With Anne-Flore Marxer petitioning for girls riding at Air&Style and the league of female freeskiers propelling the sport forward in warp speed, it was about time female riders were allowed to the Big Air city events, and freestyle.ch in Zurich made the start this year. We were more than curious to find out how the spectating crowd and the rest of the contestants would react to this female debut and sent a witness live to the grounds…
Words by Barbara Mayer
Any Swiss kid knows that “freestyle.ch” is synonym for “party hard”, even though no Swiss German dictionary would ever mention that. But the biggest freestyle event in Switzerland is a lot more roaring festival than sports competition, luring hordes of action sport loving teenagers and twens to the Landiwiese in Zurich year after year.
While you may think about inner city snowboard events and their distance to the mountains and its origins whatever you like, such happenings are a great opportunity for our beloved sports to present themselves to the mainstream and reach thousands of young adults. And for the first time ever, the girls were invited to stand their ground on the massive big air jump too.
32 meters in run, 13 meters table, 100 meters height and about 190 tons of snow made up the massive jump – those of you with a good sense of visual thinking will probably already shiver under the image of such a monster of a booter… Simply massive – and no smaller jump or short table for the ladies to dodge out in sight…
But the four reps of the strong sex, snowboarders Isabel Derungs and Sina Candrian plus freeskiers Emilia Wint and Virginie Faivre, weren’t even looking for that. Instead they gave everything performing with and against the guys in the infamous Crossover Session on Saturday night. And the crowd rewarded such bravery instantly, with the Swiss snowboarders earning especially big ups from the male crowd: „Man, the girls rocked it, while the guys just played it save! I mean, did you see those FS 7s and BS Rodeos? And they landed them perfectly.“
Deservedly, Sina made it through to the Superfinal with her clean FS 7 Method, but had to surrender to local freeskier Elias Ambühl’s Dub 1440 Tailgrab in the end. Still a great success for Sina, all alleged home field advantages aside…
Fellow pro rider Helene Nadig for Zimtstern was super excited to watch the girls too: “They’re proper spin machines! I think they’ll get used to the big kickers pretty soon and rock them big time. Whatever the guys can do, girls can too – it just takes a little longer. And what they can’t do, we can do even better!” Jib queen Gaia Giacomazzi was pretty stoked about the female debut as well, although she’d prefer a girls’ ranking. “I also heard rumours that some girls bailed out because it was too sketchy, which is a real pity.”
They did have their own tab on the freestyle.ch website – but weren’t listed in their respective sports at all unfortunately, putting visitors on a bit of a search mission looking for the female riders. Obviously a minor point but still room for improvement (not even mentioning a female contest…)
But after all it was the first time ever and we were more than excited to be witness to this mile stone in female snowboarding as well as the history of inner city events and are already looking forward to next year’s event, hoping for even more girl competitors. In the mean time, here are the video highlights from this year’s Crossover Session: