The slight pause comes to an end – here it is again, the European Freeski Open in LAAX, Switzerland. Europe‘s leading freestyle resort LAAX continues with its long-term freestyle tradition and organizes for the 7th time the AFP gold-event from March 27 to 29, 2014 offering CHF 30.000.- prize purse.
Slopestyle action with riders from 18 countries: amateur riders will challenge pros
More than 100 riders form 18 nations are registered for the open qualification and prepared to drop-in the new Slopestyle course on Crap Sogn Gion showing their skills to the audience and judges. The best riders from the qualification heats will proceed to the semi-finals to challenge the invited freeski pros. Who will show the newest tricks?
Who will impress with the most style in the rail-section? Who will spin the triple jump-line in a way that also the spectator’s heads are spinning? And who will have the best flow riding all six elements of the course? Nothing is sure. Nobody is safe. Every rider has two runs, best one counting. 5 women will jump into the big finals, battling for the titles and CHF 30.000.- prize-money.
The open contest format offers the opportunity to amateur riders to be part of an international high level competition just as newcomers to achieve a result mixed up with the pros. In previous editions of this event youngsters played for the first time to the gallery and some stars were rising out of the blue. You only have to compare the medal winners and finalists of the Olympic freeski premiere in February 2014 with the result lists of the European Freeski Open 2006-2011.
Back to the future: on the books of the 2014 invited riders are Bene Mayr (GER), Oscar Scherlin (SWE), Paddy Graham (GBR) and the Swiss-trio Kai Mahler, Elias Ambühl and Eveline Bhend. Pity that the multiple LAAX winner Virginie Faivre (SUI) is afflicted with an injury and forced to be a spectator instead of a competitor.
The qualifications will be covered by riders from North-America and Europe, headed by hosting country Switzerland with 30 signed-in riders. More than a dozen of French freeskiers are registered as well as lots of strong Vikings from Norway, Sweden and Denmark, plus riders from Finland, Italy, Austria & Germany; but also participants from countries without winter-sport tradition such as Greece, Russia, Hungary or the Netherlands are expected.
Freestyle & LAAX: professional conditions everywhere
Although the Pro-Line Snowpark Curnius will be reserved for the competitors from March 26 to 29, 2014, LAAX offers a wide range of riding possibilities to all enthusiastic freestylers during the event-period – whether it’s their first go on the rail or on larger kickers. The beginner’s area with its own snowpark is a great unique feature. In the Snowpark Ils Plauns kickers and obstacles in medium size can be conquered by advanced riders. Snowpark Curnius invites to ride rails and boxes on a length of 1000 meters, right in parallel to the international cracks. Next to the huge superpipe in NoName park there is a minipipe. Café NoName is the place to be for a shredding break: to meet and greet the contest riders or to enjoy the great view to the mountain panorama and the upper part of the Slopestyle. If that’s not enough freestyle, head over to the Freestyle Academy right by the LAAX valley station. Alongside the trampolines, skate-bowl, miniramp and rail slope, the heart of the indoor base is the big air with kickers at various heights.
photos Janos Schmidt