Words and photos: Tomek Gola (fikcja.pl)March is the last month of the season, when all the freeskiing

competitions are constantly taking place, and the last weekend of that

month is just insane. Not only is there the Candide Invitational in La Clusaz, the Jon

Olsson Invitational in Åre and events in the Pyrenees, but there is also one

competition worth writing about, and there are a couple of reasons to

write about it. Spring Battle is both a freeskiing and snowboarding

competition. Freeskiing took place on March 30th and Saturday the

31st belonged to snowboarders—perfect timing, as the ski riders had

the time to take part in the competition and then take off for the most

outrageous, incredible, out of world, event in the world—the Candide

Invitational. But Candide is another story.

For the moment let us move back to Flachauwinkl which is situated in Salzburgerland in Austria.

The place itself is one of the most beautiful places in the Alps. Just

as any other place in this mountain range. Just as any place in any


Flachauwinkl is the home of Austrian Cowboys.

One of them – Seppi Harml (above) – decided to take advantage of the

terrain of his home mountain and create a snowpark there. This is

how the Absolutpark was born. His next move was to organize an event that would draw both some of the most popular names, and also those not very

recognizable riders, giving the possibility for the latter ones to make

their next step at an international-level event. All in all it was about

bringing the riders together and having a good time.

The place is all about having a good time. The park is set on the top

of the mountain. Perfect to chill sipping on a beer and watching riders

doing tricks on a massive kicker built especially for the Spring

Battle. The organizers even take care of comfortable sitting places for

the spectators. And the scenery there...

Ok, let's get to the point—Spring Battle. The event

is special in many aspects. One of them is that the first 10 – yes, ten –

places are rewarded with money. And the prize budget this year amounted

to 5,000 Euro.

I will bring closer to you the six best riders and the Best Bong, oh sorry, Best Bonk winner of Spring Battle. So here we are:

Dominik Tritscher ended up sixth! He was the one jumping the furthest and highest on the competition nailing it perfectly!

Tobias Gratz – fifth! Stylish grabs in smooth spins is how I'd sum up his tricks.

Roman Dalecky – the Czech representative – fourth.

But before I go on to the podium, I've gotta mention one more thing.

The Spring Battle is not only held on the kicker. Even if the riders

nail a perfect jump, they still have to show some skills on one of the

gadgets based below in the park - the wall, a corner or the... Best

Bonk tree! There were two additional awards at Spring Battle: one for

the most creative run and one for the Best Bonk - meaning the highest

rider on the tree. And these awards were as rewarding as the podium!

Speaking of which:

The first one to enter the podium during the prize-giving in

third place – Josh Absenger! He is also the winner of the most

creative run and thus collects the highest sum at the Spring Battle.

The second best – Nico Zacek!

And the best in the Battle is... MAREK DONIEC!!! You will remember this

guy from Polish Revolution, Polish Freeskiing Open, where he won as

well; from the Newschool Picknick, and from many events that are just up

and coming.

"It's such a good kicker, I just can't stop flying" says Marek after

one of his final runs. And then hits the kicker for his last massive

switch 1080 Doniu Flip.

I can't really define that jump with regular words. He takes off as if

he was doing cork, then he turns as if he was doing d-spin, and lands

after three spins. For security reasons he holds on to his ski for two full


There is one more award to mention – the Big Bong, oops, no, I meant the Best Bonk of Spring Battle. And this one goes to:

Christoph Walchhofer! He goes higher than the limit, the skull of

the Absolutpark bull! In fact, in the hit shown above, he landed on the

poor bull's nose and broke his skull! Some torreadors would want to

learn that!

...and the day at the mountain ends up with the prize-giving ceremony...

...which takes place in the Chill House of the Absolutpark. And guess

what the Chill House actually is – it is a decent sized skatepark! Those tired of snow and rails can just go and chill on the ramps

with the view on the surrounding mountains! Absolutely clever! The after-party was on Saturday evening, when both

snowboarders and freeskiers could unite and let it all go... At this

time we were on to Candide's already, but the decision to give up on the

after-Spring-Battle party was a really hard choice. Especially

recalling this very party from the last year, or rather being reminded

about it, as the memory likes to play tricks on one sometimes...