Laax is in a sleepy slumber this morning, as the Brits hits its stride and revellers, competitors and holidaymakers made the most of the mid-week jump off with the Urban Knights last night. The drum n bass and dub step tested the Indy Club’s soundsystem to the max and you could tell many of the riders weren’t competing today, the place was rammed.
The British Snowboard and Freeski Championships has taken over Laax. Home to the Burton European Open, the European Freeskiing Open, the party-focused Riders Palace and the new Rocks Resort – square blocks of local stone and glass that have won much design acclaim – this is the heart of freestyle action. Pictured right is the Rocks, with halfpipe winner James Machon.
Pat Sharples, the freeskiing MC, reached fever pitch in his enthusiasm for the standard of riding in yesterday’s slopestyle contest, while James Thorne, MC for the snowboard events, is starting to fear for his safety after being targeted by a barrage of snowballs on the podium, and he knows it’s only going to get worse as the week goes on. He should do battle with banter - he'd win hands down.
We’ve already had the freeskiing halfpipe and slopestyle championships, plus the snowboardcross and big air earlier in the week. Full results will be posted later, but for now, it’s time to go and check out the Trespass Skiercross and SNO!zone snowboard halfpipe Championships. Expectations are high for the later event particularly – co-founder of the Brits Stu Brass will be competing in the masters class of the halfpipe.
It’s not all competitions and partying though, honest. There’s also demo testing of next year’s snowboards, boots and bindings from Volkl, Ride, K2, DC and Salomon – I tried out the poppy DC Biddy board yesterday, for free, which made the ride even sweeter. Or if you fancy hucking a new trick, there's the Cushe airbag (right) in the heart of the apres action, which has had a long line of exhibitions queueing up to hurl themselves into its pillowy soft landing all week.
Plus there’s the Garmin Downhill Challenge – borrow one of their GPS devices, again for free, and try and clock the fastest speed you can. Bag top spot on the leader board and you’ll win a place to next year’s Brits to defend your crown. There’s a media title too, but I’m wary to attempt it on a snowboard instead of skis. Will have to talk my colleague Emma into it instead, she’s super quick.
There’s still loads to come this week – tomorrow sees the Giro freeski Big Air and Animal snowboard Slopestyle Champs, then tomorrow night is the party night everyone’s talking about, the Animal Rock night. Dressing up is essential, Christian Stevenson will be on the decks, and you’ll be able to wield your axe Slash-style to Guitar Hero. Am gutted to be flying home early to miss it – better make the most of today instead.
For more pics, check out our gallery.