Staff blog: Warming up winter at Freeze
Ski+board Deputy Editor Rosie Barcroft braves the chill to check out the new look Freeze Festival on Clapham Common, including the ‘Hail the Rail’ freestyle showdown.
I stood in front of the piste map and tried to work out where to go. Idris Elba was playing on the Mainstage, world-class snowboarders were about to perform on Hail the Rail, and Animal were putting on another BMX show.
As you’ve probably realised, it wasn’t a typical piste map. There were no squiggly lines. No double black diamonds. Instead, the different events at Freeze Festival had been graded (with green being the least effort and black being the most).
Still undecided, I decided to do a whistle stop tour of all three.
A few minutes later, I stood watching BMX rider James Jones spinning 360 degrees around his handlebars while flying through the air. Although I had already seen them perform on Wednesday, the bigger crowds had obviously spurred them on. After Blake Samson completed a back flip to a round of applause, I ducked into the Alpine Shopping Village en route to the Mainstage.
Inside, brands such as Nikita, Hats For The Hill, and charity Snow Camp were exhibiting. I passed Born For Snow, a hand-knitted hat company to my right, before veering past TNT Snowboarding gear and a long line of people queuing up to have their face painted. (Now ‘The Hulk’ I met earlier made sense.) I took a left coming to rest by an Avalanche safety film showing on the television. Snowsports enthusiasts were gathered round making sure they were clued up before venturing to the slopes.
Exiting, I walked past a gathering of people in festive knits attempting to break the record for the number of people wearing Christmas jumpers in one place. Just in case you were wondering, they succeeded.
In the Mainstage, Idris Elba was entertaining a heavy crowd with his quirky mixes and light display. Earlier, The Cuban Brothers and Clean Bandit performed, receiving well-deserved cheers at the end.
Venturing back outside, some of the top freeride snowboarders were defying gravity. Sparrow Knox especially was riding high on his success from the O’Neill Shoreditch Showdown, entertaining the crowds with reverse spins and jumps. But it was Jamie Nicholls who took the crown in the end, and as Twitter quickly said, ‘who else?!!’.
I left that evening thinking Freeze had done it again. Yes, there’s always room for improvement, but I’m already looking forward to next year.