„Free the stage“ was the motto of the day at Snowpark U-Bahn in Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn on Saturday, Jan 26. But in this case, the artists involved didn’t wear questionable clown costumes or looked like lion tamers. No – they stole the show in their snowboard and freeski gear. And they probably wouldn’t call themselves artists as they don’t have anything to do with trapezes and wild animals jumping through burning hoops. No no no, they jump over kickers to gain airtime and are rather known as shredders, freeskiers or snowboarders – long story short, we’re of course talking about freestylers! At the QParks Tour’s Lit Night Jam they were literally in the spotlight for the whole day and (almost) the entire night!
No, we didn’t make a slip of the pen, the finals indeed started after dusk (around 6pm). But don’t freak out, the boys and girls didn’t need to test their night vision and they also didn’t challenge each other in a frightening pitch-dark park session. Why? The floodlit Snowpark U-Bahn turns nights into days, and this is exactly what happened during the first QParks Tour Stop in the Glemm valley. Snowboarder Felix Widnig was happy about that atmosphere: “Riding a night contest is always something special because everything is perfectly illuminated which is really different compared to the visibility during daytime.” Freeskier Paul Schweiger agreed: “The night contest was awesome. I wasn’t quite sure before how it is to ride in these light conditions, but the visibility was just extremely good. And the setup was shaped really well.”
Because of the snowfall in the morning, he was one of the last riders to register for the contest. Despite his late arrival, he showed two unbelievably solid runs and won the contest in the category Freeski Men: Patrick Schuchter. He started his run in the finals with a Left Corked 360 Safety on the first jump, speeded up a little bit and shot out a super stylish nose butter 9. Last but not least, he demonstrated a neat Switch Frontslide 270 Off on the final tube. He didn’t only win the Freeski Men category, but he also took home the Free Spirit Best Trick Award with his Nose Butter 9. That means 100€ cash right in his pocket and the chance to win a surf trip for two at the Free Spirit Hostel in Ecuador. Peter Mangold won the second place and Leo Buchholz was happy about his third place.
In the category Grom Men, Leo Buchholz even succeeded. His run consisting of a Corked 720 Safety, Flat Japan 3 and a Left Blind 450 Off on the industry rail was ranked highest by the judges. “The contest was freaking awesome. It was the first QParks Tour Stop I joined and I’m happy to take part again in the future.” - states the young German. The Top 3 were completed by Florian Pale and Fabian Tschiderer.
A snowboarder of the “Why ain’t you jibbin – team” celebrated two wins. Benedikt Fridbjörnsson didn’t only become first in the category Snowboard Grom Men, but also secured the top position in the overall Snowboard Men rankings. Challenging some older riders, the young Icelander performed a Cab 540 on the first jump, pulled off a clean Backside 360 on the second kicker and ended his run with a 50/50 Frontside 180 Out on the rail. This meant the second place for his British team colleague Gabe Adams and third position for Felix Widnig from Austria.
In the Groms ranking, Benedikt finished in front of the young Dutchman Jesse Willemsen (Team Shred Masters) and his “Why ain’t you jibbin” teammate Hayden Harvey-Smith.
In the Snowboard Women category, the Austrian Emma Lantos secured the top position confidently as she showed a very strong second final run. She started with a Cab 450 on jump number one, followed by a Backside 360 and finished her winning run with a 50/50 Frontside 180 on the rail. The Dutch women Sam Van Lieshout and Romy Van Vreden from the Shred Masters team conquered the second and the third place of the podium.
In the female Grom category Sam won, Romy came second and the impressing 11-year-old Amber Fennell from Great Britain (Team Why ain’t you) finished third.
Angelo Gastl took home the Free Spirit Best Trick Award which was well deserved after he showed an extremely stylish and massively sent Backside Rodeo 540 Melon. He did not only put 100€ prize money straight in his pocket, but he also has the chance to win a surf trip for two at the Free Spirit Hostel in Ecuador after the QParks Tour has finished.
The QParks Tour premiere at the Skicircus Saalbach Hinterglemm Leogang Fieberbrunn was a total success. The riders who took part in the first Lit Night Jam made the event live up to its name: It was #litaf!