Stage is Set: Star Snowboarders Draw Names For Head-to-Head Battles at Oakley & Shaun White Air + Style Beijing
The anticipation is almost over.
After days of buildup in Beijing, Star Snowboarders vetted to collide in the Chinese Capital, came together in the majestic Olympic “Bird’s Nest” Stadium on Friday for the event’s official press conference, the rider’s draw and their final practice.
Snowfall blanketed the city all day long – setting the tone and picturesque winter scenery the day before the snowboard and music spectacle rocks the Far East for its second year. With electricity in the air and the buzz beginning to grow throughout the town, the media, Shaun White, the riders and Oakley Staff gathered in the Bird’s Nest Press Center to officially kick off the weekend and the TTR 6-Star contest.
The festivities initiated with TTR World Snowboarding Tour Founder Andrew Hourmont; TTR President Reto Lamm; Oakley Vice President-Global Sports Marketing Pat McIlvain; Shaun White; last year’s Oakley & Shaun White Air + Style Beijing Champion (and O Team Rider) Sebastien Toutant; and Red Bull China’s Marketing Director addressing the media and riders.
“Oakley’s excited to be part of the evolution of snowboarding in China,” McIlvain said. “It wasn’t that long ago that Oakley (five years ago) brought the snowboarding quarterpipe to China with the Oakley Style Masters contest held at Badaling resort. To go from that small resort, to holding an international competition in the 2008 Olympic Stadium, is truly fantastic. It’s a testament to the global influence of snowboarding and Oakley’s commitment to our continued growth in China. I can’t think of a better way to tell our apparel, eyewear and brand story to the Chinese market.”
“Being in the Bird’s Nest is a true honor,” added White. “I know the riders and I know myself feel that it’s an honor to be here. It’s pretty cool. I think China has what it takes to be truly influential in the sport – because they have these fresh eyes – this excitement about them. Seeing the rookie riders at the Oakley Challenge the other day, you can see in their faces how excited they were to be here, how fresh they were to the sport. I think that really leads to something great.”
Following the introductions – riders picked names out of a box for the official rider’s drawing – where TTR points leaders determined which of their fellow top riders would duel head-to-head with them on Saturday evening to vie for the Air + Style Beijing Title and the TTR “Ring of Glory” – complete with 1,000 TTR points and bragging rights.
After media Q & A sessions, pictures and pleasantries – the riders themselves finally strapped into their boards to begin official warm ups and the final practice amidst falling snow and cold conditions. All as media from across the Globe took in the scene, music acts for the following night performed sound checks and the rest of the show’s final touches were put into place for the big day on Saturday.
With that, the stage finally was set for what is sure to be an absolutely epic progression of freestyle snowboarding in one of the most utterly impressive sports venues on Earth.
Don’t forget to tune into the live webcast – right here on Oakley.com on Saturday. Link: LIVE WEBCAST ON OAKLEY.COM
Official Rider’s Draw
Round 1 Draws
3rd Qualifier vs. Mark McMorris
2nd Qualifier vs. Eric Willett
Ethan Morgan vs. Nils Arvidsson
1st Qualifier vs. Seppe Smits
Sage Kotsenburg vs. Torstein Horgmo
Marko Grilc vs. Mikkel Bang
Gjermund Braaten vs. Ulrik Badertscher
4th Qualifer vs. Sebastien Toutant