Words: cko On the heels of last years Jumpopotamus, Orage is heading back to Laax, Switzerland for one of it’s most ambitious undertakings yet. With a prize purse of over $50,000 US, 80 spots will be available for each Slopestyle and Halfpipe competitions. Online registration (which is now full) will attract Europe’s best emerging talent and pit them against an all-star line-up of International ski stars including: Schiller, Dumont, Gagnier, Vanular, Olsson, Parker, and Burke. A complete invited riders list is available below. The event is being organized by the same people that have brought the enormously successful Burton European Open (BEO) to Laax for the past seven years. Though this is the first kick at the can for the freeskiing event, organizer Donald Nader is confident in the effort that Orage and the resort have put forth so far, “Laax & Orage have taken on the event for 3 years, so this is just the beginning… But the goal to become the ‘flagship event’ for freeskiing in Europe is definitely there.”

Halfpipe will take place at Crap Sogn Gion, “The Laax Superpipe will be the same as the BEO. It’s a fortunate standard in Laax, the only [dirt built] full season superpipe on the continent, over 6 meters high & 140 meters long, allowing huge air and easily 6 hits” says Nader. Slopestyle will also take place in the same area as the BEO course “for terrain & snow capacity reasons” and will consist of “…a cool rail drop start, a funky first obstacle co-designed by Volkl, followed by two huge kickers all with 2-3 takeoffs, a multi rail combo obstacle towards the end and a finish area with a Quarterpipe or a wall, or both.” Hosting the athletes, organizers, media, and other hang-arounds will be the Riders Palace hotel at the base of the mountain. With parties scheduled for every single night of the event and qualifying, getting rest may be the biggest challenge of the week for those not competing. See everyone in Laax next week! Official Event Website - http://www387.ws7.inname.net/ Event Schedule Tuesday, 21.3.06 : Training Slopestyle Party at Riders Palace Wednesday, 22.3.06: Slopestyle Qualifications Training Superpipe Party at Riders Palace Thursday, 23.3.06: Superpipe Qualifications Training Slopestyle Party at Riders Palace Friday, 24.3.06 : Semi finals Slopestyle Finals Slopestyle DJ Party at Riders Palace Saturday 25.3.06: Semi finals Superpipe Finals Superpipe Award ceremony Live-Concert and Party at Riders Palace Riders List Registered Women (PDF) Registered Men (PDF) Invited Athletes AJ BurtonAurelien FournierCharles GagnierCorey VanularCraig CokerDerek SpongFlorian WieserJF HouleJon OlssonLaurent Favre (injured last week at WSC)Loic Collomb-PattonLukas BrucicMartin MisofMickael DeschanauxNico ZacekOscar ScherlinSimon DumontTanner RainvilleTJ SchillerTobi Reindl Caja SchoepfMarie MartinodMichelle ParkerSarah BurkeVirginie Favre