Seoul Snow Jam 2009

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As reported about in this month’s events, the Seoul Snow Jam snowboarding event made Gwanghwamun Plaza feel almost like the more famous X-games. A few quirks aside, it was a fairly well-run, if overcrowded, event.
The first snowboarding event to hit downtown Seoul meant the crowds came en masse. Bringing the ice skating to Gwanghwamun Plaza (instead of City Hall Plaza) as well meant people were trying to see multiple things at the same time.

As reported about in this month’s events, the Seoul Snow Jam snowboarding event made Gwanghwamun Plaza feel almost like the more famous X-games. A few quirks aside, it was a fairly well-run, if overcrowded, event.
The first snowboarding event to hit downtown Seoul meant the crowds came en masse. Bringing the ice skating to Gwanghwamun Plaza (instead of City Hall Plaza) as well meant people were trying to see multiple things at the same time.

Not unlike the fake bull-riding you might see at some bars, the fake snowboard tested your balance and ability to stay on the board. While most riders didn’t last more than a few seconds, this one was really good. The look on the controller’s face (not pictured) was priceless – she’s pretty small so I can’t ramp it up too high, but she’s staying on so well! about summed it up.

The highlight of the weekend-long event was the Big Air competition – go down the ramp, defy gravity, try some spins or tricks, and hopefully land on your board (as opposed to your back, legs, or head). The qualifying heats were held Sunday afternoon:

The crowd right in front of the ramp. I accidentally left my telephoto lens at home, so what I got are wider angles than I otherwise would have liked:

My competition – that two-foot-lens of his is probably good for capturing stars or details on another continent as well.
On the street across from Gwanghwamun Plaza, the so-called ‘extreme park’ featured a chance for the young to get in the snow. While a little cramped for space (it was built on the sidewalk, after all), there was adequate room to watch a bit of a show later on:

After the afternoon preliminaries, we got some lunch, stopped by the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Seoul Museum of Art, then headed back for the finals. It seemed even more crowded as the sun went down and the lights came on:

Getting the ramp and snow ready took some time – I loved their ‘fixing’ technique:
Finally we’re ready to start:

Although there were a few large video screens and the occasional English introduction, I never did hear who won. Thanks to Hermit Hideaways, I can tell you that Gian-Luca Cavigelli (Switzerland) took first place, while Stefan Gimpl (Austria) won second and Markku Koski (Finland) came in third.

I wish there were a bit better of a schedule – a schedule we didn’t know about until we arrived. It could’ve definitely been promoted as a BIG tourist draw, especially since you’re already in downtown Seoul and close to lots of other stuff. That the local restaurants and coffeeshops didn’t quite keep up with the crowds is understandable, but fixable. In short, a great event – and next time (I hope!) it can be even better.
Creative Commons License © Chris Backe – 2009

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