Absolut Freeski Progression: Freeskier at Flachauwinkl
If not going forward, youʻre going backwards was the motto for the first edition of the Absolut Progression in Flachauwinkl from 8th to 14th of March.
During almost the whole week winds and snowfalls made the Absolut Park an invisible park. In order to jolly the riders along several side-events were organised, keeping the atmoshpere as positive as possible. On Monday the crew organized a ski race on the legendary Hermann-Maier-race track and additionally gave some racing outfits of the past few decades to the riders.
After the first serious contest, the award of the “Rider of the Day“ went to France: When the sun slightly appeared it was X-Games medalist Laurent Favre styling his tricks on the step-up roller without even a whisper of shakiness. The Frenchman was the only rider hitting the jump switch and he rightly received the “Rider of the Day“ award with some super-clean switch 720 double grabs. By giving all his prize money of 500 € to the jackpot for the poker derby at night, the Frenchie even boosted the camaraderie among the other riders – and lost all his money in a really thrilling showdown against the German Tobi Reindl from Garmisch.
The next evening, there was another fascinating duel going on. After having cancelled the contest during daytime due to the weather again, wednesday brought a perfect night session at the “Stash Park“ in Flachauwinkl. The riders were all highly motivated after being stuck in the house all day, so everyone was giving his best on two perfectly illuminated obstacles, resulting in ridiculous film and photo shots. At the same time Absolut Park team rider Achim Winter and Jussi Mononen from Finland were fighting for the award of the day during the night in the Stash. Both ended up sharing first place for their stylish tricks on the down rail and the 540s on, 540s on the wooden jib cabin.
Thursday again saw more snow, so the day was filled with some funny competitions aside from the mountain – Martin Misof, Luggi Brucic and Laurent Favre started to build a sledge jump performing some incredible backflips. The final day Friday was another contest day in the Absolut Park. Being really relaxed and ready for the big showdown all riders showed their skills in the park for the last time – with Christoph “Woichai“ Walchhofer being the performer of the day. Under really heavy conditions he was the only one to jump the kicker that day, stomping a great corked 720 on his first try and also performing best on the Aframe box and the kicker rail. With this performance the Absolut Park local and headshaper earned the title “Rider of the Day“ on the closing day of the Absolut Progression.
Being in a great mood and enjoying a real gourmet menu for dinner, all participating riders came together on friday evening deciding who would be “Overall Winner“ of the Absolut Progression. It was a great pleasure for the Absolut Park crew to hear that local Achim Winter was elected the “Overall Winner“ for his performance during the night session ahead of Finlandʼs Jussi Mononen and Pekka Hyysalo and another Austrian Josh Absenger.
On last Saturday, February 14th the ski- and snowboard-scene out of the Allgaeu and the whole Alp-region met in Bolsterlang. The Big Bäng Bolsterläng attracted the riders with an impressive setup.
After patiently awaiting the best conditions for the competition, the organizers and those from the Tignes resort provided an amazing playground for the world's elite to reveal their talent.