Heavy snowfall arrived today on Wednesday, 3 February 2016, the celebratory opening of the new half-pipe at Grindelwald-First. This was no problem for the snowboard pros Iouri Podladtchikov and Gian Simmen. They inaugurated the half-pipe, currently the only one in the Bernese Oberland, shortly after midday with impressive jumps. Afterwards, the 120 metre long, 5.6 metre high and up to 22 metre wide pipe belonged to the young Swiss talent who had been invited, countless kids and finally all winter sports enthusiasts who wanted to try freestyling. "I am very happy that the half-pipe has finally returned to the Bernese Oberland. It's perfect for training or simply for having fun", said former Olympic champion Gian Simmen briefly after his first jump. The event was musically accompanied with Swiss rap songs from the local band MC Juli. There were free hot dogs and chäsbrätel in the afternoon for all children.
10,000 francs for the next generation
It's no coincidence that the first and reigning Olympic champion opened the half-pipe in the presence of children and young people. Together with Jungfrau Railways, they want the new attraction to sponsor the next winter sports generation. After a request from IPod, instead of a gauge for the snowboard pros, Jungfrau Railways donated a cheque for 10,000 francs for the Swiss-Ski youth fund. This was presented on location to Denis Giger, representative of Swiss-Ski youth promotion, along with Iouri Podladtchikov. "I am thankful that there is another half-pipe in Switzerland" said IPod and explained: "It means a lot to me to be part of the re-opening of the pipe in Grindelwald and to snowboard with the kids. It was here that I won my first Swiss junior championships and received my first sponsorship agreement."
Grindelwald-First to become freestyle Mecca
The new half-pipe at Jungfrau Railways strengthens the Grindelwald-First ski area's position as a freestyle Mecca. A total of 600,000 francs have been invested. It is expected to cost around CHF 100,000 for maintenance every year. Urs Kessler, CEO of Jungfrau Railways, is convinced that the investment is worth it, "The opening of the half-pipe is the highlight of this winter for me. I am as happy as a small boy." It is intended that the pipe not be solely reserved for the professionals of the freestyle scene, but should attract all winter sports enthusiasts, young and old, who would like to try out being a freestyler.
Link to video and photos: www.jungfrau.ch/halfpipe