Pearce Takes Air & Style


Germany had all the right ingredients for a raging weekend—schnitzel, bratwurst, 60-oz mugs of beer bigger then my head, lieder hosen and The Nokia Air and Style. From what I can remember, the schnitzel was really schnitzelly, the bratwurst was delicious, and the Air and Style was an awesome spectacle.

It’s not the food that makes this event so amazing to watch, it’s the progressive format: take the best snowboarders in the world and let them go head-to-head in two rounds of elimination. The end result is three very happy competitors walking away with a ton of cash and bragging rights.

Although head-to-head contests are fun to watch, pairing snowboarders up to compete against their good friends is never easy, so it’s random draw.  Of the 12 athletes, six of them pull a name at random to determine who they will battle against to stay in the event. The first draw pitted Apparel Athlete Eero Ettala against Eyewear athlete Nicolas Muller. Heikki Sorsa (Eyewear) was up against Andreas Wiig, Kevin Pearce (Eyewear) faces Danny Davis and Torstein Horgmo (Eyewear) drew Chaz Gouldemont.

With the athletes paired up, it was time to start the event. When you have a line-up this stacked with talent, you need to bring your A-game or you definitely won’t advance.  With each rider only getting three chances to beat their opponent, it’s all or nothing. 

Kevin Pearce put down his first ever cab 1260 to knock out his best friend Danny Davis, Torstein Horgmo did a solid switch backside 900 and took out Chaz Gouldemont, and Heikki Sorsa stomped a one footed frontside 360 to knock out Andreas.  This was the first event for Eero Ettala since his knee surgery last spring, and he proved that he’s still got it by stomping a backside 1080 and cab 1080 to advance against Oakley teammate Nicolas Muller. This event looked like Cirque De Sol on crack, with guys flipping and spinning all over the place, and the crowd of 30,000 people loved every second of it.

After one more round of elimination, the field that started at 16 people was cut down to eight and then cut down to four.  The final four guys were Kevin Pearce, Mikkel Bang, Torstein Horgmo and David Benedek.  Torstein took the lead after the first jump. Torstein held the highest score, and it was down to each athlete’s final jump to see if there would be an upset.  Kevin Pearce proved how consistent he is by stomping a 1260 and snatching the lead.  Mikkel stuck an amazing switch backside 1080, but was a few points shy of knocking out Kevin.  At this point the only man who could take down Kevin would be David Benedek, but he was unable to land his final trick, and Kevin walked away with 30,000 Euros! That’s like 1 million US dollars…right?         

This was an amazing start to a long night of debauchery for Kevin Pearce.  He has now won three of the most prestigious snowboarding events in the world, including The Oakley Arctic Challenge. He is definitely taking the snowboard world by storm, and with X-Trail happening in Japan next week, we will see if he can keep his winning streak going.  I’m sure he can because he’s wearing the best goggles on the planet.  That’s not a shameless plug either…it’s science and even a baby knows that. 

To watch the replay of the event, go to


Chris Hotell


December 03, 2007