Australia, Great Britain, Iceland, Finland, Norway, Israel, Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, Austria, France. Nah guys, that’s not just a random list from a boring geography class, but the 11 countries of origin from the young shred pilgrims who entered the Zillertal to get to Mayrhofen last Saturday with one joint mission: Turning the freestyle-Mekka Penken Park into a premium slopestyle party. The youngest riders further proved that the new generation is well on track. The German twins Paulina and Florian Müller didn’t want to miss out on the Penken Battle und earned some descent applause from the Chill Area. The siblings are only 7 years old, yet share some savage freestyle genes.
That’s how Penken Battle 2019 was rolling. It was an absolute pleasure to watch the youngsters mastering the setup’s six 8-12m jumps and five jibs (start section: down rail or down tube; end section: rainbow rail, down rail or kink box).
Just by watching the prize giving, one could see that Penken Battle truly was an international contest. Every category brought winners from different countries.
The judges who watched the action from a knuckle of the pro jumps gave Norwegian Nicolay Nordahl the highest overall score in freeskiing. The rider started his line with a 270 onto the first rail, before spinning a switch (left side) 540 with safety grab. Now it was time for popping some corks. Switch (left side) 540 with double Japan grab and a (left side) Cork 7 Tail followed. On the last jib obstacle, Nicolay showed a steezy backslide. The Norwegian said later: “It felt so good to win. I was confident that I could win the contest after my runs. They felt good.” He seemed to be stoked about the vibes at Penken Park too: “The atmosphere at the park is always good. Everybody is so nice to each other.” Leon Ernhofer (GER) was runners-up and Noel Walser came in (AUT) third. The Best Trick Award also went to Scandinavia. Sami Lindsberg from Finland stomped a Cork 9 Blunt, earned €100 Cash and now has the chance to win a one-week surf trip at Free Spirit Hostel in Ecuador.
In the category Groms Men, Luis Resch (AUT) showed the best run. Right Side 270 at the first jib, right side 5 nose, switch right side 5 Japan, right side cork 7 safety and a final slide in the end section meant the top position for the young Austrian. Brian Scherl (AUT) finished second and Hunter Gray (NL) third.
International variety was also visible among the freeski girls. German talent Muriel Mohr sent a nice 720 over the first advanced jump, followed by a more than solid run. She consequently reached the well-deserved first place. Sarah Schönach (AUT) was second on the podium, while her young twin tip colleague from Down Under Silje Kinkead (AUS) finished third.
While little Amber Fennell (GB) rocked the setup on her 12th birthday the rest of the riders stood small. She won confidently in the Women’s category as well as in the Groms Ladies ranking. In the Women’s category, her “Why ain’t you” teammate Cerys Allen (GB) finished second and Austria’s snowboard rookie Ronja Hänsel walked away with a strong third place. Another Brit – Darcy Jane - secured the second place among the Groms Ladies. The remaining position on the podium was taken by Dutch lady Sam van Lieshout (NL).
Penken Battle 2019 turned into a proper party for the royal riders of the Empire as more islanders conquered the podium. Gabe Adams performed an incredibly stylish 95-point run and was rewarded with the first place in the Men category. The young snowboarder went airborne after showing a 270 on – 270 off on the first rail. With a Backside 9, Switch Backside 7 and a terrific Cab 10 on the jumps, he left the judges with no other choice than putting him on the top position. A Frontside Hardway 270 onto the last down rail represented the grand finale of a very strong run. Gabe Adams – recently participant at the European Youth Olympic Winter Festival in Sarajevo – was seemingly happy about his victory: “I knew, I had to put down a run, I put down every day in training. And, yeah, I came out with a good result.” Scotsman Stuart Innes (GB) finished just behind his compatriot. Additionally, he could celebrate winning the Best Trick Award for his Switch Frontboard to Pretzel Out on the first rail. A familiar face of the QParks Tour completed the podium. Fynn Koenen (GER) – last week’s winner – secured a solid third place. Jokester Charlie Lane (GB) from the “Why ain’t you” crew won the Groms Men category in front of his teammate Hayden Harvey-Smith (GB) and Jascha Nuñez (AUT).
The prize giving meant the end of a wonderful day at the freestyle hotspot Penken Park. Neat weather, good vibes and motivated young guns made the Penken Battle 2019 unique. And the mighty snowpark once again proved, that it is a melting pot for international freestylers.