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This year's Relentless Freeze Festival looked like it was ready to step up the UK's premier winter sports festival a notch and Friday's British themed day proved to be a great warm up to a superb weekend.
The main event of the day was the Battle of Britain competition on the huge ski-jump-esque set up. The crowd were treated to a great spectacle with the best of British taking part. Jenny Jones, Gary Greenshields, Jamie Nicholls and Andy Nudds were all throwing it down, and though it is only early in the season the UK riders were really pushing the limit of the jump. Due to warm weather the run in was a little slower than expected, though that didn't stop the guys throwing down some serious tricks.
With Olympian Dom Harington and X-Games winner Jenny Jones not making the final it looked like current Brits champion Jamie Nicholls would be among the favourites. His double-corked 1080 got the crowd going, though due to the hand drag on the landing he only made third place. Scott Penmann had joked with the competitions MC's, Tim Warwood & Christian Stevenson, earlier in the day that his only trick was the double front flip, which he styled out to claim second place. With the lack of speed making the double cork almost impossible Billy Morgan finished the afternoon with a perfectly executed double back flip, gaining both a huge cheer from the crowd and bagging him first place.
Once the snowboarding had taken place there was an hour or so to go until the premier of Jeremy Jones new film Deeper and the Battle of Britain ski competition. With 20,000 people expected over the weekend this was the biggest Freeze Festival yet and with Relentless on board the entertainment had stepped up a gear.
Over by the For Boarder By Boarders stand they had set up a small mini-ramp, and to the backdrop of some beatboxing in the Desperados tent, we were treated to a mini skate demo with Vans snowboarder Chris Chatt showing off his skills on four wheels. There was also a bike demonstration from a couple of guys in the Relentless team including a 1.2m bunny hop and a variety of super-mans, tail whips and back flips all on show.
Battle of Britain Snowboard
Battle of Britain Ski
Friday was an absolutely awesome experience, and though some of the biggest names in freestyle skiing, snowboarding and music were to follow it will take some beating.
Photo's © Paul Anthony Easton
Wednesday afternoon at the ski show is always a great way to kick start the season and yesterday was no exception to the rule. We had a fantastic afternoon with many of our good friends from within the world of skiing and very much enjoyed the surprise performance from former Meribel pop-band, The Feeling.
The afternoon got off to a good start over at the Thunder stand where the guys insisted their toffee vodka was better than that of the Morris Bar in Val d'Isere. Of course it would have been rude not to sample their product, and I have to say it is the best toffee vodka I've had outside of the Skilodge.
A walk around the show took us to some pretty cool products and some friendly stands. The guys over at Cool Board were demonstrating their great ways of developing core strength and Grannies inc were showing off their design your own beanies and had one of their grannies knitting away in the background. My favourite new product at this year's ski show has to be the retro, almost ironic, '80s-style one piece suits over at Willyfinder - I'll let you guess where the name comes from. Their über bright attire is bound to find its way into Europe's snowparks and student holiday trips this year, and to be honest for the sheer fun of it I would have bought one had I not forget my credit card!
Later in the afternoon we were treated to wine and canapés from our friends at Skiworld, one of our chalet operators, followed by more of the same by our friends from Inghams. It's always nice to meet up with our biggest suppliers face-to-face opposed to over the phone, plus there's always some good gossip on the go.
The highlight of the afternoon has to be the après ski-esque set that The Feeling did over at the Trois Valley bar. They played a few of their hits and Sophie Ellis Bexter joined them for an acoustic version of 'Murder on the Dance Floor'. They were promoting The Little Word Festival which will be on in Meribel in March, and the band have quite a following in the ski industry after a few seasons playing as cover band Superfly in Meribel. As always the music was great and they gave the show a little bit of a Ronnie-après-ski feel.
After a quick hello over at Natives, Aragon (Formigal) and Ski Big Three it was time to jump on the bus to the Ski Club of Great Britain party. The Ski Club party was fun and started with Pimms on the bus and a champagne reception as they showed off their rebranding (more to follow on this shortly) and their new website. A fun evening entailed and as usual we were joined by the guys from Vail Resorts and Ski Big Three for a quiet drink to discuss what had been a great day.
The ski show has some great entertainment on this year with the Trois Valley Cook-off, the Big Air competition and the Land Rover Fashion shows. If you have time head down there this week and enjoy the hospitality of everyone there.
Thanks to Inghams for inviting us down to the show and to the Ski Club of Great Britain for the evening presentation and entertainment. We'll be heading down again on Friday and then it's the unfortunate 12 month wait until next year's show.
With two weeks to go until the first festival of the season kicks off I thought I'd take a look at this year's Relentless Freeze Festival, based at one of London's famous landmarks, Battersea Power Station.
What better way to kick off the festivals than a huge kicker, followed by a great party on the shores of the river Thames. The Relentless Freeze Festival will be hosting the likes of Torstein (and hopefully another triple), current TTR champion Peetu Piiroinen and four-time X-Games Gold medallist skier Simon Dumont, to name a few. The evening entertainment also rivals that of any summer festival with the likes of Roni Size, Mark Ronson and Pendulum headlining and up and coming acts such as Jettblack, Bedouin Soundclash and The Nextmen.
An eventful 2010/11 season that saw double-corks taking precedent in competitions, Shaun White wining Gold at the Olympics, Bristol born Jenny Jones getting her third winter X-Games Gold and Torstein Horgmo's landing the quite ridiculous first triple-cork on film. Surely this can only mean another banging winter in on its way.
Along with a whole host world class athletes competing over the weekend Friday will again showcase the best of British, with the aptly named Battle of Britain. Competitors include Brits winners Gary Greenshields and Jamie Nicholls - who clocked up a top ten finish in August's Burton NZ Open. The British riding is always entertaining as it bring's together a crowd usually seen competing at The Dawn of the Shred and The Brits through to the indoor scene. Jamie has to be this year's favourite, but it will still be an entertaining afternoon finding out!
Friday is also the UK Premier and the final stop of the European Tour what is arguably the year's biggest snowboard film 'Deeper'. The film will be premiering on Friday night after the Battle of Britain competition and will then be screened throughout the rest of the weekend. Deeper follows one of snowboarding's all time greats, Jeremy Jones, on a mission to access the world's wildest terrain including friends Xavier De AL Rue, Travis Rice and Jonaven Moore.
The film, sponsored by O'Neill, has been in the making for the past two years and is set to take back country riding to a new level. The producers Teton Gravity Research have already premiered the world's first 3D snowboard film earlier this autumn, which went down a storm, and Deeper is set to be even bigger. The last time a film of this magnitude was released was Travis Rice's project 'That's it, That's all' and Jeremy Jones passion for free-riding will surely take this to the next level.
With 16 days until these two great events, I can't wait. I'm sure there will be plenty for me to write about after the show. Whether it's the snowboarding, skiing, music or the chance to meet Jeremy Jones the Freeze weekend is set to be a hit. See you there...
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