Around 130 snowboarders and freeskiers — including Olympic champions and X Games winners — met at the Spring Battle in Absolut Park Flachauwinkl from March 17 to 21. The participants had five days to capture their best run on film thanks to the innovative follow cam format. The snowboarders Clemens Millauer and Anna Gasser and the freeskiers Fabian Bösch and Sarah Hoefflin finally won the contest and took home most of the 130,000 US dollars prize money.
Clemens Millauer from Austria beat his competitors in the category snowboard men and secured 22,000 US dollars in prize money with a Fs 270 Switch Up to Regular and a Lipslide 450 off, a Cab 270 on 450 off in the rail section as well as a Switch Bs 12 Stalefish, a Fs Double Cork 1440 Tailgrab and a Bs Double Cork 12 Melon on the kickers. In second and third place followed the Norwegians Ståle Sandbech and Torgeir Bergrem.
Swiss freeskier Fabian Bösch impressed with a Right 270 Pretzel 270 off, a Left Foot Forward Super Fed and a Switch Lip 270 Misty 450 off on the rails as well as a Switch Left Double Cork 14 Japan, a Switch Right Double Cork Misty 12 Safety and a Left Double Cork 1620 Tailgrab on the kickers — he also received a $22,000 reward. The US-American Alex Hall won silver and the New Zealander Finn Bilous bronze.
Austrian snowboarder Anna Gasser showed an impressive run with a Cab 1 50/50, a Front Board and a Lipslide on the rails as well as a Bs Double Cork 1080 Melon, a Fs 5 Frontside Grab and a Cab Double Cork 9 Mute Grab on the kickers. The Japanese Yuka Fujimori and Miyabi Onitsuka took second and third places.
Sarah Hoefflin, freeskier from Switzerland, convinced the judges with a Switch 270, a Left Foot Forward Slide and a Fs 270 off on the rails as well as a Switch Right 270 Mute, a Switch Left Cork 540 Safety and a Rightside 540 Mute on the kickers. Austrian Laura Wallner won second place and Margaux Hacket from New Zealand third.
The women's first places were each rewarded with 11,000 US dollars in prize money due to the much smaller starting field.
The Japanese snowboarder Kaito Hamada showed a Back Triple Cork 14, but could not complete his run cleanly. Last year's winners Emil Ulsletten and Quinn Wolferman and Spring Battle regulars Antoine Truchon, Eric Willett, Kai Mahler, Judd Henkes and Lyon Farrell also delivered impressive runs. The freeski stars Øystein Bråten, Nick Goepper and James Woods also showed outstanding tricks, even though they did not make it onto the podium with their runs.
All runs can be watched in the Absolut Park Spring Battle Prize Giving Show, which is already available on YouTube. On Friday, March 23, ORF Sport+ will broadcast it at 8.15 pm.
Corresponding to a World Snowboarding Elite Level and AFP Gold event, the slopestyle course was demanding. This year's setup consisted of three rail obstacles and a three-kicker line: The first rail was a flat rail or pole jam to double transfer down rail, the second a flat rail with transition take-off and the third a rainbow rail and next to it a straight rail with donkey. Although the Follow Cam format looks like a relaxed jam session among friends, the riders had to work hard to film their runs, because there were only two fair-weather days at this year's Spring Battle.
Anna Gasser was happy about her victory, but she was even more happy for her friend Clemens: "It's always cool to have a contest at home, and winning at home is of course especially nice. But I wasn't as happy about my victory today as for Clemens, who won his first big international contest. I think you could tell from his emotions that it was something very special for him."
Clemens Millauer was euphoric: "The Spring Battle has always been a special contest for me, because it takes place more or less on my local mountain. I think this was even a small advantage for me, because I am used to the kickers, even if they are always a bit bigger for the Spring Battle. The park was perfectly shaped for the Spring Battle. Basically the whole atmosphere is great and you meet not only the contest scene, but many friends up there". He adds: "The fact that I then put down such a great run, which was even enough to win, is sick".
|Snowboard Men||Freeski Men||Snowboard Women||Freeski Women|
|1||Clemens Millauer (AUT)||Fabian Bösch (SUI)||Anna Gasser (AUT)||Sarah Hoefflin (SUI)|
|2||Ståle Sandbech (NOR)||Alex Hall (USA)||Yuka Fujimori (JAP)||Laura Wallner (AUT)|
|3||Torgeir Bergrem (NOR)||Finn Bilous (NZL)||Miyabi Onitsuka (JAP)||Margaux Hacket (NZL)|
|4||Ruki Tobita (JAP)||Ferdinand Dahl (NOR)||Sarka Pancochova (CZE)||Isabel Atkin (USA)|