The big Freeze is here

Ski+board Deputy Editor Rosie Barcroft braves the cold to check out Freeze Festival, taking place 27 November – 1 December on Clapham Common.

I sat on the bus and willed the traffic to move faster. It was the opening night of London Freeze Festival, and I was looking forward to seeing what it would be like, situated no longer at Battersea Power Station, but on Clapham Common.

Jumping off the bus, I power-walked down Long Road towards the lights, fairground rides and low, thumping base. It turned out I walked too far (having to walk round the whole venue, before finding the entrance off Rookery Road). Still, from the unintentional detour, I was able to gauge the size. It could have eaten the Battersea venue alive.

Inside, the layout is well thought out. Different food venues with luxury, frothy hot chocolate, Le Rac Shack selling, (strangely enough) Raclette and many other stalls catering for everyone’s weird and wonderful diets, are set out in what seems like a mini village. And inside, retailers can be found, usually with special Freeze prices.

BMX stunts on display

Bike stunts on display

MC James Thorne started a slow clap that spread throughout the audience, cheering on the Animal team riders. James Jones, 19 grinned from his podium before performing the most hair-raising stunts I have ever seen. Alongside mountain bike rider Blake Samson, free runner Luke ‘Mad Gun’ Madigan and guest Joe Brown entertained the crowd with a near faultless performance.

Nigel Shepherd

Mountain Guide Nigel Shepherd

Nearby, Nigel Shepherd was presenting an avalanche awareness talk. It seems it’s best to have the big four nowadays. Transceiver, shovel, probe and ABS airbag; just make sure you’re proficient in using them before heading to the slopes.

Ending the evening in the Ibiza Rocks bar where some people were throwing incredible moves on the dance floor in time to the DJ, I finished off my beer and chatted to my friends. Although there wasn’t much in terms of skiing/snowboarding to be seen (Saturday is the day for this), the atmosphere was just right. Winter isn’t just coming; it’s here.

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Rosie Barcroft

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