Focal Point: Air + Style LA by Gabe L’Heureux
Air + Style LA was no ordinary snowboarding event, so we didn’t want to cover it that way. We gave Gabe L’Heureux full freedom to shoot A+S, to obtain the shots by any means necessary, with the goal of creating a Focal Point photo essay. There was more to this than snowboarding; the people, place, music, all of these aspects came together to create an event unlike anything ever seen in the US. Gabe shot on film, he shot action, LA urbanites, the event staff, and elements unique to this time and place.
Air + Style LA was a weekend of firsts.
Before this past Saturday night, Air + Style has been held in only four other venues: Innsbruck and Seefeld, Austria, Munich, Germany, and Beijing, China. Its appearance in Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium marked the first time the event was held on America soil, bringing the event’s rich history and energy to a weekend crowd of over 40,000 spectators. For 20 years, snowboarding fans around the world have stood in awe as Terje Haakonsen, Jamie Lynn, Shaun Palmer, Travis Rice, Nicolas Müller, David Benedek, Peter Line, Kazuhiro Kokubo, Halldor Helgason and countless others have dropped in on the mass of scaffolding erected each year. But snowboarders weren’t the only ones invited to LA.
In a historic move, Shaun White invited our two-planked counterparts to share in the festivities. This decision came as a surprise, yet also not, for to open the gates to skiers means to double the audience that Air + Style can appeal to. This may not sit well with some of snowboarding’s hardcore, but spreading the event over two days maintained the feel of a classic A+S event.
The winner, Japan’s Yuki Kadono, also put down competitive snowboarding’s first switch backside triple cork 1620, a trick of astronomical proportions.
With the addition of Air + Style LA, White created a circuit of the year’s three events (Innsbruck, Beijing, and LA), giving riders the opportunity to earn the first Air + Style world tour title, which was awarded to style master Ståle Sandbech.
Air + Style LA official results
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