Photo byÂ The Boyf
Love ’em or hate ’em you can’t deny that Burton do a lot for the snowboarding scene. The Burton AM Tour gives youngsters the chance to not only gain Burton tour points but TTR points as they get to compete across Europe. They also put on the annual series of comps in the UK, the Burton Scrap Metal (previously Black Metal) and it was this series that I was lucky enough to ride in on Friday. Why lucky? Well it gave me the chance to have my first proper attempt at riding a street style rail, complete with stairs to add to the scariness.
Yes there have been similar rails at slopes in the past but until now I haven’t felt brave enough to try them and there haven’t been any of quite the same format as this years rails, designed by Steve Revill.
Steve is the freestyle slope coordinator at MK SNO!zone and it’s down to the standard-rise since he’s been working there that I even started riding at MK again after what was an 18 month break.
He’d put together a straight rail and a kink on a stair set and it was good to see even the good riders getting challenged to try new stuff and push themselves over the course of the evening. I was quite sad that I’d missed the other 2 legs of the event due to injury and the travel distance but really glad that I made the trip to MK on Friday night.
It was a really advanced setup, quite literally “nothing for beginners here” with a mini wall-ride, side on gas pipe, the stair set, skip (with attached wall ride), pole-jam gas pipe over a gap of doom (well that was how I was viewing it anyway) and a spine with a bench rail on top. Not being a fan of gas pipes let alone side on gas pipes I do like to have something to warm up on first but there was no chance of that, so it was just a case of suck it up and get on with it.
I did very nearly end up starting my new job with a bruised and battered face after face-planting in the snow on my first attempt at the stair rail, but luckily my grazed chin isn’t too obvious and my lip wasn’t as split as it felt at the time! I managed about 5 or 6 goes on it before my foot told me it was time to give up….well give up on the stair rail anyway, I kept riding everything else for the rest of the night.
As the pic above shows I still have a lot of work to do before I actually look any good on a stair rail, my arms need to be lower and my knees a bit more bent, but I did it, it wasn’t quite as horrific as I thought it was going to be and with a bit more practice I reckon I’ll be able to start working on some new tricks on it.
I don’t know if the rails are going to live at MK now that the tour is over, I certainly hope so though because I think they’d be an awesome addition to the board night setups.
So thanks to Ferg from Burton for organising the tour, Lizzie from Burton for giving Ferg the money to do it and Steve for designing some epic rails! I’m already looking forward to next year!