Bluebird “slush” days, new contest format, sessions and optimal snowpark conditions! 3 "bluebird" days, the best prepared autumn setup, lots of cool sessions, a new contest format, legendary club nights and the very latest test material - the 34th Kaunertal Opening was for sure one of the best Openings in the long KTO history.The famous "laid back" atmosphere of the Snowpark Kaunertal is back and now open daily.
The #Naturerun with a length of 2 km was newly built last year and extended again and adapted with new rails and made every "park rat" hearts beat faster. Whether pro or beginner, the "Naturerun 2.0" offers something for every level. For the first time there was also some wooden features. These provided an additional boost of motivation, radiant faces and fat tricks in the longest park in Europe.
Due to the fat snow reserves from spring, the park was in absolute top condition this year - perfectly shaped and bigger than ever before at the opening. Those who had not yet found the right stuff for this season could try out the latest material from over 35 brands at the three-day-long free Testival. Beats, workshops, chill areas, side events, competitions and numerous sessions framed the Testival.
In addition to the Snowpark and Testival, everyone had the chance to skate on the pump track and the Mini Ramp, improve their balance in the Balance Board Park and even refresh their avalanche skills in the LVS Workshop by Ortovox for the coming season or develop their mental skills at the mental coaching.
Friday - DAY 1 - 2 Sessions and the Invitational Night Rail Jam Ski The starting signal was given on Friday by the SANE! Crew from Innsbruck with the "SANE! Cash4Tricks" session.
At the Jib'n'Skate Playground beside the glacier restaurant, 1000,- Euro was divided between the riders that made the best tricks of the session. At the same session 3 riders had the chance to win a wildcard spot for the "KTO Invitational Night Rail Jam" in the valley, which took place on Saturday evening at the street party.
Immediately afterwards the skiers had the same opportunity at the Cash4Trick Session presented by Prime Skiing to get some cash for their best tricks. After the action on the mountain we continued in the valley directly with the Streetparty in Feichten. The main road through the village was closed to offer the perfect "After-Ride" evening with street food & drinks, live music, DJ line-up and the "Invitational Night Rail Jam".
This year the organizers built an even bigger ramp and for the first time there was also an invited skier field which drove at the "KTO Invitational Night Rail Jam Ski" for another 1000,-- Euro prize money. The riders themselves judged each other and decided who took the victory home.
The Austrian skier Sam Baumgartner won "Best Trick" Award and the Norwegian Siver Voll was able to take home two prizes at once - the"Best Trick" and "Best Overall" Award. But what would an opening be without a proper party? The riders as well as all the other party enthusiasts celebrated the beginning of a great winter season at the Club Circle in three different locations.
The Pfiff Bar was literally torn down on the first club evening by Mad Simon and Big Belly Boi. As another Friday's highlight the 90ies Hip Hop Star Afu-Ra delivered a really good show with flowing beats & rhymes until the early morning hours.
SATURDAY – DAY 2 – Desperados Heavy Metal Jam & Open Judged Main Session The Kaunertal Opening this year was all about "laid-back atmosphere" - having fun without contest pressure and simply enjoying the new season in the park. For the first time this year there was the brand new "Open Judged Rail and Kicker Session" format for ski and snowboard pros and amateurs. It was all about the overall impression of the whole weekend which was judged during all the sessions.
The Deperados Heavy Metal Rail Jam powered by Nitro with the live band Weedoom took place at the Jib'n'Skate Playground, where the riders showed their best tricks and craziness at the high jump contest (190!). The riderswere rewarded with a total of 3 wildcards for the "KTO Invitational Night Rail Jam" and several goodies.
Further exciting program items on Saturday were the LVS workshops by Ortovox as well as the Freestyle Mental Coaching by Klausi. Who could impress the judges and the crowd the most during the whole opening weekend got the possibility to win a Standout Award, with a total prize money of 6,000 €? Maximilian Preisinger from Germany won the snowboarding competition for "Standout Pro". "Standout Amateur" went to the Italian Angeolo Gastl, "Standout Girl" to the German Olympic participant Silvia Mittermüller, "Standout Rookie" to Thimon Matena from Italy.
"Best Trick" to the German Luis Eckert and "Most creative" to the one and only Oskar Fritzsche. The "Standout Pro" of the skiers was won by Tobi Müller, "Standout Amateur" went to the Czech Fanda Hovejsi, "Standout Rookie" to Noel Walser (AT). Both "Best Trick" and the "Most creative" overall award went to the Austrian Hannes Rudiger and the "Best Bail" went to Basti Renner from Germany.
After a great day on the mountain we continued in the valley, with the 2nd part of the KTO Streetparty. On Saturday evening it was the snowboarders turn to perform their best tricks at the KTO Invitational Night Rail Jam on their own wooden rail. An extremely strong rider field of 8 (!) nations put aside the respect for the wood obstacle and showed incredible tricks on the 9 meter long wood rail.
Also the girls like Siliva Mittermüller or the winner Jay Scherzinger from Switzerland showed that it is possible to ride a wooden rail. In an unbelievable atmosphere one trick highlight followed the next and in the end the riders themselves decided who would get the trophies and the prize money. Heat 1 "Best Overall" went to Christian Kirsch from Austria, "Best Trick" to Zoltán Strcula from Czech Republic.
In the second heat "Best Overall" got Kasper de Zoete from the Netherlands, "Best Trick" went to Davide Boggio from Italy. Another legendary party after the show was of course a must! Club Circle day 2 was announced! After the film premiere of the Swiss Escape Movie and the local Kaunertal production "Soulshred" the party lasted into the early morning hours.
This time the state of emergency was moved to the Zappa Bar where Ethan Morgan played Dj 90 Techno - this time without soundbox but with turntables. The Swiss Trap Act Pronto and the legendary Wax Wreckaz made the Quellalpin tremble.
SUNDAY - DAY 3 - Shred Unit Girls Session & Sundowner Day 3 started relaxed after another party night, again with bright sunshine and a freshly shaped park. At noon it was the girls' turn - the girls from Shred Unit invited to the "Shred Unit Cash4Tricks" session at the Jib'n'Skate Playground. All girls of every level had the chance to get some cash with their tricks. With endless park runs in the sunshine everyone let the weekend end, a perfect conclusion for a great opening weekend.
The 34th Kaunertal is officially "in the books" and couldn't have been better. Epic weather, slushy park conditions, the well-known "laid back" feeling of the Kaunertal - what more could you want! From now on the park is open daily and offers with the #FALLRUNS Kaunertal one of the top pre-season parks in Europe.