Words and pictures by John SpelmanLast weekend Oslo, Norway played host to a superb showdown as Jacob Wester, Jon Olsson and Andreas Hatveit battled at Air We Go 2005, Norway’s annual big in-city event. With a rising build up of atmosphere during the afternoon, Scandinavia’s best jibbers put on a show for the bemused passing city folk. Jon Olsson impressed with fakie 7’s but did not push as hard as he could have. Meanwhile Niklas Karlstrom did a crowd pleasing double back flip, which was quite something to pull off on this roller-coaster style rig. However the real excitement took place as Jacob Wester and Andreas Hatveit psyched each other out as they fought for the highly competitive first place podium. In the final deciding run the tension mounted and Hatveit seemed set for victory when Wester lost his footing on the landing after doing a smooth fakie 900. All eyes then turned to Hatveit who did an excellent fakie 1080 but then crashed completely on his landing handing a clear first place win for Wester. Wester was stoked at coming first and felt it bode well for the season ahead “this is a great start to my season, everything here worked out well, the weather was calm, no wind and the riders were happy so coming first just topped a perfect day”. The majority of the riders had fun and most agreed this in-city event was done very well. A vote of confidence for a an event which, for all it’s cool setting in an urban landscape, has had a less than glamorous record in practice. Last years Air We Go 2004 in Oslo was beset by rider complaints and the snow dropping off chunk style from the in-run during the comp. This was followed a month or two later by the disastrous, (or hilarious depending on your point of view), collapse of the big rig at the Zurich in-city event in September 2004. But this time the organizers got it right with good rider facilities, well managed practice sessions and snow that held up consistently all day showing that in-city comps when done well can really be the ultimate in urban skiing. Hatveit agreed saying “the snow was really good not icy at all and the kicker was in good shape, and we have had good treatment, I was really impressed”. The crowd also enjoyed the set up taking advantage of warmed mini-marquees with plasma screens with drink and food in hand. It wasn’t only true blooded Vikings in attendance, with appearances from Canada’s Riley Leboe and France’s Julien Regnier. Regnier was in the line up but following a hard to fathom injury whilst surfing, stepped in as a judge instead. Absent from the line up were Simon Dumont and Tanner Hall.The quality and atmosphere were good confirming this as the best early season event in Europe since the (now doomed and in retrospect over ambitiously titled) Global event in Stockholm two years ago when Dumont made his spectacular European entrée. On a footnote, Jon Olsson, who I think received much un-fair personal comment last season regarding the subject of color, was interestingly at this event dressed all in black. Have JD Lindeberg gone into color denial after last season’s “earth shattering” flamingo pink and turquoise blue Barbie-World splash?Final ResultsJacob Wester (Sweden)Andreas Hatveit (Norway)Jon Olsson (Sweden)

Jacob Wester
Jon & Andreas Hatveit
Jacob Celebrates