The mountain resort village of Davos, Switzerland, slowly awakes as the international professional snowboard community starts to descend on the picturesque alpine town for what has become one of the most iconic events on the annual contest calendar.
With light snow once again blanketing this winter paradise at the time of writing, fond memories of last year’s edition of the O’Neill Evolution return to the fore, when more than two meters of fresh snow fell from the skies during the week, almost forcing the cancellation of the event.
And let’s face it – if you are ever going to cancel an event, too much snow is the best reason there ever was or has been. Yet, with the almost unheard of ‘powder landings’ blessing a freestyle contest, Mark McMorris (CAN) squeezed his way past an explosive Eric Willett (USA) in a hard-fought and unforgettable freestyle throw-down. This year’s edition of the O’Neill Evolution promises all of last year’s standout action… and even more.
While not unfolding in the French-speaking quarter of Switzerland, you can expect to hear a lot of French with ‘un accent quebecois’. Yet again, the best riders to emerge from Eastern Canada have invaded Davos, with Sebastien Toutant, Antoine Truchon and Maxence Parrot already laying down some seriously impressive training runs. A top 14 placing from Truchon will result in a new leader in the race for the World Snowboard Tour Big Air Title, while podium positions for either Seb or Maxence will see them drive into the Big Air Top 5.
O’Neill Team rider – Seb Toots (CAN)
Other names worthy of mention and certainly in contention are the Austrian contingent of Mario Wanger and Tom Klocker, both of whom will have their sights set on scoring podium results in the Big Air to jump up the rankings. Further major movements in the Big Air rankings will be more than probable should Scandinavian marauders Emil Ulstetten (NOR), Torgeir Bergrem (NOR) and Kalle Järvilehto (FIN) stomp all their tricks with typical Scandi precision.
Reflecting on the set up after his latest training session, Sebastien Toutant said: “This year, they have taken out a lot of the compression in the kicker, so it’s way smother to ride and gives you way more manageable air time. It’s a really promising set-up.”
Throughout the week, the O’Neill Evolution is offering up invaluable Halfpipe and Big Air points, while the ‘Gian Simmen Legends Session’ on Saturday afternoon also promises to be a guaranteed highlight in the program prior to Saturday night’s Big Air finals.