Soelden Glacier in Austria, hosted the first WRF Finals. Here is the story of this incredible competition.
The WSF World Rookie Tour 2006 ends with the summer final event in Soelden, Austria, to assign the title of “World Rookie Champion”, and many tickets for TTR pro events (1 for the rookie session of the Air&Style 2006, 3 for the Billabong World Pro Junior and 2 for the Pinky Jam). But the Rookie Fests are not “just” competitions! Fun and ride, meet new friends from all the world, extra activities for having fun or learn something new about snowboarding.
After the others WRF06 in Italy and Japan, 40 riders from 14 national team, arrived in Tirol with coaches and media to join this new event organized by the New Austrian Snowboard Association (N.ASA) and the italian Snowboard League (SL). The program of the WRF Finals combine a very high level competition in 3 days (training, quali and final for the best 16 riders) with many extra activities like avalanche clinics, social dinners, parties and skate session.
On 28th june, the team arrived and enter the first riders meeting to know all details about the event and the slope. Some of the most talented rookie of the world travel to the WRF to compete for the huge prizes! USA Champions in slope style (Bobby Witty) and Half Pipe (Trestein Sweigard), the itailan hero and olimpic rider Manuel Pietropoli, the japanese Ryo Kunisato, the super talented swiss Christian Haller, Wunter De Lange from Belgium, the finnish Petja Piroinen, norwegian Stian Sivertzen and the local riders Roland Scharmer are the favorites of all.
After the first day of training in a stormy and rainy day, Marco from SL explained to all riders and coaches the program of the event and annunce the last minute news about the Billabongs’ tickets. Then all the rookies take part at the avalanche clinics arranged by the N.ASA, to learn how to deal with the freeride trip and understand better the hazzard of the mountain experience. Late evening was arranged a social dinner to have some chill out all togheter before the qualifications.
On friday 30th june finally the show case started with the qualifications! About 2 hours of jam session on a jump line (2 table top, one huge corner jump and a final wall ride) and a rail line. In a real positive situation, the rookie express how high was their level with very good rotations on the tables and super high jumps on the corner. Unfortunatly the japanese Ryo was lightly injured after the hugest jump of the event (about 6m out of the corner) but no one else have problems during the entire event. Immediatly after the quali, a nice skate session was arranged by the SL (with the assistence of Ishi from Japan) at the Soelden Skate Park.the rookie rocks also on wheels! Late evening, at dinner, the best 16 riders were nominated. Wunter (Bel) was the best of the day followed by the austrian Michael Freudenthaler (new entry of the WRF) and Petja Piroinen.all the favorites enter the finals and of course there were some more surprise in the ranking like Sam Cullum (Eng) at 5th and Roni Rinatala at 6th.
Final day was sunny, without wind and good snow condition thanx to a cold night in the glacer. The best 16 male and 2 femals are ready from early morning and wait from Jimmi the starter to express their best and compete for the title and the tickets.and this was! A super high level snowboard show case, regardless of the summer condition and many weeks without training.they showed tricks like cab9 and bs libslide, tons of style on the rails, super huge jumps on the corner and very long rocks on the wall (Bobby Witty arrived at 4seconds!). For the entire final was evident to everybody that Christian and Petja were the two competitors for the first position while the battle was open for the 3rd place for many other but Michael Freudenthaler from Austria resulted the best of them.
The ranking were announced after the dinner and gift distribution by Neuro for everybody. Immediatly before the live concert of the I-Shine, Christian Haller was nominated World Rookie Champion and the winner of the ticket for the Air&Style rookie session. The swiss Silvana Backmann resulted the best girl of the event and some gift was assigned also for the best tricks.
WORLD ROOKIE FEST FINALS 2006, SOELDEN, AUSTRIA
1 30 Christian Haller SUI BURTON
2 10 Petja Piiroinen FIN 91 FLOW-OAKLEY-BILLABONG
3 32 Michael Freudenthaler AUT 88 SALOMON-BONFIRE
4 20 Wunter De Lange BEL 89 NITRO-ANIMAL
5 17 Roland Scharmer AUT 88 ATOMIC-NIKE ACG-SMITH-BLUE TOMATO
6 31 Manuel Pietropoli ITA BURTON
7 11 Roni Rintala FIN 90 BURTON-DRAGON
8 28 Roman Dlauhy CZK 90 BURTON-VOLCOM
9 3 Ben Kilner UK 90 RIDE-OAKLEY-DC
10 23 Tresten Sweigard USA 91 FORUM-SPECIALBLAND-OUTOFBOUNDS
11 2 Sam Cullum UK 88 RIDE-OAKLEY-DC
12 25 Stian Sivertzen NOR 89 INTERSPORT
13 22 Bobby Witty USA 89 686-ADIDAS-SANTACRUZ-32-PORTERS
14 5 Florian Krummenacher SUI 90 K2-DC
15 26 Christian Ruud Myhre NOR 91 NO SPONSOR
16 15 Hikaru Watanabe JPN 88 NOVEMBERSNOWBOARD
17 6 Thomas France SUI 88 ROSSIGNOL-DC-OAKLEY
18 29 Jan Dolejsi CZK 89 VEHICLE.CO-FLOW-SPY-LEVEL
19 8 Sergey Tarason RUS 88 BURTON
20 24 Thomas Hrnciar SLK 88 RIDE – 32 – ARNETTE – DEMON
21 12 Iikka Eemili Laari FIN 89 BURTON – DRAGON
21 27 Ethan Morgan GER 91 VÖLKL – WESTBEACH – ADIDAS – 32 – NOMIS
23 13 Dimi De Jong NDL 94 NITRO – O`NEILL – REPAIR
24 16 Ryo Kunisato JPN 88 MOSS SNOWBOARD – A7 – FLUX – DEELUXE – DRAGON
25 19 Calle Frassi ITA 91 M6 – APO – 32 – SPLIT
26 18 Pier Frassi ITA 89 F2 – DELUXE
27 7 Johannes Handle AUT 93 F2
28 9 Simon Pircher AUT 91 VÖLKL – VOLCOM – DELUXE – REDBULL – ADIDAS
28 14 Akito Sada JPN 89 UNITY
30 21 Yannick Sleeckx BEL 90 CAPITA – UNION_BINDINGS – SPY – PROTEST – 32
31 4 Collin Frei SUI 88 K2 – QUIKSILVER
32 34 Andy Rives UK 91 BURTON – RED – ANON
1 59 Silvana Bachmann SUI 88 SEED
2 60 Rebecca Cullum UK 90 NIKE ACG/ ATOMIC
BEST JUMP: Christian Haller SUI CAB9
BEST RAIL: Christian Haller SUI BS LIBSLIDE
BEST WALL RIDE: Bobby Witty USA ROCK TO FAKIE 4″
HIGHEST AIR: Ryo Kunisato JPN 6m
1 “WORLD ROOKIE CHAMPION” TITLE, TICKET FOR A&S06 ROOKIE SESSION, TICKET FOR BILLABONG WORLD PRO JUNIOR 07
2 TICKET FOR BILLABONG WORLD PRO JUNIOR 07
3 TICKET FOR BILLABONG WORLD PRO JUNIOR 07
1 TICKET FOR THE PINKY JAM 2007, ITALY
2 TICKET FOR THE PINKY JAM 2007, ITALY