Swiss Ueli Kestenholz and Lukas Brucic from Mils (AUT) are the winners of the freeride and freestyle event Check The Ripper that was the climax of Innsbruck’s Snickers Nordpark Sessions 2007 by Atomic & Nike ACG. Kathrin Gappmayr from Bad Dürrnberg (AUT) won the contest of the female snowboarders.

rudi.jpgDespite some weather caprioles with storm, heavy snowfall and danger of avalanches, the Snickers Nordpark Sessions took place with a slightly altered schedule. On Thursday, the event kicked off with a freestyle session at Innsbruck’s Nordpark’s snow park, the Skyline Expression Session. As the “Hit da Pipe” session had to be cancelled due to the weather, the main event Check The Ripper was extended to a two-day contest. On Friday, the freeride part took place and on Sunday, the freestyle part happened. Saturday was a day off as a storm and heavy snowfall made it impossible to carry out the contest. Several parties at Innsbruck’s infamous Jimmyz Bar and the legendary wild boar BBQ made sure the riders had a fine time in Tyrol.

Freeriding: Kestenholz earns a huge lead

Just as in the recent years, the Check The Ripper once again offered a unique combination of style and speed. Riders needed to have skills in both disciplines to have a chance for victory. The freeride course on Seegrube lead over steep terrain demanding perfect control, technical riding and stamina. It quickly became clear that the freeriders were able to cope with these conditions way better than the freestylers.
At the snowboarders’ contest, one man seemed to ride in another world: Ueli Kestenholz from Switzerland had an unbelievable lead of 13 seconds to the second, Roland Hofer from Austria. Third after the freeride event was Aesthetiker Rudi Kroell from Mayrhofen (AUT) who still had the chance to win the overall title.
At the skiers’ competition, the freeskiers around Phil Anker and Matthias Haunholder lead the field after the first day before some high-carat new schoolers. Kathi Gappmayr (AUT), Bibi Pekarek (AUT) and Aline Bock (GER) were the first three of the female snowboarders.

Freestyle: high level riding at the snow park

After a day off with chilling at daytime and partying at Jimmyz at night, the sun finally showed up again on Sunday. The freestyle part was the highlight of this year’s Check The Ripper. The incredibly high level of the riders was a true feast for the spectators’ eyes. At the snowboarders’ contest, the jury was especially impressed by riders like Christoph Weber (GER) with a One Foot Backflip or Sani Alibabic, Rudi Kroell and Manuel Bernert (all AUT) who showed manoeuvres in all possible variations.


But in the end, the question of the day was: could Ueli Kestenholz save his lead despite the fact that he’s more at home in 50-degree steep couloirs than on the kickers and rails of the snow parks? His tightest contender was Rudi Kroell who
seemed to be able to change things with an impressive freestyle performance. But double world champion Ueli Kestenholz kept calm. A backside boardslide at the rail and a Frontside 360 Indy were enough to become the RIPPER 2007. Rudi Kroell took second, Roland Hofer third, Sani Alibabic fourth and Robi Furger fifth – 1:0 for Switzerland!
The skiers’ decision was just as exciting though here, the freestylers were one step ahead in the end: Lukas Brucic showed the most stylish run and took the title. Harry Richter (AUT) became second and Simon Abt third, Martin Misof from Innsbruck took fourth before Roman Rohrmoser from Zillertal valley.
Kathi Gappmayr was able to keep her lead from the freeride day and secured her first and well-earned victory at the Check The Ripper. Aline Bock from Germany showed the best female freestyle performance and took second place while Betzy Koeffler went third in front of Conny Bleicher and Bibi Pekarek.
After the contest, the traditional wild boar BBQ took place bringing the Snickers Nordpark Sessions to an upbeat conclusion.