Chatel in the Haute-Savoire region of France was the place to be to see Brandon Semenuk dominating at the 6th running of Chatel Mountain Style. There were valiant efforts by both local and big name riders and despite us only being armed with one main camera (albeit an NEX-FS700 prototype from Sony Professional Europe
), we managed to capture some great action.
With the alpine weather playing its part, riders from across the globe ended up only having one contest run to prove themselves on the legendary 'La Face' course. Despite great efforts by the local course designers and builders, the high winds and soft landings meant that some of the big features at the top of the course were barely ridden.
After a few practice runs in the morning, all the riders were corralled to the top of 'La Face' for their one and only run. The amateurs took to the course first and did a fantastic job of wowing the crowd and tricking some of the big features, maybe we'll see some of them in the pro finals soon?
A few crashes and high fives later, it was the turn of the pros. After keeping tricks up their sleeves throughout practice, it was time to show off the big guns...
Aggy was one of the first riders to take a tumble, snapping half a pedal on the top of the course but still riding it out until he went head-first off a rock drop. He somehow managed to get back on and ride the rest of the course. A few riders later, and McGazza launched a backflip off the Red Bull step-down, to huge applause from the international crowd. Nick Simcik was the first to do a backflip over the finishing gap and was unlucky not to hold it on landing.
With the game suitably upped, the rest of the riders knew they had to pull something special out of the bag to rack up the points, and they didn't disappoint, busting tables, whips, nac nacs and backflips, culminating in Semenuk's insane run, full of 360s, a huge backflip off the Red Bull step-down and a massively extended suicide over the final gap, with a trademark smooth landing.
It's hard to imagine how the Chatel Mountain Style contest can be surpassed in terms of big mountain riding. After this, Red Bull Rampage
should be a walk in the park for these guys!