Words & Photos by Ed
Day 2 of the FS04 Freeze at London’s Battersea Power Station brought massive crowds and some wicked riding over the giant kicker. The FIS World Tour event featured some of the world’s best competition riders, including the likes of Chris Sorman, Janne Korpi and Roope Tonteri. We even had an appearance from Norwegian spin king Ulrik Badertscher – who recently sparked a massive debate amongst the snowboard community by stomping the world’s first 1620 (check it out here and see if you think it’s ugly or not).
Holding their own against this intimidating field of pros were British riders Ben Kilner, Jamie Nicholls, Nate Kern and Jack Shackleton. Kilner in particular was impressive in the heats, throwing down some sick inverted 720s like this one (below) to finish in 14th out of 53 competitors.
With day turning to night, the final came down to a battle of the spins, with 900s, 1080s and even the odd 1260 being stomped on the steep and tricky landing. When it comes to technical tricks and consistency the euros really are in a different league – though as Ed Leigh found out during his post-jump interviews, they’re not the most chatty! In the end it was Austrian birthday boy Stefan Gimpl – at 30 years old, the oldest guy in the competition – who proved the merits of experience over youth. Gimpl, who holds the record for his three consecutive wins at the prestigious Air & Style event between 1999 and 2001, seems to have lost none of his legendary pop and cat-like landing ability, pulling a flawless 1080 to claim first place.
With the comp over it was over to the music tent to rock out with The Eagles of Death Metal. The 2009 Freeze event has been a notable step-up from last year and the London crowd (many of whom had turned up in Halloween dress) seemed to love it. Hopefully that can only mean more people getting into snowboarding in the future. Bring on next year!
FIS Big Air Results
1st Stefan Gimpl (Aust)
2nd Gian-Luica Cavigelli (Swi)
3rd = Domen Bizjak / Matevz Pristavec (Slo)
14th Ben Kilner (UK)
20th Nate Kern (UK)
27th Jamie Nicholls (UK)
47th Jack Shackleton (UK)