Words & Photos: cko

Part One

This year, Orage broadened it's horizons to better represent it's distribution area and held it's first major European event. According to distributors the brand has been selling well, and from what I saw while I was there, the newschool scene is about to blow up. Lots of talented riders with their own local crews and styles throwing down all over the mountain. Orage's Jumpopotamus is a showcase for this talent, bringing together the most prominent magazines from around Europe each with a team of riders. The concept was simple: get some good skiers together, let them loose on the terrain playground that is Laax, Switzerland, and make sure there are masses of media sluts out there to capture all the excitement.

Berman catching some z's.
On our way up to the mountain, euro styles.

I was more than happy to be one of the aforementioned media hoochies as this was my first journey across the pond into the land of Swiss francs and Audis as far as the eye could see. Despite a delay that lead to a missed connecting flight which in turn caused me to miss my ride to Laax from Zurich, I managed to meet up with Berman, Kim Lamare, Michelle Parker, and the MusiquePlus crew and actually made it to the hotel.

Home base in Laax was the Riders Palace, a futuristic hostel/hotel with all the amenities including playstations, a bar that doubled as the hotel lobby, and a pair of matching big screen TVs that were surrounded by couches in the common area.

The Riders Palace, our home for the week.
And what a luxurious home it was...

Day One on the hill was set aside for the superpipe, and the blue-bird conditions made for an entertaining session until the sun baked the walls into submission and everyone hit the park for some soft landings.

Chris Turpin held it down and showed everyone that even though he's had some bad luck with injuries he's still at the bleeding edge of switch skiing in the stunt ditch. JF Houle threw down with some big nines, and John Symms took a break from spamming NS and impressed all with his shifty 7s.

The Euro contingent also held their own on the immaculate pipe with the Brits throwing down lofty airs and some innovative inverts. It's definitely good to see something other than a flair or a cork nine coming out of a developing ski scene. The girls also did well with Kim Lamare working some new 5s and Michelle Parker just all-around charging it. One of the invited rider's girlfriends was the surprise of the day with first hits that rivalled most of the guys. Once the pipe finally gave way to the sun we hit up some Bratwurst for lunch, played some xbox at the on-hill lounge and skied some laps in the park in some summer camp-esque conditions.

A perfect pipe was waiting for us as we got off the tram.
It's like being in Amped 2!
Michelle getting out with some courage.
JF Houle all upside down.
Turpin doing his best while backwards in the pipe.
Symms mid-shifty. Money!

A successful day one of Jumpopotamus and everyone headed back to the Palace for some much needed relaxation time. Stay tuned tomorrow for updates of the crews first look at the massive 100 foot step down created by Mammoth Park guru Oren Tanzer on the Vorab Glacier.