Well, it’s been one heck of a week. We’ve had sun, we’ve had snow, and we’ve had one amazing event to take our minds off of our desolate bank accounts, the fat tyre forming around out waists, and of course, the fact that we’re slacking off at work, again.
The Frostgun Invitiational, hosted in Val d’Isère for the first time this year, is a Danish-based big air freestyle event where some of the world’s best skiers go head to head, throwing down some of the hardest tricks imaginable in front of thousands of people. In addition to this amazing demonstration of athletic prowess, the Frostgun Invitational also means hosting some of the biggest DJs at our favorite spots in Val including La Folie Douce and La Doudoune. This year’s invitational, brought to us by Michael Fugmann and his crazy crew of cronies, was based right at the bottom of the Face, an ironic location as this is also the site for the World Championship ski races. Luckily for us, it would seem that the racing town of Val d’Isère is more than ready to bring freestyle skiing to the forefront!
To say that it was an incredible event is the hugest understatement of the century. With slopestyle qualifiers being cancelled in Sochi and a slue of skiers winning wild cards to the event, the Frostgun Invitational hosted a good 26 athletes bringing big air contests in Europe to the next level. Although the jump’s steep take off and flat landing were of strong concern on the eve of the contest, the skiers stepped up and threw down through training rounds, qualifiers, semis, and finals to please the thousand people deep crowd. PK Hunder, the oldest of the group, had to be pulled around on his skis in between take offs due to knee injuries and still managed to come in 5th! Apparently, when asked if he was disappointed, he stated that he was rather relieved to not have had a spot on the podium; he didn’t know if his knees could take them up there! He wasn’t the only Norwegian representing his country well as Johan Berg took 2nd place and Aleksander Aurdal took 6th. However, it was still the stylish Canadians that took it home with Alex Bellemare owning 1st place and Vincent Gagnier taking 3rd.
We’ll admit, after a contest like that with professional skiers dominating a 35-meter booter, we kind of started getting down on our own riding level. Thankfully, the cloudy skies and snow left us just as the 2000 danish students who came specifically for Frostgun had departed, giving us absolutely prime conditions to play with. After an off-piste session, we’ve been sure to rip up every single piste we can find, whether its another run up Grande Motte, le Fornet, or a good old run to la Daille. With the cooler temperatures we’ve been having the last couple of days, the snow has been left intact and at times the sun has even been shining over the entire Espace Killy. Sure, we have to play hide-and-seek with the sun here and there, but badlight serves as a timely reminder that we aren't quite Frostgun level heroes yet!
Thankfully, we have 2 more months of awesome snow times ahead to get our riding to their level.