Words by Dean Kistler, Jr.
Photos by Jeremy Condamine & Nicolas Lafay
What a powerful event! The 4th Annual Kumi Yama has come to a close, but the efforts for raising awareness and money for the people of Japan continues.
Les 2 Alpes, France
More than 200 athletes from around the world gathered last week in Les 2 Alpes, France to compete, have some fun and support the efforts to rebuild northern Japan. This year’s event had special meaning, as Japan experienced one of the worst tragedies in history in March of this year.
“WE RIDE FOR JAPAN” was the slogan that everyone embraced. Everyone wore a red sticker with the slogan to show their support.
The top two finishing snowboard teams decided to donate half of their winnings to Japan and spend the other half on their friends at that night’s party. The top snowboarder, Gerome Mathieu, was overheard saying, “Can you name any other event where this type of thing is happening? I know I can’t, and I have been to many!”
Kumi Yama overlapped this year with a huge mountain biking event called Mondail Du VTT. The mountain bikers all wore buttons with the same slogan and carried the same backpack as the skiers and snowboarders. Sushi and Asahi beer were sold at the awards ceremony with all of the money being donated to the Japan Red Cross. And in addition to that, there were many items donated by the athletes that are now being auctioned off on ebay, so the effort to raise money for Japan on behalf of the snow sports industry continues.
Kumi Yama took on a “gaming” theme this year and the course layout included features from popular video games such at Pac Man, Tetris and Mario along with some traditional Japanese items that included a Sumo hip jump and a Torii gate. Even Mario himself made an appearance and showed that he could not only ski, but can also throw down some big air!
Top athletes in attendance included Xavier Bertoni, Kevin Rolland, JF Houle, Tatsuya Tayagaki, Kentaro Tsuda, Shinji Osada and Olympic snowboarder Kazu Kokubo (all of who were in three-man teams), and were swallowed up by Pac Man, aired over Tetris, pounded the gong, and so on. Some athletes even dressed up as their favorite video game character to add some fun to the competition.
Also new this year was Kumi Yama Kids. Some sick kids like Aspen Spora and Kelly Sildaru were invited to ride with kids at DA Camp during the week and then compete with the campers on Sunday. Sunday was a “kids only” day using the same course layout, but with a couple of special jumps built just for them. Plus at the initial riders meeting it was announced that a “French-themed event in Japan” is in the works. No details are available yet, but with the super positive vibe throughout the week at Kumi Yama, no doubt a French event in Japan will go off.
So remember…“WE RIDE FOR JAPAN”. As you train, ski, ride, or just think about snow this summer and fall, remember the slogan. Check out the auction on ebay, have a great summer, and be sure to spread the snow cheer to the world.
1) Team Downdays - Markus Eder, Nicolas Vuignier, Gaute Silseth
2) Team Downdays Young Dirty Bastard - Lauri Kivari , Anti Ollila, Jesper Tjader
3) Team Hooligans - JF Houle, Adam Delorme, Simon Ericson
Jeremy Pancras - double cork 1080 mute
1) Team Burn - Valerian Ducourtil, Olivier Gittler, Arthur Longo
2) Team APO Snow - Gerome Mathieu, Tyler Chorlton, Christian Weber
3) Team Meatball - Benjamin Lestage Konig, Ludvig Billtoft, Theodor Hjellstrom
Thomas Delfin - an exceptional method
10 - 14 Ski
1) Team No Name - Dylan Florit & Alex Hall
2) Team Les Marins - Marin Gaillard & Tangy Richard
3) Team Les Babies - Megane Tollong & Emma Hogland
9 - 10 Snowboard
1) Team Little Sumo - Elliot Pentecote & Oscar Ney
2) Team Sushi - Gauthier Gallas & Lenny Oliver
10 - 14 Snowboard
1) Team Meatball - Benjamin Lestage Konig, Ludvig Billtoft, Theodor Hjellstrom
2) Team Les Franco Suisses - Cloé Sillières, Agatte Sillières, Boris Mouton
3) Team Banzai Girls - Lisa Michel & Lisa Clery
Best Trick Ski
Alex Hall - 1080 mute
Best Trick Snowboard
Boris Mouton - backside rodéo
Kumi Yama Games 2011