– It has been incredible today! We have stepped up and have had overall higher demand as Luleå Big Air has become FIS-rated through the Swedish Ski Association. We hit our attendence record, and the riders who come from all over the Nordic countries have really been on a whole new level, says Hugo Mörtsell, Marketing Manager for Luleå Big Air, and student at Luleå University of Technology.
World-class skiiers competed
It is the fourth year in a row that students from Luleå University of Technology organise what has become one of Luleå's big public festivals in winter. Luleå Big Air is one of the biggest ski and snowboard competitions in Sweden and gained international FIS-status in 2018, which means that the riders collect ranking points against major international competitions and the Olympic Games. For 15-year-old Wilma Johansson who won the Alpine women's class, the World Cup in Swiss Silvaplana is waiting.
– It feels great to win - this is the best competition I've participated in so far. All the riders were very good today so I'm glad I landed the trick, says Wilma Johansson, who comes from Örebro.
Pontus Nordström from Östersund, who won the Alpine Men's Class with a Cork 900, also has got World Cup merits.
– It's the first year that I participate in Luleå Big Air but I'll definitely be back because this has given me lust for more. It's great to hear people cheering when landing at the crowd, he says.
Isarr Edwinds from Iceland won the male snoowboard class, and in the new student class Louie Ekepi, won with an impressive double back flip. Kuura Koivisto from Finland received a prize for this year's Sickbird - the sickest trick during the evening.
– There have been a lot of people and a great atmosphere here today, says the expert commentator Jesper "Jeppenator" Norén, who together with the snowboard and freeski commentator Bollen Valencia guided the audience through the competition and gave the skiiers energy before they raced down the the 22 meter high ramp.
Activities for all ages
During the day, visitors were also able to test dog sledding, maze orientation and cross country skiing. Outdoor shops, local businesses, foodtrucks and an ice bar were on site and the Norrbotten Wing flew with JAS Gripen planes over the university area. Luleå Big Air is getting better and better every year and the organisers are pleased to have attracted so many people in different ages.
– We have worked over six months to get everything with the event in place. Everything turned out great, with perfect weather and a big audience, says Hugo Mörtsell.
About the event
Luleå Big Air, one of Sweden's biggest ski competitions for skiers and snowboarders, is organised by an independent association consisting of four students at Luleå University of Technology: Christian Uhlan, Project Manager Hugo Mörtsell, Marketing Manager, Anton Blomdahl, Chief Financial Officer, and Erik Gustavsson, Contest Manager. The first Luleå Big Air was held 2015 and the competition has grown significantly since then, from about 2000 visitors the first year to 6000 last year. This year, Luleå Big Air attracted almost 8000 visitors during the day, according to the organisers. The live broadcast of the competition had about 24,000 viewers. 23 skiiers and snowboarders participated in the competition classes and 10 riders participated in the student class, new for this year.