08/10/2012 | by Tom Copsey
The Hotzone.tv Park Opening went down from 5 to 7 October on the Hintertux Glacier in Austria. Once more Europe’s earliest park opening boasted good weather, world class snowboarding and a unique party schedule. The excellent park conditions and the many international snowboarders make the annual event one of the most important dates in the snowboard season.
Already on Friday a number of pros like Peetu Piiroinen, Spencer O’Brien and local hero Werni Stock rode the pro line in the Betterpark – arguably the best training option for the upcoming contest season. The park – which also includes the small and medium lines as well as the jib area – was in perfect condition and stayed open for everyone all weekend. A lot of spontaneous jam and photo sessions took place with a visible hunger for the upcoming winter. In the test area visitors tried out the newest gear from 30 brands all weekend, and in the valley the premiere of the new Pirates production UNIQUE8 as well as the Shred Warm Up and the Pirate Party made for the ideal beginning for the Opening weekend. And the pro line-up from Sage Kotsenburg and Janne Lipsanen to Elias Elhardt and Marco Feichtner enjoyed the party schedule, too.
On Saturday blue skies, no wind and pleasant temperatures awarded those who made the ascent on the mountain early. Up there, the traditional www.hotzone.tv Session of the Dudes offered a fascinating mix of technical trickery and unique style. While Gigi Rüf tried the kickers with some straight airs, stylists Werni Stock, Marko Grilc, and Chas Guldemond battled the more technical approach of Roope Tonteri and others. In the end Werni scored the Style Award with tweaked backside airs, switch back 1s and other slow spins. And the double cork fest was dominated by Roope and his Finnish perfection. Not only did he show the ‘standard’ 1080s in the front- and backside versions, he also laid down cab and back 12s onto the soft kicker landings. He was hence declared the Best Overall Rider. And while last year’s best rookie Roland Tschoder impressed the judges with one-foot jumps and double backflips, it was 15-year-old Tim-Kevin Ravnjak from Slovenia who scored the award with his repertoire of backside 9 and perfect 7s. In the afternoon the shred circus moved on to the Hintertux parking lot. Visitors enjoyed a beer and even more sun and had fun taking part in activities like bag jumping, tarp surfing and hitting a piñata. The Analog Opening Night hardly needs introducing anymore: Thousands of visitors flocked to the Hohenhaus Tenne and partied with the Wax Wreckaz DJ collective, DJ NLP, local act SMoK1NG FING3RZ and London-based DJ IRK on several dance floors until the early hours of the morning.
On Sunday the Billabong Kids Shoots took place with Pleasure photographer Fischi and Billabong pro Wolle Nyvelt coaching 18 motivated kids in the onset of winter. The planned Cash for Trix Session had to be cancelled due to the weather. Most Opening visitors, however, did not care: They had enjoyed another perfect mix of park riding, parties and product testing and looked forward to the fresh snow; it means loads more Betterpark sessions in the coming weeks!