With only two weeks to go until the return of the O’Neill Evolution to the Swiss town of Davos, it is lining up to be one of the most highly anticipated events on the Swatch Ticket To Ride (TTR) World Snowboard Tour.
As one of only six men’s 6-star freestyle Swatch TTR snowboarding events, with a huge prize purse of US$100,000 as well as highly coveted Swatch TTR ranking points, the world’s best freestyle snowboarders will converge upon this Swiss town to put on a display like no other.
Antti Autti, the 2007 Evolution Halfpipe winner, has confirmed that he will be in Davos to attempt to repeat last year’s feat, despite only recently recovering from a shoulder injury.
He is just one of five top ten riders who have already confirmed their attendance ahead of the cut-off date. Iouri Podladtchikov, Janne Korpi, Henning Marthinsen and Scotty Lago will also be putting on an undoubtedly awe-inspiring display in the days to come.
In addition, two-times winner of the SB Jam in Davos, Andy Finch, who has been making a strong comeback from a wrist injury, will be giving it his all in Davos. As will the 2007 quarterpipe champion, Nicolas Mueller, 25 year old French quarterpipe ripper JJ Roux, Swiss snowboarding film star, Fredi Kalbermatten and Eirik Haugo, also making a strong comeback from a recent injury. Also invited into the semifinals is Risto Mattila as well as fellow Finn, Markku Koski and top Swiss rider Markus Keller.
The outstanding quality of riding at the O’Neill Evolution also carries through to the qualification rounds. The one to keep an eye on in amongst the 90 qualifiers will be Dutch sensation Dimi de Jong. The 13-year-old O’Neill team rider made it through to the finals last year, and put on an awesome display alongside the likes of Travis Rice, Terje Haakonsen, Nicolas Mueller & Antti Autti.
The O’Neill Evolution offers one of the highest prize purses per single format in professional snowboarding. In addition to US$45,000 for the Halfpipe and also for the Quarterpipe, US$3,000 will be awarded for the highest air in the Swatch Highest Air Session in the halfpipe on Friday afternoon and US$6,000 will be awarded for the highest air in the Quarterpipe at any time during the competition.
With epic snow conditions so far this season, construction is underway on the most impressive infrastructure that Davos has ever seen. The halfpipe, created by Norwegian Claes Hogstrom and the local Jakobshorn crew will sit at a length of 120m, and will feature two new start towers and the famous rail at the exit. The quarterpipe will continue with the same successful format as last year, adding only an improved position on the mountain and a new start tower, providing more speed.
The event will feature a Quarterpipe Height Measuring System. A new development in snowboarding events, this system has been developed by Swatch and SwissTiming and will offer a dynamic new element to the competition. 10 seconds after a run, the judges will receive the height measurements, which will be accurate to 10cm and taken into account.
With a combination of world class riders, and a halfpipe and quarterpipe of the highest quality on which to showcase their talents, hangovers will soon be forgotten as the O’Neill Evolution kicks off 2008 from January 2 – 7