Russia’s snowboarding haven hosts major European event
Heard of Park City Mountain Resort in Utah? Now think of the St Petersburg region. Tucked away near Russia’s northern capital is Russia’s snowboarding haven in the making.
It's here the 2nd annual Quiksilver New Star snowboarding event was held, part of a season-long competition called the “Ticket to Ride Tour”; in which riders from all over the world compete in various locations across the world. “TTR is an international association and they have certain criteria for the level of competition.If you want your event to have 4-star status, you need to have these criteria in place – the amount of prize money, level of infrastructure, etc.,” Russian snowboarder Sergey Lapushkin said before adding: “So far everything is quality. I’ve been to 4 and 5-star events, so I would venture to say it looks like a 5-star event!”The higher the star rating an event carries, the more points, and hence the bigger attraction for competitors. Last year's winner, Finn Felix Mobarg, was back to defend his title and only had warm words to say about Russia.“I think it’s great that so many people get involved in snowboarding in Russia, so it develops and people get more out of it, so I think they’re just welcoming us European riders, just come here to our competition, it’ll be fun, and it is every time, last year was so great and this year also really great,” he said.Felix didn’t make the final and had to pass his crown to Russia’s Aleksey Sobolev. The Russian beat riders from Finland, Norway and Austria, proving that snowboarding in Russia is well and truly gathering pace.It wasn't just the snowboarders thrilling the thousands of spectators. The Russian Kamaz truck Masters Race team showed off their monster machine famed for its feats on the Dakar Rally. There was also time for some death-defying stunts by freestyle rider Caleb Moore, a two time X-Games medallist.“I definitely think Russia could be a huge player in extreme sports. I don’t think there are too many athletes who come over to the States for the X-Games, but I think it would be awesome if some athletes started coming and competing,” said Moore.Happy competitors and crowds meant it was a good day for the sport with one of the organizers saying he’s got big plans for the future. “We started about four years ago organizing these contests and now we have the biggest event in Northern Europe, so I think it’s good progress and for the next year we have a plan to bring it to the city, because if we can get about 10,000 spectators here, we can get 50 or 100 in the city,” said Egor Ignatyev.