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Grabner Makes It Four in a Row
Fieberbrunn, Austria
Sunday, January 24, 1999

One-and-a-half hours from Innsbruck, Austria, Fieberbrunn is a quite small town — from one end to the other takes you 10 minutes by car, even the houses are located more or less along the street.

ISF World Tour
Sigi Grabner
For many many years snowboard contests have been held here. Years ago when they had no snow, they even built a halfpipe out of grass. Not the one to smoke, but the one the animals are supposed to eat. Well, that year it burned down, but this year it was a different story. It was about to find a "Lord of the Board."

The alpine event took place on the super-clean slope next to the Trend Hotel, where most of the riders stayed. For some of the US and Canadian riders it was not a easy comeback. After they went to the FIS contest, the other riders told them that they would destroy the sport if they would only think about themselves, and not work together.

"He pulled his famous sick, double grab 720 and then a 900 in the end of the pipe..."

On the final day there was Lisa Kosglow, as well as Pete Thorndike on the start. Also Ian Price showed up. On the girls side everything was open. There were hardly any bails. Lisa coming from the States took the big bucks home. She finished first before Ena Himmler (GER) and Steffi von Siebenthal (SUI).

ISF World Tour
Lisa Kosglow
The guys were about to call for revenge since SIGI GRABNER (AUT), the rider of the season, won the last three competitions in a row. And what can I say, he won again in this parallel GS, in which instead of only two runs, the winner has to take eight runs to take the medal.

Grabner is fully prepared for the ISF World Championships next week in Val di Sole (ITA). Also looking good was Mark Fawcett, who bailed in the final run. He had a chance, but he gave it all away, meaning 2nd place for him. In third was Ueli Kestenholz (SUI), who took his spot with an easy smile. The girls still liked him and touched his ass. .

Maybe a little bit too cool was the pipe — pretty icy and not enough vert. On the left wall, if you looked up the pipe, was on the last 40 meters kind of a ramp and no pipe anymore. TOO FLAT. Stefan Gruber (AUT) and Franco Furger (SUI) decided not to compete as it was too risky. Out with injuries were Pauli Burger (AUT) (shoulder) and Michi Albin (SUI) (elbow). A few guys could handle the pipe, one of them of course Daniel Franck (NOR).

He just won the European Championships and lately he is smiling a lot. And he was again when he found his line in the icy, icy pipe. And I can tell you, the guy was going off, and by the end finished in 2nd. Every rider had three runs and the best two counted. Xaver Hoffmann's first run was a nice one, but in the second one he really f*#!ed up. Before the third one I talked to him on the start and he was not smiling. He was under pressure, but his strength was seen 10 minutes later when he pulled his famous sick, double grab 720 and then a 900 in the end of the pipe. And he boosted huge, without smoking he was going high. In third place, and he was super-stoked I can tell you.

Fabien Rohrer became 4th. The absolute ruler besides Trevor Andrews' (USA) first run, the run Mike Michalchuck (CAN) did three times in a row with different variation. Adding to his casual hits, he boosted this time on nine feet amplitude, was a alley oop 900 indy for the last hit. And he stuck everything today. So yeah, he won. He said to me in Laax that he always wanted to go on the ISF tour, but never really had a chances to do it, since he had no money. But now he is here for one year, leading the world rankings and winning the legendary Fieberbrunn pipe event. Congratulations.

ISF World Tour
Steffi Von Siebenthal
I forgot about the parties. They were going on big time. The Trend Hotel turned once more to a house of pleasure. The fire extinguishers disappeared and BB-gun shooting was going on. A few rooms are irreparably ruined and a lot of girls screwed up in the lobby at 4 in the morning. Dieter Happ (AUT), the alpine legend, had his birthday party in the tent outside and offered a whole barrel of beer to everybody stopping by. There was a rock band playing in the tent, and all the pros were sitting at the bar, and, and, and... We could talk for hours. But the nice thing is to experience it yourself. There is stuff happening in Fieberbrunn you might never have seen before.

— Birgit Gruber, Mountain Zone European Correspondent

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