The Ultimate Ears Winter Whip Snowboard and Ski Jam took place on Saturday, 5 August 2017 at Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho. The event, which is organised annually by LW Mag, brings together snowboarders and skiers from all around South Africa and Lesotho to compete and promote snow sports on the continent. This year’s event also saw participating riders from the United States, Canada, Denmark, Scotland and Ireland.
Afriski’s Kapoko Park crew did an outstanding job creating the Winter Whip slopestyle course, which consisted of a mix of rail, stair and box features before heading into the final two kicker platforms. The course provided both fun and technical options for the competitors, allowing progressive runs throughout the jam-style contest.
Pro Men Division
The Pro Men division was as exciting as ever with the division’s top scorers throwing down massive tricks and technical rail riding. The battle for second place was a close call between last year’s winner, Andrew Le Roux and Luke Dutton. Andrew was technically very good, but wasn’t as consistent as Luke. Andrew did land big tricks, like the Cab 540 and Switch Back 360, but went down hard on his last run going for the Front 720 – thus seeing him finish in third place. Luke Dutton included very few Switch tricks, but he did land a Front 720, solid Front 360s and Back 180s. His technical work on the rail sections earned him the second-place spot. However, Liam Roy was a class above the rest, killing it on every feature with the biggest spins and combos of the day, including a Cab 540 to Front 720.
Roy took the 2017 Pro Men division win. He also picked up the Club Med prize consisting of a snow holiday for two to a Club Med resort in the French Alps.
In the Ladies division, we saw the biggest battle for first place in Winter Whip history. Canada’s Christal Legoffe and South Africa’s Mawa Jekot went head-to-head. In the end it was 3-time-winner, Mawa who edged out Christal for the overall win. Mawa consistently did spin tricks over the big jumps including Cab and Front 360s as well as Cab and Front 180s. She also did a full run in Switch, and was consistent on the rails. Christal was hot on her heels for first place with technical rail riding and spin tricks off the kickers – Front 360 and Back 180. What ultimately let her down was not hitting the big kicker lines. Vanessa Phillips varied her runs and had solid Board-Slides on the c-box and 180s off the small kickers. She laid claim to third place.
Jekot’s win also sees her take the Club Med prize consisting of a snow holiday for two to a Club Med resort in the French Alps.
Open Men Division
The biggest field of the competition, the Open Men division featured progressive riding from all competitors. Kurt Lane put down consistent runs, scoring enough points for third place. Nick Brodie pushed himself throughout the jam and made use of the whole park. His interesting lines and good rail riding saw him take home the second place win. Kevin Hingst impressed the judges with solid runs that saw him execute perfect rail tricks and hit the big kickers to finish ahead of the field in first place.
The Ski division was yet again owned by Linze Veenstra, aka JTK, and his massive array of tricks. Switch Frontflips, Backflips, Front 5s, 720s and a crazy Backflip over the rainbow rail secured his win and title once again. Ireland’s Mikey O’Donoghue landed stylish 360s throughout the park, including a massive Switch 360 to finish in second place. Third place was taken by Liam Roy who’s spin tricks earned him enough points for the position.
12-year-old Kyle Benade took the win in the Junior division with consistent and progressive riding. 14-year-old Blake Imbert followed in second place. The youngest in the field, 8-year-old Jordan Peyper, unfortunately crashed out in the morning practice.
The Method Madness presented by Red Bull took place off the bottom kicker and finished off the day’s competition. It was a half-hour jam session to see who could pull off the biggest, steeziest Method grab. In the end, it was Luke Dutton who claimed victory and took home the R5,000.00 cash prize.
Thank you to the 2017 Winter Whip Sponsors
Event organiser, Ryan van der Spuy commented, “It just keeps getting better and better, and we cannot thank all those involved enough. The passion for snow sports in a country where it’s so unique shines through at this event every year. We are proud to be a part of it and to host Africa’s only slopestyle contest. We have received such great support from our sponsors this year. A big thank you to Ultimate Ears, Red Bull, Jägermeister, Club Med, Neff, Ogio and GoneSkiing, all of whom helped to make the 2017 Ultimate Ears Winter Whip a great success”.
Ultimate Ears linked up over 40 of their wireless speakers, which were placed all over the park. Throughout the weekend, they brought music to life on the slopes. Jägermeister kicked off the après ski party and celebrations went on late into the night at the Gondola Café with resident DJ Black Sparrow and a live performances from Lonehill Estate and Veladraco.
Ultimate Ears Winter Whip 2017 Results
1st – Liam Roy
2nd – Luke Dutton
3rd – Andrew Le Roux
1st – Mawa Jekot
2nd – Christal Legoffe
3rd – Vanessa Phillips
1st – Kevin Hingst
2nd – Nick Brodie
3rd – Kurt Lane
1st – Linze Veenstra
2nd – Mikey O’Donoghue
3rd – Liam Roy
1st – Kyle Benade
2nd – Black Imbert
3rd – Jordan Peyper
Article curtesy of Ryan van der Spuy, Winter Whip event organiser and owner of LW Mag