A poultry excuse: missing the Roxy Chicken Jam…
Me early? Something had to be wrong. And there was: standing at Stansted airport looking up at the flight departures board I couldn’t see my 13.30 flight to Salzburg. Then it dawned on me: I should be at Gatwick. Two hours away on the other side of town, I was going to miss my flight – the ultimate school girl faux pas.
Gutted is an understatement. Especially as one blonde mistake was about to cost me an awesome weekend shredding with the world’s best women snowboarders at the Roxy Chicken Jam Europe 2006 which was starting as I was stressing in London.
On Friday December 15, under bluebird skies and gorgeous sunshine, the finest female freestyle talent rocked up to Kaprun, Austria to session the Kitzsteinhorn Glacier for the first all-girl six star event of the season. Organised by Tina Birbaum the event is all about fun, as the riders use the relaxed jam format to express themselves and show off their skills – on plastic, snow or metal.
In a specially created park of tabletops, kickers, rollers and step up jumps, a plethora of rails and fun boxes, plus a hip, the first comp of the event was Friday’s wildcard qualifications. Alongside the top 25 invited riders, five amateur girls also won places to enter the main event: Haller Ursina (Switzerland), Bleicher Conny (Germany), Stevulova Basa (Sweden), Gecek Sandy (Austria) and Schmied Fabiana (Switzerland).
Pre the main event Friday night’s après was chilled with as journalists, sponsors, and organisers, joined Kjersti Buaas, Stine Brun-Kjeldaas, Cheryl Maas and other riders at the Ski Sportstall Hotel’s for some Austrian bowling, organised by Roxy Switzerland.
But it was on Saturday December 16th that the girl’s competitive spirit really came out. With her ballsy, fearless style 2005/06 Women’s TTR champion Cheryl Maas was the favourite to win. On the day she stomped frontside boardslide to fakie on the street rails, a cab 180 on to backside 360 down the butter box, a huge backside 720 on the big kicker and a backside air at the quarter pipe. But it wasn’t enough to win – as Cheryl took second place.
With years of competition experience, Britain’s Jenny Jones, 05/06 WTTR number 2, was the Dutch 22 year old’s strongest rival. Pulling off a boardslide to fakie, a huge backside 360, frontside 540 nose grab and backside air at the quarter pipe Jenny may have been consistent but her consistency wasn’t enough to take first place as she came third.
Instead American Jamie Anderson, took the crown with a frontside boardslide to fakie, cab 540, frontside 360 and a huge McTwist on the quarterpipe. With fellow invited riders from across the pond (i.e. Canada’s Leanne Pelosi and Natascha Zurek) deciding not to take part due to rumours of no snow, Anderson was a surprise winner of the 10 000 euros prize money and a Gibson Guitar. She also nabbed 1000 TTR points which took her to the top of the Women’s World Snowboard tour leading her to top the rankings.
But the biggest props must go to the organisers of the, who were faced with the near impossible of task of relocating the entire event, after no snow fell at their original location of St Moritz in Switzerland. Determined not to let the lack of the white stuff stop their fun, they pulled out all the stops to reorganise the event within a week: not an easy task when you consider Pro riders and snow media from across the world were having to readjusting travel plans.
Maybe they could help me next year and make sure I read my ticket before I leave the house. If I ever get over the shame…
Words: Gemma Freeman