The adidas Slopestyle has become one of the big events in the freeride calendar. It’s also spawned a couple of snow-based bike events in the winter, but the forthcoming adidas Winter Slopestyle will be a little different – there’ll be no bicycles involved.
The riders will be the familiar stars of the freeride firmament – Darren Berrecloth, Cam McCaul, Lance McDermott, the Lacondeguy brothers, Trond Hansen, Niels Windfeldt, Niels Peter Jensen, Gaspi, Carlo Dieckmann, Joscha Forstreuter et al. But instead of bikes, they’ll be riding SMXs.
A who? The North Legion SMX is a bit like a bike in that it has a seat, some bars and front and rear suspension. But it doesn’t have a transmission, brakes or any wheels. Instead you get three skis. The idea is that it’s easy to transfer bike skills to the snow if you’re riding something a bit like a bike, and that certainly seems to be the case.
“You learn so fast that you immediately get addicted,” says Niels Peter Jensen. “Once you’ve pulled a trick for the first time you want to repeat it over and over again to make it perfect. And after a few hours you basically manage all the tricks that you can do on your bike. I’m also impressed how well it works in the lift. You can sit on it completely relaxed while being pulled uphill.”
So you can expect to see the usual array of flips, whips, spins and grabs as the riders make their way down the course. Oh yes, the course – that’s a bit special too. The venue will be the Snow Funpark Wittenburg in Northern Germany. It’s claimed to be Europe’s biggest ski and snowboard hall, with a total floor space of 30,000sq m and including the world’s only indoor snow halfpipe.
The Funpark officially opens on 8 December, and the Slopestyle event will be the highlight of the opening celebrations. There’ll be a qualifier in the afternoon to whittle the initial 25 riders down to 16, with the slopes being open to skiiers and boarders before and after the SMX stuff. The final will be at 9.30pm.
More at www.adidas-slopestyle.com. Find out about the Wittenburg park at www.snowfunpark.com and more about the SMX at www.northlegion.com.