The snow is melting in the South and everyone is making the annual migration to the North for what is going to be a winter for the books with Olympics going down in February and lots more.
We fired 5 questions over to Aussie park builder, Charles Beckinsale who’s currently on the ground building his brain child ‘The Stomping Grounds’. The ultimate training facility for slope, big air and pipe riders…everyone that is at the top is either there right now, or en route.
Charles gives us the lowdown…
Are you excited to be back in Europe for stomping grounds this year?
I’m hyped to be back in Switzerland again, I love Europe and feel incredibly lucky to be here considering the state of the world right now. For me The Stomping Grounds build and operation is an insane work bender with the incredibly challenging conditions, the crew and I work 12 to 16 hours every day to make this thing happen and your working at almost 4000m above sea level on a chunk of ice that’s moving downhill an average of 30m per year so when your building and digging through the snow layers with the cat your almost guaranteed to find some big crevasses, so that coupled with the weather and cat breakdowns occasionally it’s kind of like a pressure cooker for me personally. I’m incredibly lucky to have strong team around me that hold me up and make me look good when things get tough.
The countdown is on for Olympics…What’s the vibe up there?
The vibes are good, everyone is coming back from some time off, some of them have been “training” on airbags others like Mark have been surfing, but they are all super hungry and motivated with the big O just around the corner. Day one they got a feel for everything and then yesterday on day two they came out swinging with pretty much every rotation up to 1800 which was insane to witness. They don’t mess around and we still have 10 more days to go with a great looking weather forecast.
Red Bull are doing a exclusive week up there this week…who’s some standout rider up there?
Pretty much everyone is a standout as it’s all Red Bull’s top tier athletes here, but yesterday seeing the guys push each other on the bottom jump was pretty nuts, everyone is throwing triples but for me I get more stoked to see some different lines, Mark McMorris was ripping the quarter pipes and different trannies too so that was cool to see.
Any new additions to the Stomping Grounds setup this week?
As far as new additions we have leased another snowcat this year and bought a new spine airbag for the pipe so we are investing heavy for the best possible set up here.
We are also building a medium park line for people that can’t be a part of the camp but want to ride something fun and witness the action.
I have heard whispers of airbag tricks that riders are hoping to put to snow here, so I think we will see some future shit go down
How are the Aussies holding down up there?
The Aussie boys are getting warmed up in the pipe, lots of cab and front threes going down as they warm up for the big spins, I’ve seen some big straight airs over there too, the pipe is so fun to watch when Scotty and Val start going hit for hit on things.