Soâ¦ did that really just happen?
For all of you that didnât make it to London last weekend you missed out on an epicâ¦ epic Saturday. And if youâre as stoked on snowboarding as we are, it was a Saturday that could have smashed the Olympic âSuper Saturdayâ out of the water. The 2012 Freeze Festival, now in its 5th year is being hailed as the greatest ever, not only for the level of snowboarding on show but also from the incredible line up of artists performing. Even culminating in Public Enemy smashing Battersea Power Station a new one straight after the snowboarding international competition had drawn to a close on the Saturday night. But more news on that incredible competition later, first off hereâs a brief roundup of other highlights.
The Freeze Festival opened its gates to party goers and winter sports fans alike from Friday afternoon and featured two Ski Big Air Comps. First up the Ski Union Battle of Britain followed by the Big Air International Invitational event. But Boarding fans were still in with a treat as an international field of pro snowboarders took to the snow to hussle their way through a Style Comp to beat all Style Comps. Featuring such big names as Halldor and Eiki Helgason, Staale Sandbach, Roopi Tonteri and Gjermund Braaten the comp literally went off.
Giving the riders more freedom and expression the Style Comp focuses more on how the riders perform a trick instead of how many times they can spin round in the air. So from simple BS180âs to huge double backflips it was down to the riders to pick a trick they could put as much style into as possible. Despite some sick riding from the likes of Roope Tonteri and Werni Stock it was Sven Thorgren who took the win with a huge floaty BS Rodeo Nosegrab. DJ Shadow then took to the decks to finish off a great start to the festival and a perfect beginning to the incredible snowboarding action we would continue to see.
Overnight the snow technicians took to the slopes to create a fresh covering of the white stuff for Saturdayâs day of Snowboarding. But apparently neednât have tried so hard as apparently it got so cold that at 3am they had a thin white layer of natural snow across the entire site. But itâs a good job they did as they little rain we had on Saturday afternoon soon helped to begin the melting process.
Saturday morning we all woke anticipating what the day could bring, how the Whitelines Battle of Britain would unfold and how our UK riders would fair against a field of truly world class riders in the invitational competition. Kicking off the proceedings the Whitelines Battle of Britain comp featured the best British riders on the enormous Big Air Kicker and included our very own R1 Team Riders Will Radula-Scott and Cody Hierons.
As many riders struggled with the high cross winds it took a few of them a while to find their feet but it wasnât long before we had a proper battle on our hands. With three Wildcard spots available in the Pro Invitational later that day the chance to compete at such a high level was too hard to resist. And when all was said and done it was Dom Harrington that emerged top of the pile, closely followed by Route Oneâs very own Cody Hierons. A great result for Cody on a day when he struggled with speed and couldnât quite land his BS9âs. He even mentioned he had a BS10 in his trick bag but unfortunately it wasnât to be. Next year fella.
As the day progressed the atmosphere became more intense and when the Invitational Riders took to the slopes the gathered crowds were screaming out to see some proper world class riding. Amongst the field we had winners of such big comps as the US X-Games, the Burton European Open and the Beijing Air & Style, truly a world class offering.
The pro comp began with all 20 riders putting down two runs each to seed them in the knockout rounds. Best run counts in this stage of the competition which meant most riders putting down safety runs first time around to secure a good draw for the knockout stages. But even at this stage we saw Switch BS900âs, Double Corked 1080âs and Cab900âs. The level of riding was insane, but the British guys still held their own against the world class field. Jamie Nicholls had some super flat BS1080 Muteâs and Billy Morgan was stomping the living bejesus out of his world famous Rodeoâs. Only the double this time though, but still super laid back and stylish. Cody Hierons continued to search for his BS900 but unfortunately it wasnât to be.
In the knockout rounds our team riders continued to do well with Billy being drawn against up and coming Brit Jamie Trinder. Not being afraid to push his inverted tricks Jamie stomped a Double Front Flip to push Billy to take it to the next level. Billy answered backÂ and confidently moved through to the next round. With other top notch riding from fellow BritsÂ Nate Kern and Jamie Nicholls UK riders continued to hold their own and move through to the next round of eliminations.
But the dream sadly couldnât last forever and in the end the field was reduced to Marko Grigis, Max Parrot, Tor Lundstrom , Victor de le Rue and Billy Morgan for the super final.
With all riders required to complete 3 runs, the first a style run, then a tech run and finally a riderâs choice run the final began. After round one Billy was in second place after stomping a huge laid out Rodeo. But with a group of riders such as this it was a very close on points. For the tech round Billy dropped into the kicker with only one thing on his mind. BS1260 Double Cork.
And he was not to be disappointed as he finished his rotations clean and landed flat on his feet. As you can expect the crowd went nuts. The runs continued until Victor de la Rue scrubbed out on the landing of his final jump. Billyâs victory was confirmed and his name was etched into the history books as the first Brit to win the London Freeze Festival. This meant that his final run wasnât needed and it gave him the chance to soak up the glory and the love from the London crowd with a huge laid out crowd pleasing backflip. The Freeze hosted an incredible competition that saw not only a Brit, but a Route One rider take the top title in a world class competition, the event that secured Billy Morgan as the man to watch in the world snowboard scene.
Freezeâs Super Saturday was finished off with Public Enemy rocking out the crowd in fine style and keeping thousands of winter sports fans bouncing until the early hours. Bring on next year!