Words: Charis McKittrick

Photos: Joe Corcoran

Recently we have seen the rise of Australian snow talent on the international stage. The 2010 Winter Olympics saw Torah Bright, a snowboarder from Cooma, take home Gold. However our elite action sports athletes have been forced to compete off shore due to the lack of local competitions. But that all changed last week at the inaugural SoO Airtime (State of Origin), which saw local talent return to our shores.

SoO Airtime 2010 is the brainchild of long time industry locals Oscar and Watkin McLennan. Launched in 2010 as the result of the McLennan’s desire to encourage the growth of snow sports in Australia, SoO Airtime is a platform that showcases the talent of professional athletes and videographers as well as amateur snow and creative talent. With no comparable event in Australia, SoO Airtime is a first in its class. As Torah put it, “An event like this is a fantastic step forward for the sport in Australia. I can’t wait to see the edits and hope to get involved in the future”.

Watkin McLennan

The format of the event has been inspired by internationally successful events such as Jon Olsson Super Sessions, which has been described by Colby James West, 2009 People’s Choice Award winner for ‘My Friend is a Pro’, as “My favourite event of the season, mostly because it's unlike any other event. There is so much more to it than just watching a contest. It's almost as fun to watch the edits as it is to participate. Therefore I’m looking forward to seeing what the Aussies come up with”.

There are two distinctly different components. The first, SoO Airtime 2010, is a production that went down over three days from Tuesday, August 31st until Thursday, September 2nd, where a select elite group of Australia’s best freeride athletes represented their State in a team format at Mt Buller.

Team Victoria's Johnny Lipzker

The Victorian team, Watkin McLennan, Johnny Lipzker, Dom Thompson, Olly Cain, Callum Jones, Nick Breheny, Andre Bennet and Christian Sirianni, got ultra creative, while the NSW team of Chris Booth, Jordan Houghton, Luke Kneller, Huw Dowdell and brothers Charlie and Max Timmins brought together great skiing, patriotism, fun times and a good ol’ state rivalry that culminated in an epic week of pushing the frontier of skiing worldwide.

Team NSW's Max Timmins

Participation in the event was by invitation only; six per State; the best of the best, and each State team brought their own videographers to match. Together they produced two short films that are now available online...and it’s up to you to decide the winner. Check them out at http://www.SoOAirTime.com and vote for your favorite before September 17th. The team with the best film as voted by the public will claim victory.

The second component of the event is the Open Edit, which is an open invitation for the unseen talent of Australia to showcase their edits both nationally and internationally. Similar to reality TV, this competition enabled amateurs to gain invaluable exposure and industry contacts. To enter, hopefuls posted a video showcasing their 2010 Australian ski season on http://www.SoOAirTime.com. The video with the most votes wins, so after voting for your favorite edit in SoO Airtime competition, be sure to do the same in the Open Edit. The prize not only includes a trip to Japan, but the opportunity for young talent to be propelled into the industry.

Check out http://www.SoOAirTime.com to watch the edits and vote for the winner!