In March 2022, the inaugural DaniHell Hanka Invitational welcomed twelve unique skiers from across the freeski spectrum to Daniel Hanka’s home resort of Destne, Czechia. Their mission: to enjoy a week-long, no-rules session on a special park setup envisioned by Daniel, and to bring back a touch of the flavor and style from the times before skiing was dominated by rules, regulations and organizations. And now you can finally watch and enjoy The Documentary from the DaniHell Hanka Invitational 2022 event. Welcome to hell!
Hi Dan, how are you? A documentary called The Documentary | DaniHell Hanka Invitational 2022, which captures your event DaniHell Hanka Invitational 2022 has been released recently. For those who are not so familiar with it, could you please introduce the event itself?
Hi, great. I'm just stuck with Šimba in a van somewhere in Germany on the highway because our wheel almost fell off. When we stopped, we discovered that 3 screws out of 5 were missing on the front left. So we are chilling and waiting for someone to come and rescue us. Our final destination - Italy is still far away.
DHI is actually a session for invited riders who bring their cameraman with them. With that, they have a week to shoot the best possible video in a snow park specially designed for them, in Deštné in Orlické hory. These are practically the only rules.
What inspired you to realize this type of event?
In the last era of world cups, skiing becomes quite uniform, even athletic. Skiing thus loses the beauty of the visions of individual characters. Since I consider myself a skier who is very character oriented, I wanted to create something for that part of the ski community. I definitely took inspiration from a lot of other events and created something that made sense to me and met my criteria. Which were mainly: having fun riding without stress and pressure, supporting core riders and highlighting their originality and creativity, bringing "park sessions" back to freestyle skiing.
As the name suggests, the DaniHell Hanka Invitational was based on invitations for selected riders. What freeski names appeared in Deštné that week?
There were more invited riders, but some got injured at the last minute, like for example Olympic winner Miguel Porteous, or some of them got covid... like Joona Kangas. So the final line up was: Daniel Bacher, Lucas Mullauer, Simo Peltola, Vojta Bresky, Šimon Bartík, Siver Voll, Miguel Porteous, Felix Klein, Maximilian Smith, Chris McCormick.
As for the setup, did you design it by yourself?
I mostly came up with the setup myself, but I was helped by Hanzi Prouza, who made many years of Soldiers Big Air at YourPark. So he provided me with all the know-how regarding the location, the difficulty of building on snow, space, etc. After the setup was on paper, we met with YourPark shapers, snow groomers and Petr Prouza, aka the boss of the ski center. And we put together the "final version". We discussed the building, made a daily plan. And we went for it. Of course, the final setup was different... something was dropped, something was added.
What was it including?
The dominant feature was located in the lower part, directly above the chillout zone. It was a multi-functional obstacle that could be ridden in perhaps a million ways. In the middle was a take-off of about 15 kickers, behind it was a hole and a pool was cut into the main platform. From all sides there were entrances, ways, extra take-offs, rails... so that there were as many possibilities for riding as possible. In the upper part there was a jib park, where there were a few technically demanding rails, but also a fun flowy options. And finally there was the bonner box. Which was an 8-meter-high box, stuck almost vertically in a snow platform, which itself could be about 4 meters high.
How long did the preparations for this weekly event take?
Construction on site took 7 days. The overall realization actually took a whole year. In the beginning it was more relaxed. Sorting ideas, thoughts, possibilities, addressing partners. And the closer it got, the more intense it was..
The craziest thing that went down there regarding riding?
I think for me it was front dub 6 from cannon rail by Danny-B.
Having so many riders in one place must have been quite hell as far as parties are concerned, right?
Haha, yeah. But the vibe was absolutely perfect. Every morning we got up, had breakfast and then meet up at the slope. It was super peaceful and of course we were in no rush. Once the setup softened a bit, and someone started riding, it was mayhem right away and everyone started riding, killing it, filming etc. In the evening after riding, we mostly chilled in the chillout zone, had a snack, a beer - of course all the foreign riders liked it very much. And again, completely devastated, we rushed back to the cabin for a dinner, where we had some more beers, discussed the riding and just enjoyed our time together.. it was great. I know that there was a final party in the bar called Dvojka, but I don't remember much, haha.
Yes that sounds great! And what were the reactions to this event and the documentary from the freeski, or overall riders community?
The feedback is very positive, for which I am very happy. The first wave was already in September, where I screened the documentary at the International Freeski Film Festival in Annecy, France, where the world's freeski "high society" meets every year. Back then there were a lot of people who saw the documentary and said that it looked really sick, that it must have been great and that they would like to attend next year too. The second premiere was in Prague, where people were also excited and I got super props from the audience - that really gives me a lot of energy. Well, now the documentary has been online for a few days and has collected over 11k views. Which is great.
Are you planning a sequel?
I'm definitely planning a sequel. At the moment, it depends mainly on the winter, if it will deliver some snow, so that we have something to build it with.
Any shout-outs at the end?
Shoutout for sure to the partners who made it happen. To all the people who were interested in it and helped me in any way. Shapers crew and snow groomers. And of course the riders and their cameramans. Once again, thank you all very much. I am grateful to have such people around me.