by Skye Darden
photos by David Malacrida and Skye Darden
Dollo going nuts over the middle hip
Last week, Les Arcs, France saw one of the most exciting and creative freeski events ever held.
The B&E Invintational, in it’s second edition, is a skate inspired comp that invites the best riders in the World, shredding one of the most impressive venues ever built. Bern Unlimited had a front row seat to all the action, including the halftime concert featuring Master Killa from the Wu Tang Clan!
Bern representing at the B&E
The B&E Invitational was created last year by Phil “B-Dog” Casabon, and Bern Global Team rider Henrik “Edollo” Harlaut. The original concept called for a halfpipe, sprinkled with rails, boxes, and walls, and two massive bowls at the end. “Anything worth doing, is worth doing better”, was the motto this year. After spending three weeks building this amazing feature, the shape team from Scandanavian Shapers perfected an exact skatepark, made of snow.
Just about ready to go to work shaping
The week was broken up into two main daily sessions, including a night shoot, and then followed the next day, by the comp. The comp was shown all over the World on livestream, and consisted of a “Rider’s Jam”, then a “Best Style” session, followed by the halftime show with Masta Killa, and finally, a “Best Trick” session.
The flying Frenchman, Jules Bonnaire was boosting all week long
Bern Unlimited had been an integral part in making this connection happen with Masta Killa, as Henrik’s pro model helmet has a direct conection with the Wu Tang Clan. It was not hard to find a smilling Edollo shredding around, even after suffering a horrible crash at Winter X Games earlier this season.
Edollo shows love for the Wu Tang Clan
Even with a fixed collarbone, complete with plates and screws, Henrik was destroying the course, taking it apart section by section. His creative style, and unique approach provided the fans with many crazy lines throughout the week.
Henrik “Edollo” Harlaut and Phil “B-Dog” Casabon checking out what they want to do next,
And then dropping into the first hip section…
Henrik was stoked to be able to invite some of the World’s best freeskiers, including legends like Rory Silva; style masters Jossi Wells, and Adam Delorme; and others that have shown they had the style to compete. Bern rider Noah Alabadejo, from Andorra/Spain, was very impressive in his line choice, including going huge on the gap to wallride. His flat 540’s, spinning high into the wall, had many of the riders taking notice.
Noah slaying the middle hip…
and then blasting the hip gap to wallride…
It was really nice to see many of the riders wearing their Bern helmets, including Emile “B-mille” Bergerion, from Quebec, Antti Ollila from Finnland, Jules Bonnaire, and of course, Henrik sporting his new pro model lid.
Antti Ollila can’t wait to drop again
B-mille tail pressing the rail at the end of the course
Even the guys at Blue Tomato were stoked to get their Wu Tang Colab Watts Helmets signed by Masta Killa himself
As the jam session continued on, riders were slaying lines all over the course. After a small break and some food, the sun dipped down, and the course really became a skatepark. It was a slow start for the riders, but they were showing so much style and skateboard inspired moves. Even when they were not going as big, it was still very fun to watch.
Dollo spinning wildly during the “Style Session”
After a wild session, it was time for the Masta Killa concert, held right next to the venue. The fans were treated to some classic Wu Tang Clan songs, along with the sounds of the dj’s from Kia Bamba. Most of the riders crowded around the stage to get a good view of the concert, and get their groove on. Masta Killa did not disappoint, as he tore it up on stage and seemed to have really pumped up the riders for the next session.
B-mille watching Masta Killa from the middle bowl
B-dog & Edollo on stage with Masta Killa
Once the concert had finished, it was once again time to shred. This time, it would be the “Best Trick” portion on the competition. Maybe the riders were inspired by the music, or maybe they just started to feel it after a few drinks, but they started to kill it during this last session. Many of the riders were going big, much like earlier in the day, when the snow was softer. This was highlighted by Jules transfering fron the left side hip to the middle hip landing.
Jules Bonnaire’s monster transfer
As the night was coming to a close, there was a very special feel around the venue. The format for this comp was that the judges were actually the riders themselves. They voted on four different prizes including Best Trick, Best Style, The People’s Choice, and Best Overall Rider. Bern was lucky enough to have claimed three of these prestigious prizes! The People’s Choice Award went to Henrik, as he deserved it by showing what a boss he was, even while taking care of a major injury, and all the media work throughout the week. The next award went to Phil Casabon for the Best Style. But, it was in the next two awards that really showed what kind of comp this was.
Dollo bagging the People’s Choice Award
Since the riders were judging everything, but the “People’s Choice Award”, it would be of the highest honor in our sport to recieve such praise from your peers. Noah had been slaying all week, and his flat 5’s from the hip gap to the wallride were impressive enough to snag the “Best Trick Award”. To say he was stoked, was an understatement. But what came next, was simply amazing…
Noah Alabadejo wins “Best Trick” with his 540 from the hip gap to wallride
It was finally time for the “Best Overall Rider Award”, the most prestigious award given at the B&E. This award demonstrated who impressed all the other riders the most over the entire week. A few riders were deserving for sure, but there was one little dude who just stuck out more than the rest. Noah must of been on cloud nine knowing that the World’s best riders considered him the winner. This was one of the best moments I, personally have ever witnessed in our sport. The tears and the Harlaut Brand champagne were flowing, and with good reason!
Noah is man!!!!
It was an amazing time in France! Many thanks to all the organizers, sponsors, shapers, and riders for making one of the best ever comps held to date. Big ups to the Bern riders, and especially Henrik and Noah… Now grab your helmet and “protect yo head”!