The Ultimate Ears Winter Whip Snowboard and Ski Festival celebrated its 5th edition with an incredible weekend at the Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho.
The four day event (2-5 August 2018), which is organised annually by LW Mag, saw a host of local and international Snowboarders and Skiers participate in the Slopestyle competition. Luke Dutton and Mawa Jekot took top honours in the Pro Mens and Ladies divisions respectively.
This year’s Slopestyle course was designed by the resort’s Kapoko Park crew and included more features than ever before. A mix of rail, stair and box features were included in the top half of the course moving into the final two big kicker platforms. The course provided fun and technical options for the competitors, allowing for progressive runs throughout the jam style contest.
The Pro Mens division did not disappoint with an array of technical riding and big air tricks being thrown down by the top competitors. Errol Krauss made his return to South Africa from the UK to compete, and it paid off with runs including a Toe 180 to Switch 50-50 to Switch Back 180 out and Hardway 270 Switch Frontboard on the rail garden sections, a Backflip, Back 540 Indy, and Cab 180 on the kickers saw him claim the 3rd step of the podium.
Kaylib Louw, who finished in 8th last year, upped his game immensely with a Back Tailslide on the square rail, a Front Lip Noseslide on the handrail and a Frontboard on the rainbow rail before landing a big Frontflip, a Back 540 and back-to-back 540’s on the kickers to take 2nd place.
Luke Dutton always finds himself in the mix for the top step and this year he finally nailed it. Dutton’s trick list of a 50-50 to Switch Back 180 out, Front Lipslide and Front 360 in the rail gardens, and a Front 360 Double Shifty, Superman Frontflip and Back 360 Grab over the kickers edged out the rest of the field to take the win.
The win also sees Dutton take the Club Med prize consisting of a snow holiday for two to a Club Med resort in the French Alps.
In the Ladies division it was Mawa Jekot who put in a solid performance to claim yet another Winter Whip victory. Jekot’s dominant victory came from her Switch 180 on 180 out on the flat box, Switch Boardslide on the down box, Noseslide over the rainbow rail before throwing a Cab 180 Indy, Switch 360s and stylish Methods over the kickers.
Vanessa Phillips rode well all weekend long seeing her take a well deserved 2nd place. In the Rail garden sections Phillips stuck a Front 50-50 and Boardslides moving onto a Cab 180 and Tailgrabs over the kickers.
14 year old Anja Gluch rounded off the podium with her progressive runs featuring 50-50’s through the top sections of the park and Straight Airs over the Bonk and kickers.
The win also sees Jekot take the Club Med prize consisting of a snow holiday for two to a Club Med resort in the French Alps.
The Open Mens division saw the biggest field of the contest with competitors having fun and progressing throughout the jam session. Last year’s winner, Kevin Hingst put in a solid performance with a 180 on 180 out over the flat box moving onto Stalefish grabs and Nose grabs over the kickers, but it wasn’t enough for the win and he had to settle for 3rd place.
Competing for the first time in Winter Whip, Russia’s Timur Khananov claimed 2nd place with runs consisting of 50-50’s through the rail gardens and Front 360’s over the small kickers.
Damien Laird has been preparing all season for this contest and it was evident in his riding, 50-50’s through the rail sections and steezy Methods and Shifty’s off the big kickers saw him take 1st place.
In the Ski division, Linze Veenstra (aka JTK) was dethroned by the hard charging Frenchman, Tomas Frontoni. It just didn’t come together for JTK this year as small mistakes in his runs counted against him and although he had some massive tricks to throw down he finished in 2nd place.
Tomas Frontoni charged through the course and finished off his last run with a massive Backflip Spread Eagle on the big kicker to take home 1st place.
Switzerland’s Dominik Schalper rounded off the podium in 3rd place.
The Junior Division saw local Lesotho newcomers competing. 10 year old Thabang Mabari finished in 4th place while 9 year old Sekhola Ramonotsi claimed an impressive 2nd place by hitting the big kickers and throwing in a Fire Cracker over the stairs.
Last year’s winner, Kyle Benade had some stylish riding in his runs with Backside grabs and a Fire Cracker over the stairs, which saw him place 3rd overall.
Ethan Terblanche impressed the judges with his Front 360’s and Backflip over the kickers to finish in 1st place.
10 year old, and first time competitor, Oliver Guy took victory in the Junior Ski division with progressive runs through the park including 180’s over the small kickers.
The competition was rounded off with the Red Bull Method Madness which took place off the last big kicker. A half hour jam session to see who could pull off the biggest, steeziest Method grab. This year it was Damien Laird who threw down to take the win and the R5,000.00 cash prize.
Ultimate Ears treated the athletes and resort guests to activations and giveaways throughout the weekend, while Club Med setup an exclusive lounge offering hot chocolate and gluhwein. Zappa Sambuca kicked off the après-ski party on the snow and celebrations went on late into the night with live performances from Lawless Gentlemen and Sutherland, and DJs Black Sparrow and Half n Half.
Event organiser, Ryan van der Spuy commented, “Although weather conditions threatened to put a damper on the weekend, the passion for snow sports shone through and with the continued support from our partners; Ultimate Ears, Red Bull, Zappa, Club Med and GoneSkiing, we were able to mark off another fun and successful Ultimate Ears Winter Whip event.”
2018 Ultimate Ears Winter Whip Results
1st – Luke Dutton
2nd – Kaylib Louw
3rd – Errol Krauss
1st – Mawa Jekot
2nd – Vanessa Phillips
3rd – Anja Gluch
Luke Dutton and Mawa Jekot presented with their Club Med prize.
1st – Damien laird
2nd – Timur Khananov
3rd – Kivin Hingst
1st – Ethan Terblanche
2nd – Sekhola Ramonotsi
3rd – Kyle Benade
1st – Tomas Frontoni
2nd – Linze Veenstra (JTK)
3rd – Dominik Schalper
1st – Oliver Guy (Junior Ski)
Photos by Alexander Wolf Photography and Michael Allen Photography.