One of the worldâ€™s most prestigious Big Air competitions for snowboardersand skiers, not to mention Europeâ€™s biggest action-sport event, is now all set for its seventh season. At the risk of repeating ourselves, â€œthe 2004 edition of Red Bull Big Air is actually bigger than ever.â€?
As always, it will all end in the famous Swedish ski resort Ã…re from 24 to 27 March. It will be the real deal, offering the highest jumps and the most advanced tricks that will make for a truly â€œkick-assâ€? competition. The
starting field is better than ever, and the main Swedish attractions are superstar skiers Jon Olsson and Henrik Windstedt, last yearâ€™s snowboard winner Hampus Mosesson, and snowboard legend Stefan Karlsson. To top it all, international riders will be drawn to Ã…re like bees to honey. This is normally a guarantee for a great festive mood to the whole of Ã…re. However, this is where all similarities to previous Red Bull Big Air competitions end.
The big news in 2004 is that the competition will take the shape of a series of separate events with 5 Nordic Red Bull Big Air Qualifiers. Three of the Qualifiers will be held in Sweden, starting at SÃ¶dra berget in Sundsvall on 31 January, then moving on to VÃ¤sjÃ¶backen in Stockholm on 7 February, and ending up with a competition in SÃ¤len on 27 February. In Finland, the qualifying round will be held in Levi on 20 February, and the Norwegian qualifier in Kongsberget outside Oslo on 6 March. At each of these qualifiers, one winner from each class will move on to the grand finale in Ã…re.
â€œWe hope that the new Red Bull Big Air competition will serve as a springboard for all Nordic snowboarders and skiers out there who dream of becoming the stars of tomorrow. The idea is also to give more riders the
opportunity to develop their skills and show what theyâ€™re made of, and to provide all skiing and snowboarding fans with an opportunity to follow more high-class competitions. And if you want to see the biggest stars battle itout, you are welcome to join the final party up in Ã…re,â€? smiles an enthusiastic Ulf MÃ¥rd, project manager in charge of the competitions.
Ulf also promises several nice side acts at each competition. â€œI would definitely not want to miss the snow-scooter show weâ€™ve arranged in Sundsvall,â€? he says.
The big jump in the Swedish qualifiers will have a plateau of some 14 meters (about 42 ft), making the level of difficulty and the demands on the competitors high.
In the grand finale in Ã…re, 16 participants will compete in each class. Eleven of them are international competitors who have been issued with special invitations, while the remaining five will be the winners of each Red Bull Big Air Qualifier. Already confirmed riders besides theose already mentioned are skiers Rory Bushfield, Boyd Easely and Simon Dumont from the USA, Shoya Okazaki from Japan, Lars Veen of Norway, Laurent Favre of Sweden. They will be joined by snowboarders Quentin Robbins from New Zealand and Jacob Wilhelmsson of Sweden.
Qualifier riders can sign up for each Red Bull Big Air Qualifier directly on the â€œbrand newâ€? http://www.redbullbigair.com web site.
The site also gives you access to the starsâ€™ own private action movies, lots of top-level action photos, and site competitions goodies from X-BOX, PEAK, and Ã…RE AB, and much more.
â€œIf you send in your own Mini-DV movies or private action shots of your best rails, or maybe of that last 540 mute grab, you can take part in the competition online. If you are creative enough, you have a chance to win a trip up to the final in Ã…re.â€?