Collectively, Kevin Backstrom and Tor Lundstrom have had a busy winter. Not only have they amassed a ton of airmiles and even more view counts on their BYNDxMDLS show, they’ve entered several high profile contests and if that wasn’t enough, they have created their vision for future snowboard big air contests, The Ale Invite.
It seemed like an easy job to convince the other riders to attend and almost since the moment the first drafts for the Ale invite were conceived, internationally acclaimed snowboarders signed up to take part. After six months of planning, marketing, building and with official WST points to be earned, Tor, Kevin and their dedicated crew brought us the largest snowboard event on Swedish soil.
It was clear from the outset that rain had been a constant plague to the organisers, so the decision was made to adapt, rather than cancel and snow was gathered from the local ice rinks, car parks and wherever else it laid. In practise the riders praised the kicker and it was clear that we were in for a unique showdown.
The qualification rounds saw the tech shenanigans you would expect from the likes of Max Parrot, Roope Tonteri and Seb Toots with 12s and 14s. Refreshingly though, the relaxed vibe of the event brought out less rotations and more style, which resulted in a good balance of both modern and stylish riding styles. Tor Lundstrom went almost to the flat with his back 10 double melon to qualify first.
The quickly fading Swedish sunlight, seemed to add to the atmosphere and you could feel the excitement with the largely assembled crowd as the finals commenced. The ever-changing snow conditions seemed to have an affect on riders that would usually stomp runs in their sleep. The contest would be run in a best 2 runs out of 3 format.
Max Parrot is a ridiculously talented snowboarder who seems to be able to adapt to any kicker in his path. His first run score of a gigantic 47, for his near textbook cab 14 double, added with the back 12 on his second run, brought him the top spot. Hot on his heels was Sven Thorgrem and his back 14 mute and cab 12. Roope Tonteri rounded up an impressive finals to grab the 3rd place.
Notable moments included Kevin Backstrom’s incredible fs 10 mute, Halldor Helgason’s switch method and Markus Klevland showing his cat like characteristcs by somehow landing on his feet after it all going terribly wrong on the take off. For us though, Seb Toots’s final hit and his back 9 off the heels was a moment of beauty.
We believe that there should be more contests like the Ale Invite. Whilst it might not have the mainstream appeal or the slick marketing of the X Games, it has a raw, welcoming and rustic appeal. By the riders for the riders is somewhat of a cliché but it was clear to see both the riders and the spectators had an amazing time, something that can be lost in some of the bigger events. Whilst the Swedish mainstream media were quick to judge Tor and Kevin a few years ago, they have created a legit contest which we hope will excel well into the future.