As the first full day of training draws to a close on what must be the sickest looking contest set-up yet here in Davos, Switzerland, the early standard of riding promises to deliver next-level, world-class snowboarding once competition gets underway.
Overwhelmingly positive rider feedback on the 6 Star World Snowboard Tour Big Air course has already been matched by the level of tricks stomped. Little to no compression on this year's kicker has paved the way for huge air time and a plethora of tech tricks, complemented by the biggest rail set-up ever seen at the O'Neill Evolution.
In no particular order, the pick of the riders on what turned out to be a relatively laid-back warm-up day, were: Sebastian Toutant (CAN) who dialled a bag of tricks including Cab 12 Double Corks, multi-variations on the Back 12 and Gap to Back 270's on the kinked rail. 15-year old sensation, Kyle Mack (USA), was putting down Back 10 Doubles and a uniquely stylish F/S 10 to late cork. Maxence Parrot (CAN) warmed up with Front 10 Doubles, Cab 10 Doubles and Back 12 Doubles, while Antoine Truchon (CAN) eased his way into the event with F/S Double Corks and huge Switch Back 12 Doubles. With the last few riders turning up in Davos this evening, and minor fine-tuning of the kicker taking place overnight, the trick list is sure to expand exponentially as another full day of training gets underway on Wednesday.
A change to the schedule in the 5 Star World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe contest will see the Women's Finals moved to join the Men on Thursday the 17th January, rather than Wednesday as previously stated.
After spending the whole day ripping the pipe, Swiss maestro, Gian Simmen, said: "The pipe is in really, really good shape, and it's only going to get better as we ride it in over the week. Today was a fairly easy training session, mostly you got to see back-to-back 7 combos and a couple of Cab 10's, but that is just the start of it as riders get used to the trannies. I think we are going to see a pretty killer pipe finals come Thursday night. And don't forget the Legends session on Saturday!"
With riders back at their hotels preparing for tonight's Riders' Welcome Party at the Bolgenschanz, it's time to sign off. Stayed tuned for regular daily updates as the O'Neill Evolution heads towards the Finals later this week, and look forward to another amazing celebration of progressive freestyle snowboarding in the picture-postcard location of Davos.