The best of the past and the present – the Throwback Throwdown
When I finished school , I was on the German National Team for halfpipe snowboarding. It definitely opened doors, but also made me establish a love-hate relationship with halfpipe snowboarding.
A halfpipe always means a wall on the right and one on the left side, that give you about 5-8 hits in one run. Sure you can do different tricks but the halfpipe itself doesn’t change much usually. In the long run I fell for the magic of ever-changing-slopestyle courses , different features and runs wherever you go, and a creativity potential multiple times of that one I was used to from riding pipe.
Through the years I rode pipe less and less, would still enjoy a good soft pipe here and there, and spontaneously compete, but my focus fully went into slopestyle.
This season, I didn’t do a single halfpipe competition – until last weekend in Breckenridge. The inaugural Throwback Throwdown went down, a halfpipe competition that challenged you to do some contest runs in the 2012 superpipe as well as in a rebuilt 1986 first-world-champs-ever-6 foot-hand-shoveled-mini-pipe.
It wasn´t only the most unique halfpipe competition of all times, it also bridged the gap between halfpipe and slopestyle for me.
The Breck superpipe , consistantly ranked within the top halfpipes in the USA, was exactly as expected – absolutely perfect. It was a lot of fun to ride it and since the Throwback Throwndown isn´t an average pipe event, the vibes were probably the best halfpipe contest vibes I have ever experienced.
In the afternoon everybody got to try their best in the 1986 oldschool pipe. I´m actually not sure what is harder to ride, the 22foot pipe or the 6foot pipe.
I loved the challenge of the hand shovelled mini pipe – its inconsistent kinky shape made every hit completely different to the other, so you couldn´t plan far ahead in your run, since you barely ever knew what kind of piece of wall you would hit next. Aditionally the pipe had some taller hits and 2jib-able features added to it, even more increasing the creativity potential for everyone´s run.
That little shitty handshoveled pipe is the first pipe that somehow ever gave me a slopestyle-y feeling, with its ever changing hits and the fact that in oldschool pipe judging it´s totally ok to include boardslides and backlips on the coping into your runs.
It was amazing to see how some people could somehow boost higher out of the kinky walls than the walls were tall, to see others do proper grabbed spins in walls most people would never get to the top of, to see all kind of handplants and miniramp-skateboarding-look-alike liptricks.
It was a get-together of different snowboarding generations from 13 year-olds to over-50-year-olds, of different riding styles from real halfpipe riders over slopestyle riders and jibbers to backcountry snowboarders and retired-old-school-pros.
The Throwback Throwdown was the ultimate combination of the past and the future, the most amazing fun for the participants as well as the beer-drinking,sun-tanning audience, and I already can´t wait for the second edition next year! You better be there, too…