We saw some amazing runs go down at the Laax Open, but none has been more talked about than Patrick Hoffmann’s first line in the qualis — a run that landed him in 23rd place with a very modest score of 46.26. What’s up with the disconnect between what the riders and the public want to see, and what the judges choose to reward? Our photographer on the scene, Jonas Gasser, caught up with Patrick to get his thoughts…
Yo Patrick, how’s it going? After a tricky season last year it looks like you’re finally back at 100%. How’s your head these days?
I’m so happy with how everything has healed since the concussion. It happened last year during airbag training and it was pretty heavy. Afterwards I took a break from training and comps. I got some professional treatment and was able to build up my confidence with the homies lap by lap. Just good times riding with my friends Florian Fischer, Alex Lotoro and Huber Cop.
Did you change your riding style?
A bit… at first I just wanted to minimize the risk with some mellow riding and focus on my style. Also, it was a good opportunity to push my creativity. But after a while I really had some good self confidence and started to go harder on the big jumps.
How were you feeling coming into the Laax Open?
We were pretty lucky this year with the training sessions. We had super good snow conditions and nice weather on the first day, some clouds on the second day and then it was time for the qualies on the third day. I had fun, but my run wasn’t the cleanest and I guess the judges weren’t that stoked on it. I tried to bring a lot of my style and flavor to it and was pretty happy about it.
You’re not the only one who was stoked on it. The commentators went crazy. They were talking about it all day.
Yo, I have no idea what that was about. Those guys were definitely feeling it. I’ve never gotten so much positive feedback on a run before.
What’s your take on the judging in the World Cup events this season? Do you think that they appreciate your creativity?
So far I haven’t put down my runs clean enough to complain. But I was pretty disappointed after a conversation with a judge in Chur. He mentioned that they liked my backside double rodeo but then he also told me that they couldn’t score that one very high. So I asked him if they noticed my pre-grab and he said, “ohh no, not really”. I think that went better this time in Laax but we will see if they actually reward it when I bring down a clean run.
What do you think about the new features on the Laax Open course this year?
I like it, but it’s difficult to ride. But in the end a comp rider has to adapt to every course as quickly as possible, and I like that challange. You really have to get your moves right. I had a hard time when I went switch on the new quarter pipe and didn’t know what to do. At the end I put some Yung Doli style on it, even though I know that’s not what the judges are looking for. But it felt right at the time.
If you could change something in the judging system, what would it be?
I’m not sure… but a cool thing would be to let the riders also have some input. Maybe they could livestream us as we watch it in the riders room to see our reactions. Maybe the judges would want to hear that feedback too?
But right now it’s also good how it is. Nobody should be limited in their riding and trick selection. I ride how I want and how it feels right to me. And if it gets appreciated I’m happy. In the end I do it for nobody other than myself.
How’s the Swiss team feeling about your approach in the contest runs?
My coach, Remo, is feeling it. He likes how I ride and is happy with me as an element in the team. I just had a talk with him and he told me to continue on my path and that he’s confident that I have a place in this comp scene. But I also just got a disappointing message that I’m not invited to America for the other world cups this season…
What will you do when the team heads to America… maybe it’s time to start working on a street part?
I’ll just keep going at full speed. You can’t drive with the handbrake on! I’ll film as much as possible and check the outcome in the end. The street part is for sure a plan that’s in my mind right now. I want to bring in all of my riding and not only show one element in my video projects.
What’s the story with the new fit?
It’s from BS Rabbit… a cool company from Korea. They are doing crazy fits, pretty alternative, with crazy colors and designs. The jean pants and jacket are real denim. But you have to choose the right conditions for this fit. Mostly sunny and cold so the snow doesn’t stick to it. They also produce the clothes for Lucas Baume and have some collabs with him.
So when will we see a collaboration with you?
Uhhhh… that would be so sick! Last time they asked me what I would like for a color-way, so I sent in an idea and received a first sample. But I’m not sure if there will be anything coming out as an official collab product.
We see a lot of appreciation for your riding, especially on Insta. What is your take on Social Media?
I just like to lap with the homies and get some cool clips. Then I put some music over it and I love to cut it up. But it’s also a bit of a love / hate relationship. When I haven’t uploaded in a while I feel pressure to post again. I also want to only put out dope shit and nothing average.
What’s on your program for the rest of the week? Will you switch into party mode now?
I think riding fits best for me right now. I’m looking forward to some more laps with Flo and of course some parties on the weekend. There are a lot of friends here in Laax, it will be a good time for sure up here!
To close the interview, what is your plan for the future and goals? Are we gonna see a Brainwash sequel?
Brainwash was my first smaller project. I want to do something bigger and produce some high quality shit like Judd made this year… but in my style. And of course I’d like to win a really big event.
I guess these are my two goals. But more importantly, I’m planning to stay true to myself and just have fun riding!