Zurich's freestyle festival and beloved big air, the freestyle.ch adds a second year to its hiatus.
Sad new for action sports fans: Europe’s largest freestyle festival and a revered city big air event, the freestyle.ch will not return in 2016—the second year in a row that organizers have been forced to cancel the event.
“Unfortunately, freestyle.ch will not take place this year,” wrote project manager Neil Morgan in an email to the media. “Once more it’s a great disappointment, but we can’t prolong this decision any longer. We’ve tried everything in the past months to continue the event at this level. We’ve accomplished a lot, but unfortunately certain political proceedings, in addition to an already challenging sponsorship environment, have prevented us from securing the necessary funding from both public and private sources.”
The official PR release provides additional details: freestyle.ch has received the thumbs-up from FIS to become an official part of the World Cup Big Air circuit, meaning the event could become an important stop on the path to Olympic qualification for Big Air snowboarders (and certainly skiers soon as well). But the freestyle.ch jump needed to become bigger in order to meet the FIS Big Air criteria — and the traditional spot on the Ländiwiese in Zurich just wasn’t big enough.
“In September 2015, the organizers submitted an application to police headquarters in Zurich to build the inrun ramp outside of the Ländiwiese,” reports the press release. “Unfortunately, it took three months for the organizers to receive a negative response from the responsible office. The uncertainty about the event location made it even more difficult to find sponsors.”
However, in their search for a new event location, the freestyle.ch organizers have found a possible new location in Bern, where a large available space, existing infrastructure and promises of strong local partnerships present new opportunities. “A lot of support and financial assistance has already been promised from city, cantonal, regional and tourist-board levels,” reports the press release. “A possible relocation to the capital city is being pursued for 2017.”