Published on October 30, 2012 | by Tom Henderson & Robert Bagshaw0
Cool response to Freeze festival
London’s Battersea Power Station, played host to Freeze Festival last weekend with skiers from across the world’s snowy peaks showing off their skills in the flesh – something previously unattainable in the industrial surroundings of South West London until the arrival of the festival in 2008.
With a purpose-built 32 metre jump in the foreground and the power station behind, the setting was epic – even more so after sunset when the floodlights beamed up both the power station’s tall table-leg-like chimneys and the snowy ramp.
Big name music acts such as Public Enemy, Mark Ronson and DJ Shadow lined up throughout the weekend in a festival billed as the UK’s Winter Sports Festival and Apres Ski Party.
By a cruel irony, it was bitterly cold and all those who failed to dress in full ski attire were left to search – in vain – for warmth around the site.
Accentuated by the noticeable lack of visitors – the festival stretched far and wide underneath the power station and those who did brave the elements huddled in groups like Antarctica’s penguins.
It was extremely cold.
Stars of snow
The conditions were not perfect for the snow stars either – winner of the Ski Big Air competition, Henrik Harlaut, said: “It’s not a big as the normal city airs, the difficulty with the jump was the wind.”
This was echoed by fifth placed Vincent Gagnier who responded candidly to questions regarding the ramp: “It’s pretty small and the wind made it difficult.”
Nevertheless, watching the skiers perform was an enthralling experience.
Descending down the ramp backwards before momentarily disappearing from view, the skiers then flew out of the sky whilst attempting multiple rotations with numerous grabs, flips and movements to boot.
One can’t help but marvel at the skill whilst simultaneously questioning their mental stability – it is a truly captivating sport.
Even more so when the skiers bail and scurry off into the barrier in a plume of ice, snow and water. Sadistic spectators could be forgiven for wishing them all to fall, something that could easily be imagined skiing’s answer to Angry Birds.
It was unfortunate that so many festival goers failed to witness the spectacle close up favouring a long-distanced view from the sheltered bars and tents scattered across the site.
Fans favorite and overall runner-up Gus Kenworthy sympathized with those who kept away from the action: “The setting is super cool, I just wish more people came out, but its freezing so I can understand that.”
The Apres Ski was jovial yet steeply priced at £4-something a pint, right or wrong this is something that has to be begrudgingly accepted from high profile events in the capital.
Questionable scheduling clashes between big-draw DJs Zane Lowe and Mark Ronson and the Ski Big Air competition left the Skiers worse off still as punters congregated for the back-to-back DJ set.
Both Lowe and Ronson failed to be lulled by the cold; Lowe using his supreme DJ skills in combination with Ronsons encyclopedic song selections to shake some warmth back into the Freezing Festival.
The schedule clash epitomised the issue with Freeze.
It sold the skiing short by putting it up against Lowe and Ronson, it turned the Skiing into a gimmick and took the edge off what should have primarily been a snow event.
Had this event been in the Alps, the DJs may have been the one to miss out on an audience, yet here in snow-shy Britain the loser was obvious.