting' and the riders (or "les ninjas", as the MC christened them) prepared to do battle. High speed spinning carnage ensued, with guys hucking rodeos over the wooden hurdle of death and gapping almost the entire step-down box.
When the dust settled it was Jerome Le Coguic who got the nod, possibly for having the most French name of all the entrants? He and the other winners will now be invited to attend the Peanut Butter & Rail Jam final in Gstaad-Les Diablerets on 18th April.
Keep up with all 11 European stops, as well as the worldwide legs of the PBRJ tour, at volcom.com
Men 1. Jerome Le Coguic 2. Vincent Bosson 3. Tom Gerin 4=Damien Gardenal/Paco Gamberlin
Women 1. Nina Manich 2. Anouk Grau 3. Virgine Chabert 4. Fatima Soualem
Under 15s 1. Lewis Courtier-Jones (UK) 2. Loic Leray 3. Matvey Avkimovich 4. Maximilien Champlong