Hot at The Freeze
2nd November 2009
Eventually. PlanetSKI reporter, Sarah Vizard, hooked up with some friends she’d done a few seasons with to visit The Freeze in Battersea, London. So, what was it really like?
Waking up on Sunday morning to howling winds and driving rain I was questioning quite why I had thought it would be a good idea to spend a day standing outside in London in November.
By the time I arrived at Battersea I hadn’t changed my mind.
On the short walk from Vauxhall to the power station I was getting soaked, and the sight of the run-up to the kicker devoid of any snow didn’t do much to lift the worries that we weren’t going to see much action.
In an attempt to dry off, a few of us headed into the pub opposite for a pre-Freeze pint, an idea shared by a number of other visitors judging by the baggy-trousered, beanie-wearing types that were already in the bar.
It’s easy to spot a seasonnaire a mile off in the middle of London.By the time we’d finished our drinks the weather had if anything got worse, but with the pub having cleared out, we decided we had better brave the rain and follow everyone else in.
As soon as we were through the gates it was chucking down harder than ever, so we headed over to the covers of the retail village. We found several ways to entertain ourselves, including signing up for numerous competitions, which I no doubt will regret when I check my inbox, and dodging the Channel 4 cameras. Bedraggled not a good look for my TV debut.
We also found another bar and some overpriced burgers to munch on.
Things were starting to look up with the weather, but not so with the kicker, which if anything was looking even more sorry for itself. An army of skiers was attempting to distribute snow over the base without much progress. We started to despair that we would ever see any skiing.
Luckily for us there was more method in their snow flattening than it seemed and the kicker started to take shape.
I wasn’t convinced it was anything other than deadly, and neither were the skiers, who nominated James Wood, the youngest guy there, to hit it first. So to chants of “Don’t die Woodsy” he launched himself off it, pulling off a nice trick before landingAnd it was worth the wait. It was amazing watching backflips, 1260s and double corks all in the shadow of Battersea power station.
When it got down to the last eight it was hard to see who was going to win as increasingly complex jumps were landed. With just one competitor left, US skier Bobby Brown was on a seemingly unassailable 98 points, until Russ Henshaw pulled a faultless 1260 to land with 99 points and the title.
With the skiing over we headed to the music stage to watch Chase & Status banging out some drum and base, an excellent way to warm ourselves up. Then it was back outside to see some boarders in a mini-rail comp before the evening finished off with Friendly Fires.
So, I guess the big question is would I go again?
If you’d asked me at half two on Sunday afternoon when I was wet, cold and nothing was happening, I’d have said no. But once the skiing and the music kicked off and the crowds started to arrive it was an amazing day watching some of the best skiers in the world without having to leave London.
Hopefully it’ll be on again next year, and I’ll be first in line for some tickets.
Though I’ll make sure I take Monday off work next year.
For a roughly edited video of the action on the kicker see the video below.