Monday, November 1, 2010

London’s Freeze Festival and More Snowboarding Gear of the Future

The Relentless Freeze Festival marked the second consecutive weekend of snowboarding events in London and also the end of England’s brief snowboarding season. 

Over the last ten years I’ve been to various forms of London based snowboard competitions, but this was the first time I’d been to this most recent FIS World Cup incarnation. Here are a few things I noticed...

  1. The burger vans are a whole lot prettier these days, although thankfully they still sell the familiar muggy burgers with fried onions that you can only find in UK festivals or B&Q car parks.
  1. The toilets developed unofficial ski resort lift queue themes. The ones near the jump were American resort themed, coming complete with a very patent and orderly queue and the toilets between the two music stages had a more Germanic free-for-all pushing contest feel.
  1. The organizers provided a handy list of things we should not bring. 
What not to bring   
- Alcohol (there are tons of bars at the festival).
- Glass objects.
- Pets.
- Laser pens.
- Drugs, they are illegal.
- Any weapons or items that may be found offensive to others.  

People were determinedly ignoring one of those rules and for a change in London it wasn’t that everyone was tooled up and feeling a bit stabby.

  1. The jump was one hell of a lot bigger than back in the day and the riders were top quality. Marko Grilc was the winner, landing a 1080 double cork in the last round and it was good to see Brit Jamie Nicholls finishing a respectable 7th in front of a nicely partisan crowd. 
  1. Despite the size of the jump and the quality of the snowboarders the FIS competition format was wee bit on the dull side and the crowd never really got into the event. This was partly due to the pregnant pauses between each run as each rider waited to get his results in front of the television audience and partly because the background sounds of the festival swamped the music and MCs of the main event. It was a shame that the decent bands were on several hours later weren’t on at the same time and interacting with the competition. A bit of music would have made things a lot livelier, something the older versions of this event used to do a whole lot better. 

Here’s a quick look at some of the interesting gear that was getting exhibited at the show:

The Kingdom of Norway provided us with our second one-piece retailer in two weeks as Slakkline brought their Hyggepiece (cuddle overall) to the UK.

Slakkline’s version of the one-piece is not designed for snowboarding , because it’s essentially an adult sized baby romper suit. They were doing brisk business at the Freeze on Saturday because it was a Halloween fancy dress day, but I’m not sure when you’d want one outside those circumstances and it sounds like they don’t either…

The world's least functional clothing! We launched the original onepiece suit in 2007, and our cuddle suits in cotton has become highly replicated. There is only one original - Hyggepiece® by in Hemsedal, Norway.
If you fancy splashing out £70 ($110) on some non-functional clothing then fill your boots. 

It took me a lot of guesses to figure out what this logo meant. SUTSU is UK boardwear brand that has been around since 2006 and they’ve produced their first winter range this season. It’s a pretty slick organization with some good looking clothing and they were offloading a lot of stuff at the Freeze.
Here’s a look at some of their winter stuff…
They’re good value at just £25 ($40) per t-shirt and £45 for a hoody. 
There’s an interview with the founder and designer Jon Wallhouse here

These guys launched their business on the Friday of the Freeze Festival. They produce exclusive artist-inspired t-shirts and they plan to link up with a different artist to produce each new range. Their first collaboration is with an artist called Athier and I like the cut of his jib. They were nice guys when I have a quick chat to them but the spiel on their site, which I read afterwards, was a bit bewildering

Our goal is to blur the lines between clothing, music and art in the most limited manner possible. 

In an urban, web enabled world, it has become really tough not to find something if you look for it. The flip side of this, is that it is equally as tough to keep something to yourself as well. It's hard to find a truly exclusive product these days isn't it?

Anyway...they did have some nice t-shirts, but buying into the exclusivity will cost you a bit at £65 ($104) a pop.

At the other end of the price spectrum at just £20 ($32) for a t-shirt comes another new clothing company and another nice set of guys. Hostile was launched last year and they serve up a number of tattoo-style designs.

Hostile....Inspired by Adventure, worn by the Brave - Fashion designed for those that dare to challenge themselves in the world's most hostile terrain.
Hostile....The fearless attitude, spirit and grit we hold in chasing our deadly pursuits.
Hostile....For the Brave

Zaini hats was launched as a company in October. This stall was amazingly busy and there were people wearing their hats everywhere. Here’s what they say…
We are a new, colourful and affordable hat company offering a wide range of colour combinations of crochet ‘beanie’ hats FROM £15.99. All ZAINI hats are designed in the UK and are handmade from 100% soft acrylic yarn, for that luxurious feel!

Finally, it’s another company launched this year – HardnutZ. Here’s what they say…
HardnutZ helmets are a fun new brand of high quality ski helmets, snowboard helmets and cycle helmets (both road and street), designed for your comfort and safety but not forgetting your STYLE!
I recon there is a niche here as helmets are becoming more popular, but I’m not sure that these guys have hit the nail on the head. Their designs just weren’t that strong and they were edging a little too much towards the crazy ski hat side of things. Also any company that embraces unnecessary capital letters with the fervor that guys do, always gives me the shivers.
Here are two of their helmets. The ‘CowmaSutra’ and the very copyrightastic ‘The Dogz’

Related Articles.
Last we week went to the Ski & Snowboard Show, the launch pad for many dodgy snowboard products


  1. $40 for a Sutsu tshirt and $72 for a hoody? Doesn't sound like a deal to me

  2. UK prices are just a little bit steeper than you can get in the US. Equivalent products from a bigger company like Burton, who with scale should be able to produce a much cheaper product, are currently $40-$48 for a t-shirt and $96 for a hoody.


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