Words and photos: Tomek Gola (fikcja.pl)March is the last month of the season, when all the freeskiing
competitions are constantly taking place, and the last weekend of that
month is just insane. Not only is there the Candide Invitational in La Clusaz, the Jon
Olsson Invitational in Åre and events in the Pyrenees, but there is also one
competition worth writing about, and there are a couple of reasons to
write about it. Spring Battle is both a freeskiing and snowboarding
competition. Freeskiing took place on March 30th and Saturday the
31st belonged to snowboarders—perfect timing, as the ski riders had
the time to take part in the competition and then take off for the most
outrageous, incredible, out of world, event in the world—the Candide
Invitational. But Candide is another story.
For the moment let us move back to Flachauwinkl which is situated in Salzburgerland in Austria.
The place itself is one of the most beautiful places in the Alps. Just
as any other place in this mountain range. Just as any place in any
Flachauwinkl is the home of Austrian Cowboys.
One of them – Seppi Harml (above) – decided to take advantage of the
terrain of his home mountain and create a snowpark there. This is
how the Absolutpark was born. His next move was to organize an event that would draw both some of the most popular names, and also those not very
recognizable riders, giving the possibility for the latter ones to make
their next step at an international-level event. All in all it was about
bringing the riders together and having a good time.
The place is all about having a good time. The park is set on the top
of the mountain. Perfect to chill sipping on a beer and watching riders
doing tricks on a massive kicker built especially for the Spring
Battle. The organizers even take care of comfortable sitting places for
the spectators. And the scenery there...
Ok, let's get to the point—Spring Battle. The event
is special in many aspects. One of them is that the first 10 – yes, ten –
places are rewarded with money. And the prize budget this year amounted
to 5,000 Euro.
I will bring closer to you the six best riders and the Best Bong, oh sorry, Best Bonk winner of Spring Battle. So here we are:
Dominik Tritscher ended up sixth! He was the one jumping the furthest and highest on the competition nailing it perfectly!
Tobias Gratz – fifth! Stylish grabs in smooth spins is how I'd sum up his tricks.
Roman Dalecky – the Czech representative – fourth.
But before I go on to the podium, I've gotta mention one more thing.
The Spring Battle is not only held on the kicker. Even if the riders
nail a perfect jump, they still have to show some skills on one of the
gadgets based below in the park - the wall, a corner or the... Best
Bonk tree! There were two additional awards at Spring Battle: one for
the most creative run and one for the Best Bonk - meaning the highest
rider on the tree. And these awards were as rewarding as the podium!
Speaking of which:
The first one to enter the podium during the prize-giving in
third place – Josh Absenger! He is also the winner of the most
creative run and thus collects the highest sum at the Spring Battle.
The second best – Nico Zacek!
And the best in the Battle is... MAREK DONIEC!!! You will remember this
guy from Polish Revolution, Polish Freeskiing Open, where he won as
well; from the Newschool Picknick, and from many events that are just up
"It's such a good kicker, I just can't stop flying" says Marek after
one of his final runs. And then hits the kicker for his last massive
switch 1080 Doniu Flip.
I can't really define that jump with regular words. He takes off as if
he was doing cork, then he turns as if he was doing d-spin, and lands
after three spins. For security reasons he holds on to his ski for two full
There is one more award to mention – the Big Bong, oops, no, I meant the Best Bonk of Spring Battle. And this one goes to:
Christoph Walchhofer! He goes higher than the limit, the skull of
the Absolutpark bull! In fact, in the hit shown above, he landed on the
poor bull's nose and broke his skull! Some torreadors would want to
...and the day at the mountain ends up with the prize-giving ceremony...
...which takes place in the Chill House of the Absolutpark. And guess
what the Chill House actually is – it is a decent sized skatepark! Those tired of snow and rails can just go and chill on the ramps
with the view on the surrounding mountains! Absolutely clever! The after-party was on Saturday evening, when both
snowboarders and freeskiers could unite and let it all go... At this
time we were on to Candide's already, but the decision to give up on the
after-Spring-Battle party was a really hard choice. Especially
recalling this very party from the last year, or rather being reminded
about it, as the memory likes to play tricks on one sometimes...