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  • Writer's pictureAlba Pardo


Ischgl unites the international Snowboard scene of the last three decades for the world premiere of the ISCHGL BANKED AIR 2018 Austrian riders dominate the team ranking and Terje Haakonsen/NOR wins overall & style ranking

Since its invention Snowboarding stands for innovation and creativity, Ischgl has its rightful place in the history of snowboarding with hosting the first ever ISF Snowboard World Championships in 1993. 25 years later Ischgl has now been the showplace for a completely new and unique contest format, which was celebrating its world premiere last week at the Banked Air 2018 (April 3rd – 8th) and gathered around 80 snowboarders of the last three decades.

WHAT IS THE BANKED AIR? The Banked Air is inspired by a Banked Slalom course, where riders try to master a run through banks as smooth and fast as possible. The Banked Air course now combines the factor time with style and airtime, which is measured through chips, which are mounted on the boards by ‘Woo Snow’. Judges look after the style. Time counted when riding the 700 m long course with four hips followed by four banked turns, but also the time in the air as well as style were considered for the final ranking. In other words, the more airtime and style riders showed at the hips, the more seconds were credited to the run time and improved it therefore.

Xaver Hoffmann by Sebi Madlener

THE CONTEST After two days of training and qualification the best 12 teams from all over Europe, the US and Canada consisting of at least 5 riders including a woman were battling it out in the finals on Friday in a head-to-head format. Sunshine and spring temperatures contributed to the all around good vibes at the Velill-Park above Idalp. The ‚EuroAir’ Crew with 1993 World Champion Terje Haakonsen (NOR)and 12-year-young prodigy Jacky DeJo (NED) and the Swiss crew around former Halfpipe-Pro Pascal Imhof were riding against each other in the Small Finals, in the end the Swiss secured the third spot. The Austrian riders represented with two crews were the winners of the day, as both crews made it to the Big Final and impressed with lots of style and airtime. In the end the ‚Austria Air’ team with Matthias Weissenbacher, Marc Swoboda, Werni Stock, Tini Gruber, Michael Macho, Tom Tramnitz and Alex Walch dominated and wrote history as first ever Banked Air winner crew. The legendary Ästhetiker crew – a circle of friends united by the love and passion for snowboarding, skateboarding and surfing, which brought up quite a few successful snowboard-pros and is now organizing snowboarding events for young talents paving the way for the next generation – therefore ended up on 2nd place. The team consisted of Gigi Rüf, Steve Gruber, Rudi Kröll, three-time Air & Style winner (1999 – 2001) Stefan Gimpl, Ischgl local Roli Tschoder, Wolle Nyvelt and Sandy Kröll. A team with many personalities, who left their marks on Austria’s and the international snowboard scene and still do.

Snowboarding’s finest Terje Haakonsen, who influenced and shaped snowboarding like no other, showcased 25 years after his World Champion win with lots of airtime, unbelievable board control and his signature Method Air which no one executes with more style than him, that he is still riding at the highest level! That is why it’s no surprise that he won the overall category and also the style award from the judges. Austrian Alex Walch, who showed the highest jumps and therefore collected the most airtime, was the happy winner of the airtime award, while Elena Könz from Switzerland was the sensation of the day ending up third among all competitors in the airtime ranking. Matthias Weissenbacher (AUT) delivered the fastest run of the day. The event closed this weekend with the Open Crew Banked Air competition, which was open for all riders. Terje said: „Ischgl is one of the great resorts Tirol has to offer. Especially in the early 90s it had a big impact on the sport with the European and World Championships. Now Ischgl showcased again that it can do fun action sports events. It takes courage to try a new format!“

Overall the Banked Air 2018 in Ischgl was a successful premiere of a new concept, which reflects the innovative spirit as well as the creativity and passion of the snowboarding community. Banked Air shows, that Snowboarding doesn’t fit into any category and that the sky is the limit when it comes to evolution and innovation. Additionally the event was a family gathering of the international snowboard community with early legends, current top riders and the next generation and a chance to refresh old friendships, to make new ones and to share memories from the past.

Thanks to host Ischgl & Tourismusverband Paznaun – Ischgl as well as Silvrettaseilbahn AG and to partners Red Bull, Tirol Werbung and Blue Tomato, who made the world premiere of the Banked Air possible.

Terje Haakonsen by Matt McHattie



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