The first contest of this season was held in Milan, Italy. It was a FIS World Cup, as this federation seems the most active one in this difficult moment for competitive snowboarding.

In the meanwhile they managed to introduce big air in the Olympics in 2018 (the recently-introduced PSL at Sochi 2014 was soon withdrawn from the next Games), to “conquer” a tough terrain that has always been “on the other side” like the Laax European Open putting their World Cup stamp on it, while last year they organised a big air in Boston with 10 thousand spectators.

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Anyhow, they are acting well – let alone the annoying old argument if that is good or bad; I mean, at the end of the day we all know that the guys who take part into any events they do not really care which federation is the organiser, do they?

Contest is contest, more or less fun, but it is what it is. I write all this on a magazine that fortunately only has to deal with the cool and fun part of snowboarding: nobody wins nor loses, friendship is king and the cultural aspect prevails.

I write all this because Eero Ettala in his interview told me that there is a huge gap between the contests’ riders and the videos/shootings’ ones. According to the legendary Finnish rider, snowboarders of the first group do tricks that the second ones do not know how to. And this great divide is going to be more and more extreme as time (and tricks) goes by. You would work your ass off in the gym, jumping on trampolines, training in pipes or slopestyles made of cement at 8am, then you would have only two tries at a contest in the morning and you eventually would not get through to the finals ending up in 50th place.

Would you really like to go through all this? Otherwise you would opt for Alaska or Japan cruising through the woods in fresh powder with your friends. I am not saying this is easier, also because of the amount of stress you would accumulate while you are trying to stomp tricks for your video part. So maybe there is a real reason which explains the current market’s division: split and backcountry on one side, street and park on the other. At those levels, Eero Ettala suggests, there is only one guy able to be competitive on both sides, contest and video – Torstein Horgmo. Not necessarily we should not do both. On the contrary, luckily we mere mortals do not have to pick just one of the two sides. The beauty of not being pro I guess, huh?

– Sequence Magazine

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