Over the last two months Verbier local and graphic designer Philip Field has been using his new-found love for photography to document and capture the competition snowboard and freeski scene in and around Valais. With invites to shoot at the Levitation ‘La Bosse à Norbert‘ Les Marécottes in February and more recently at the unique ‘Gangs of Thyon by Rip Curl’ and the FWQ ‘Nendaz Freeride’ event reports back on all the action that went down.
Levitation La Bosse à Norbert February 25
The event, as you would expect from Levitation, is an all-round relaxed and stylish affair and forms part of the Avalanche Snow and Music Festival which was held this February (24-25) in Les Marécottes.
In attendance, with a host of Levitation-supported riders, were professional skiers Alex Neurohr, Tom Boerlin and Florian Bruchez as well as snowboarders David Lambert and David Bezençon. As the session got started over the beautiful panoramic views of Les Marécottes and the Rhône Valley below, the riders turned up the heat for the crowds as they threw down a mixture of huge styled-out airs along with technical double cork spins/inverts off the 30-metre kicker and hip.
Standout riding was on show all round but snowboarder David Lambert took the final riders’ honours with his consistent and mind-blowing riding.
Gangs of Thyon by Rip Curl March 10-11
The seventh edition of the ‘Gangs of Thyon’, hosted by The Central Park, Thyon, was, as always, one of the highlights of the year in Les 4Vallées, bringing together over 60 riders in a unique battle-style event.
With big name teams entering from the likes of Bataleon, Rome SDS, Ride Snowboards, Rip Curl and Völkl (along with 11 more gangs), the list of riders for the showdown read like the who’s who of the freestyle scene.
On the Saturday the main event took to the park when 16 gangs, each consisting of either four snowboarders or skiers, fought to take home the coveted ‘Gang of Thyon 2012’ title in a knockout style format.
The riding in the Central Park was truly next-level with the ‘Flocons noirs brûlent tes skis’ and ’Team CHX’ gangs picking up the trophy in the respective snowboard and ski categories. On the Sunday a revolutionary new concept turned up the heat with a ‘no spin to win’ event where riders were forced to go back to the roots and essence of freestyle – having FUN!
The session, held on the monster-sized black kicker line, had one strict rule – no rotations over 180°! Special credit was awarded to riders with the best style and creativity and riders David Lambert and Maxime Fornier deservedly took home a share of the CHF3,000 prize money.
Nendaz Freeride March 16 – 18
This event took place under a summer sun and on spring snow with the following results:
1 Léo Slemett (FR)
2 Mathieu Bijasson (FR)
3 Wille Lindberg (SE)
1st Ludo Guillot-Diat (FR)
2nd Johannes Schnitzer (DE)
3rd Nicolas Antony (FR)
1st Nadine Wallner (AT)
2nd Anne May Slinning (NO)
3rd Hanna Fischer (AU)
1st Elodie Mouthon (FR)
2nd Ana Marea Zgraggen (CH)
3rd Nathalie Zenklusen (CH)