After weeks of building and shaping, the organizers of the O’Neill Evolution are once again welcoming riders to the picture-postcard resort of Davos in Switzerland.
The maximum-rated, 6-Star Big Air field is stacked, with many of the world’s best riders throwing their hat into the ring to compete on the precision-sculpted course. A super-sized kicker and creative, urban-inspired jib section, featuring more than 20 different possible lines, will no doubt draw the best out of the riders as they vie for top honors in the floodlit finals on Saturday evening.
Sneak peek end-section O’Neill Evolution 2013
The French Canadian trio of Sebastien Toutant, Antoine Truchon and Maxence Parrot will be looking to keep their noses in front of North American counterparts including Eric Beauchemin, while hometown favorite Jan Scherrer will have his hands full fending off the Scandinavian contingent including Kevin Backstrom, Torgeir Bergrem and Emil Ulsletten. And then there’s the ever-present threat posed by the timeless Markku Koski and 2010 O’Neill Evolution Big Air Champion, Marko Grilc.
A special mention goes to fellow legend and long-time Team O’Neill rider Gian Simmen, who will bring the curtain down on one of the sport’s most illustrious careers when he competes in the 5-Star Halfpipe contest – his final pro event in a competitive history that spans 23 years. The 1998 Olympic Gold Medalist and former World Champion, who calls Davos home, has become one of the most respected riders on the tour thanks to his unique riding style and charismatic personality. The home crowd, numbering in their thousands, will no doubt want to see him go out on a high in the finals on Thursday afternoon.
The women’s Halfpipe finals go down 24 hours earlier on Wednesday afternoon, and will see the likes of Japanese super-grom Miyabi Onitsuka attempting to cement her reputation as one of the sport’s most promising young talents, while last year’s third place finisher, Anna Gasser, will no doubt be looking to go all the way this time.
O’Neill Team rider Celia Miller at picture postcard Davos
On Saturday at 3pm, Gian Simmen and friends will be rocking the pipe during an open jam session. Head to the foot of the Jakobshorn to watch Gian and fellow old-timers including Thierry Brunner, Fabien Rohrer, Pascal Imhof, Reto Lamm and Dani Costandaché roll back the years and stoke out the crowds before the Big Air finals go down. It’s only right that Gian should sign off his distinguished pro career in his own backyard surrounded by friends, family and a home crowd.
If you can’t make it to Davos, tune into the live webcasts on both Friday and Saturday, as well as the live TV broadcast on Saturday from 17.30 CET, and catch all the action as the riders battle it out for their share of the US$ 125,000 prize purse.