The third round of Big Air Chur marked the kick-off of the world cup season, featuring a stacked music line-up and an unforgettable party. Jonas Gasser was there and took the opportunity to catch up with Nick Pünter for his perspective on the event. But first, here’s a little gallery with some of our favorite shots…
Yo Nick, how’s it going?
Fucked up! I slept from 1 am till 21:00. I didn’t stay out too late but I did start the party early, so I’m still recovering.
How was kicking off the competition season here in Chur?
It’s always a pleasure to be here. It’s also one of my most important world cups and sadly it didn’t work out for me, but I had a good time.
Considering your podium finish last year, did you feel any pressure this time?
Last year was a great experience. For this year, I have to say I was pretty chill and didn’t have too much pressure. On the other hand, I wanted to get into the final, but the bad weather and the lack of training didn’t help.
I bailed in the training and then again pulled a cannonball slam straight onto my ass in qualification. I had a lot of pain and couldn’t take my second run. It’s better now, but at first I couldn’t even walk. I had a little flash back to the the last Youth Olympic Games where I hit my ass in the landing and missed the rest of the comp. But I’m happy it’s nothing heavier — only a bruise. Still, I was a bit bummed since I wanted to show what I’m capable of and I think I could have kept up with the riders in the finals.
What’s up with the jump and the new in-run?
The jump was good… but the new in-run was strange. We’ve never had that kind of an approach with the plastic snowflex instead of snow. It made the speed pretty difficult to estimate. When the rain started the snowflex got very fast and when the sun was out, it slowed down a lot. From the top it felt like we where dropping into an airbag jump. Overall, I liked the experience, but I preferred it last year with real snow.
How do you feel about the event combining a big concert and a much bigger crowd than at a typical mountain comp?
It’s a great idea! It introduces a lot of people to the world cup and I love that it’s a good promotion for our sport. We all know that freestyle snowboarding isn’t the most famous sport and all the acts invite more people to experience our world. It’s all about pushing the sport with a great event concept and bigger acts from year to year. It’s also different from the mountain where visitors have to snowboard to get on the mountain. Here in Chur anyone can come, watch, and enjoy the party. Also the riders can go out and have a blast. All the riders enjoy the event, not only me.
I guess getting 3rd last year felt pretty good…
Last year was just crazy for me! I saw all the heads from the crowd and heard them screaming my name in the final. It’s like you’re the center of that whole festival, with 20’000 people watching. Last year was just a banger!
Seemed like you had a good time during the finals, how was the party in the evening?
The atmosphere with the rain, the lights and the music was just crazy! Since I didn’t get into the finals, I decided to get day drunk and have a good time. The final was just crazy with the Japanese guys and girls doing sick shit and filling up the podium. They were so good, but I think our Swiss team can deliver at the same level. So thats the way to go, we’re gonna give them a good fight next time.
Patrick tried some crazy shit… What’s your take, do you think it’s more about creative tricks or spinning faster these days?
That trick was so sick! But I was a bit surprised when I heard that the judges didn’t even see that he did that pre-grab. Classic.
It’s a bit fucked not to give such a psycho trick the attention it deserves. It’s common to do pre-grabs and butters before the take off in the skiers runs, so they should be looking for it. It was Patrick’s first ever pre-grab double rodeo and it’s the type of thing that the crowd wants to see.
I love all those crazy bring-backs from the skiers. The cork 3s and cork 0s. I think it’s way harder than spinning to 1800. It’s something different and I have to respect Patrick for bringing those tricks into the comps.
What are your plans for the season?
It’s all about the comps. I want to focus more on Big Air since I had a hard slam at the Laax Open last year. After that I had balance issues and had to work with a doctor to bring me back. I still have some struggles with the concentration and balance so it’s easier to focus on one jump than on a whole run.
The next contest on the list is the world cup in China where we will ride the Olympic big air jump. I’m pretty hyped on that contest since the qualification format is different and we’ll have to put down two tricks out of three runs. That works better for me because only the consistent riders will make the finals.
I noticed you have some new wood under your feet…
Yes, I was on Burton last season. But sometimes it just doesn’t work with sponsors. They told me that they couldn’t fully support me and were happy when I found a good deal. So now I’m on Nitro and I’m am happy to be there. There are also a lot of Swiss riders in the team like Moritz, Ariane, Patrick and so on. It’s just sick to be in the same team with a lot of good friends, so I’m looking forward to a great time with Nitro!
Thanks for your passion and love for snowboarding Nick! It’s always a pleasure to spend time with a rider who represents what snowboarding stands for — Work Hard, Play Hard! Also a big shout out to the Big Air Chur for organization for such a crazy event.