Q&A: Harlaut and Casabon dish thoughts on 2016 B&E Invitational

Q&A: Harlaut and Casabon dish thoughts on 2016 B&E Invitational

The B&E Invitational returns to Les Arcs, France this week — March 9-13. The event, hosted by skiing icons Phil Casabon (B-Dog) and Henrik Harlaut (Edollo), draws 24 of the sport’s top names (rider list below) and sets ‘em loose in a skate park-inspired venue, complete with a unique assortment of jumps, transitions, transfers, rails and walls. In addition to the skiing, music serves as a major focal point of the gathering; the third iteration of the B&E Invitational will see performances by artists Walshy Fire of Major Lazer as well as Dillon Cooper. Kya Bamba and DJ Mike Rock will be in attendance, as well, spinning beats while the pros throw down on snow.

Hailed as one of the great “anti-comps” in the realm of skiing, the event is intended to inspire camaraderie, stylish riding and debaucherous-good times after-hours, too. Founders Harlaut and Casabon are honored to host another rendition of the B&E Invitational, and we caught up with the duo to discuss what’s to come.

What does it mean to you to host this event for the third straight year?

Harlaut says, “It means a lot to be able to host an event like this with the help of the best crew. For it to improve every year is a wicked feeling.”

Casabon notes, “It’s a blessing. It means that a lot of people see the potential of an event like this and appreciate the fact that it is taking place. Big thanks to Eric Iberg, Raf Regazzoni, the shapers, the athletes, the fans and all the sponsors for their support.”

Regarding the event, feedback from athletes has been great. Can you point to specific things that participants have said? Something that made you feel really good about pouring so much time and energy into this project?

Casabon explains, “It’s hard to remember what people have said exactly, but the level of happiness is undeniable. Definitely every single athlete shows their gratefulness and we are thankful that [the event] can bring the best out of everyone. That is very rewarding to us.”

What was your favorite single moment from the first two editions of the B&E?

“Probably the last mega trains we’ve done and seeing everyone’s hype after,” says Harlaut.

Casabon remarks, “Probably the Masta Killa concert… I don’t know, classic cliché, but the event as a whole is my favorite.”

What are some of your fears and concerns regarding hosting a contest of this magnitude?

“Rain, mixed with hail, snow and super strong winds,” says Harlaut, “but I’m sure it would be a good time anyways with the kind of crew we got there.”

“I don’t have any,” adds Casabon. “I just hope to inspire change in the way parks are built at [skiers’] local hills. If more events like this arise, then the sport will grow that much more.”

The course layout is certainly a central attraction of this event. How do you think your skate-inspired venue stacks up against more traditional slopestyle courses?

Harlaut explains, “I think it’s really good for the creativity of contest skiing. It’s wicked to see [our format] starting to influence other contest courses, for example, the Olympic test event in Korea. I hope to continue that direction where [skiers] will have to use more ski control rather than just go straight down a hill.”

Do you have a vision of how skiing contests and events might evolve in the future?

Casabon says, “The B&E Invitational-style course is the future of park contests… It combines halfpipe and slopestyle, but the B&E Invitational itself will never be a contest, more so a concert. Also, big-mountain comps with [a combination of] natural features and hand-built features will stick around forever, I feel… it’s the ultimate.”

What were some of your favorite skiing events and contests to watch when you were growing up?

“Red Bull Big Air in Åre, Sweden was the first big event I got to see live, so that was my introduction to it all. Once I got on the Internet and started to get more into [skiing], the US Freeskiing Open and X Games were the highlights of the year. Then, the Candide Thovex Invitational just opened a new era,” says Harlaut.

“I didn’t watch contests as much I as watched movies growing up, but US Open and X Games were the main [for me],” explains Casabon.

Watch: B&E Invitational highlights, 2015

This is now the third time you’re hosting the event at Les Arcs. Has the resort welcomed you back with open arms? Have you considered taking the event elsewhere? The U.S. perhaps?

“Hard to say, we’re playing it by ear,” says Casabon.

Harlaut adds, “We’re very thankful for Les Arcs backing us over these last three years. You never know where the next [event might be held], but we’re stoked for the third to be in Les Arcs. Booyah!”

Walshy Fire of Major Lazer is set to perform the halftime show this year. The musical acts at B&E Invitational never fail to impress. Last year it was Masta Killa. How do you convince these guys to fly across the Atlantic to perform in front of a bunch of skiers?

“It’s because of [Eric] Iberg and Raf [Regazzoni] that these things are happening,” says Harlaut, “so I’m very thankful for that. I’m definitely blown away that it’s all happening and coming together. Big thanks to the crew!”

Will the event be featured in your two-year film, set to release this fall?

Harlaut says, “That you will find out in the movie!”

2016 Live Stream Info:

The 2016 B&E Invitational will be streaming live, here, at the following times:

Times listed in EST – Eastern Standard Time.

Saturday, March 12

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. — Pre Show
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. — Best Line Session
11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. — Half Time Show with Walshy Fire of Major Lazer
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. — Best Trick Session
12:30 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. — Awards

Did you set a reminder via your mobile device?

B&E Invitational Invited Riders, 2016:

Phil Casabon – Canada
Henrik Harlaut – Sweden
Tanner Hall – USA
Tom Wallisch – USA
Jon Olsson – Sweden
Jossi Wells – New Zealand
Clayton Vila – USA
Yoshiya “Bull” Urata – Japan
Lucas Stål Madison – Sweden
Sämi Ortlieb – Switzerland
Adam Delorme – USA
Jules Bonnaires – France
Ahmet Dadali – USA
Max Hill – Canada
Torin Yater-Wallace – USA
Candide Thovex – France
Magnus Graner – Sweden
Jacob Wester – Sweden
Will Wesson – USA
Taylor Seaton – USA
Emile Bergeron – Canada
JF Houle – Canada
Alex Beaulieu-Marchand – Canada
Joona Kangas – Finland

Related: X Games Oslo 2016 photo gallery

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