30. Kaunertal Opening 2015 presented by Blue Tomato This is how an anniversary has to go down! Even the most amazing events have to end sometime - and so did the 30th edition of the Snowpark Kaunertal Opening.
The anniversary party was one of it´s kind. Three blue bird days and phenomenal snow conditions framed the KTO in an outstanding manner.
Thousands of happy and stoked Freeskiers and Snowboarders enjoyed a surreal weekend at the Kaunertal Glacier inclusively a perfect shaped Snowpark spread on 4 different locations and setups. Vibes from 30 years of KTO history where combined and spread on this weekend.
The influence the Snowpark Opening had on the development of the scene was once again shown and lived by all people how took part at the event.
A mix of tradition and innovation formed the program. The latest gear of the upcoming season was shown at the huge Blue Tomato Testival, where everybody had the chance to find and test his or her potential dream equipment for free on all opening days. Next to the Testival area lots of side events and sessions went down.
Friday started in a smooth and chilled way with lots of happy faces. The Miniramp has been brought back to the glacier again for the first time in 15 years. A perfect transition from Skatepark to Snowpark built on 3000 meters above elevation.
This Jib´n´Skate Playgound formed the stage for an epic “double-session” with the Deeluxe Miniramp Jam and the Downdays Rail Session. The high level of this year’s riders’ field and their positive attitude formed a solid base for sick battles and fun sessions, which will definitely be remembered for a long time.
A fun mix of Sessions and Side Events, like the Splitboard Workshop, the avalanche transceiver training field, DJ sound at the Red Bull Volvo and a spontaneous stand up concert at the Testival area were fantastic editions to the program. After a long day on the glacier, the snowstoked crowed met up at the daily After Ride Sessions powered by Blue Tomato, with a great atmosphere by Free BBQ and drinks.
A teaser of what´s about to happen this season at the Snowpark Kaunertal was the incredibly creative park setup. Ideal conditions and fun obstacles were perfect to bring on the early season moves and to get back in the zone of shredding. Fresh snowfall the week before the event made it possible to not only jib park and slopes, but also bring in the first off-piste turns for the season.
Day two of the Opening was formed by the athletic highlight of the weekend. 6000,- Euro overall prize money where put out there to be won at KTO Pro Contest. It has been an incredible performance by all riders, how were towed up the Snowpark by Yamaha sleds, if the lift line was packed.
Fife time in a row snowboard Pro Contest winner Eric Beachemin put his name out there again and showed everyone that he deserves to be all the way up on the podium. Maxi Preissinger, who also became Best Rookie and Clemens Millauer shared the podium with him. Mary Luggen became best female Rider of the snowboard contest, followed by Birgit Rofner, Julia Baumgartner and Martina Zollner.
Style gradates like Lukas Müllauer, Torge Nagel and Fabian Bösch dominated the Freeski Pro Contest. Lisa Zimmermann once again delivered an above and beyond performance and Lara Wolf tried hard to keep up with her.
Next to the jung guns, legends from 30 years of KTO Pro Contest history have been invited for the GoPro Legends Ridersclash and brought style and vibes from back in the day at the Snowpark Kaunertal parquet. On Sunday they teamed up with riders from the Amateur Contest in a new, fun and innovative contest format.
Air & Style Winner Marco Grilc, Steve Gruber, Sani Alibabic, Tadej Valentan, Chris Kröll and Tom Eberharter put themselves out there again and showed everyone what made them what they are today – Legends. Another program highlight has been the KTO Music Festival. Bilderbuch, one of Austria’s most promising bands created a Festival feeling at the party arena in Feichten on Friday.
On Saturday, Beginner Soundsystem – Denyo & Mad, Wax Wreckaz and the Bavarian Hip Hop combo Mundwerk Crew followed put the crowed and the stage on fire and made the Festival a massive and one of it´s kind birthday party. A calm and smooth atmosphere on Sunday summed the weekend up perfectly. Sunshine and great conditions on slopes and park created a solid last opening day.
Breathtaking views, white peaks with fresh snow and one happy and loving snow stoked community at the 30th KTO 2015. What more can you ask for. The anniversary lived up to it´s name and will be remembered for a long time. Snowpark Kaunertal officially opened and is ready to ride!
photos Janos Schmidt
photos Janos Schmidt