Spring Battle is the ultimate antidote to a full season on the competition circuit. Sixty plus of the worlds best and most creative skiers and boarders got a whole week to shred the Absolute park in Flachuawinkl and deliver one unedited follow cam run for the chance with win part of a $60,000 prize pot.
I headed over to catch up with some of Team GB mid way through the competition.
Although these guys are feeling it after a heavy season that’s not finishing any time soon, they can still put most mortals to shame with their agility and strength as they worked on various yoga and balance moves to cool down. But I guess if you’re throwing down triples in the park, you’re going to have some depth of physical talent in the bank even late into the evening.
So why did they make a point of heading to Austria for the Spring Battle?
For them this event offered something way more relaxing and social compared to other more controlled run format competitions. All the riders stayed in a chalet complex provided by the organisers close to the lifts, so everyone could chill and catch up after each days riding over a communal dinner or breakfast.
The format of the event helped with rider progression. The pressure fell off their shoulders as they had a whole week to film a solid run with the park being open between 10am — 2pm each day. If the weather wasn’t playing ball they could relax and plan for the following day without the stress of having to perform in below par conditions. In addition they didn’t need to trick watch. They could shred the course and work on delivering the most stylish and fluid run that would impress the judges.
For the GB crew that meant some serious tricks were getting thrown down, and a proper test of skills as the course deviated from your standard slopestyle setup. The riders started with the option of a down flat down or straight down bar, that led into a two blended quarters pipes that allowed for a vast array of creative options. They then fired down for two money booters to complete the run.
The course turned out to favour the heavy hitters as our very own Billy Morgan came in first place with a run consisting of cab 270/270 out on the down bar followed by a frontside 540 melon, a cab double cork 900 double mute at the quarters as well as a frontside double cork 10 tailgrab and a backside triple cork 1440 nosegrab on the kickers.
The rest of the GB crew did really well. Jamie Nicholls picked up 4th and the late arrival after an event in China did not kill the skills of Katie Ormerod and Aimee Fuller as they secured 2nd and 3rd respectively in the womens. As it turned out a productive week for the GB crew.
Big thanks to Barbara Mayer from Absolute Park for being an awesome host and providing me with access to the riders and the competition. Check out the resort and the park. It's great for all levels of riders, not just the pros.