Imagine you’ve arranged a ski trip to an exciting foreign destination. There’s a sick terrain park, all your homies are there, the booze is cheap and the food is good. Imagine this, and you’ve already got a decent idea of what it’s like to be at the SLVSH Cup in Andorra, a unique gathering of freeskiers partaking of the SLVSH “contest” format that pits riders head to head, trick for trick, until only one man is left standing.
The 2018 SLVSH Cup Grandvalira bracket. Who will take the win??
It’s a balmy 13 degrees Celcius flying in to Barcelona, which seems worlds away from anything ski-related. But after a few hours’ bus ride to the north, the pastoral, hardscrabble Catalonian countryside gives way to the upthrust of the Pyrenees—scraggy, brushy valley slopes that ascend and ascend on either side till they give way to snowy high-alpine mountainscapes, gleaming brilliantly under the Iberian sun.
Welcome to Andorra, the Pyrenean micro-state sandwiched between France and Spain: haven for tax evaders, British vacationers on affordable Continental ski trips, and of course, park skiers like the SLVSH crew. After all, this is Henrik Harlaut’s adopted home—which has accepted him so enthusiastically as to name the local terrain park, Sunset Park Peretol, after him.
Spanish OG freestyle skier Pako Benguerel picks me up at the Andorra La Vella bus station, and we head straight to Peretol. At first glance, it doesn’t look like much: a solitary hotel on the side of the road with one small slope and a rope tow. But this is one of the best terrain parks on this side of the Atlantic. The park crew has filled every available space with rails, boxes, walls and other jibs of every variety. There’s an unusual jump with a tunnel through the middle accessing an up rail, and a sprawling plaza of features that hosts one of the park’s most popular features, a sizable gap to flat-down box.
Welcome to Peretol, aka, Sunset Park, aka Peretol Sunset Park by Harlaut.
For the past two days the routine has been simple: eat, sleep and ski! At midday, a squadron of some of the world’s best park skiing talent—from Olympians to tomorrow’s big names—comes stumbling out of our hotel, packs into our hotel shuttle van until it looks like a clown car, and heads up the road to Peretol for shred sessions lasting until late into the evening under the lights. The first round of SLVSH games have already wrapped up; I can’t give away any of the game results just yet, but here’s a photo gallery to keep you hyped until the games start dropping next week. Stay tuned for more from the SLVSH Cup here at Grandvalira.
The gates of heaven?
Buttery rails for days.
With an afternoon opening and skiing under the lights, the park is still pristine at 3PM.
Lots of interesting feature combinations and possible lines in this setup.
Alex Hall warms up with a cork 360 on the jump.
A local gets his grind on.
Ethan Swadburg goes tail grab to shifty.
The SLVSH Games quickly get underway: Aleksi Patja brings out the front flip liu kang.
SLVSH boss Joss Christensen.
As the sun goes down, the action starts to heat up.
A-Hall gets his rail game on.
Quinn Wolferman warms up some heavy switch spins onto the flat-down box.
Quinn Wolferman goes YOLO.
A-Hall keeps it simple with a disaster 50-50.
Scoping the shots.
Magnus Granér on referee duty.
Tom Ritsch and James Woods face off in a heavy first-round match.
Jake Carney warming up to a massive transfer to down box. It's a work in progress, but every single hit is worth watching.
Tom and Woody's game goes late.
Local homie's got a nice 540 blunt.