When: January 4-9, 2010
Where: Davos, Switzerland
With the new year only a few days old and most of us still trying to clear their heads from the last aftermaths of New Year’s celebrations, the TTR has already started full on with the first 6star event of 2010: the O’Neill Evolution in Davos.
As if the weather gods had known that the ladies would make their first appearance at the contest this year, they pulled out their best and blessed us with bluebird skies and full on sunshine. 18 of female snowboarding’s finest hiked up the pipe at the Bolgen at the foot of the Jakobshorn today to proof they’re running with gravity too.
Next to current TTR World Number 1 Sarka Pancochova (CZE), also first ever TTR winner Cheryl Maas (NED), Olympic Kjersti Buaas (NOR), local heros Ursina Haller and Manuela Pesko (SUI) and many more were flying high and spinning wild through the pipe. During the one and a half hour jam session that was the qualification we already saw some smooth 7s from Slovenian rookie Cilka Sadar, a huge McTwist from Caroline Beliard (FRA) and massive 5s from Pesko, Buaas and Andrea Schuler (SUI). Although she couldn’t play out her full potential due to a shoulder injury, Maas wouldn’t deprive the crowd of her signature Haakon flip at the drop in of the pipe. Amongst the most impressing riders though was the Japanese Akiko Miwa, who at the age of 36 still threw McTwists that were higher than some of the airs fellow contestants half her age threw down.
In the end it was her and two Swiss riders Nadja Purtschert and Ursina Haller, who were able to outpace invited riders Cheryl Maas, Sina Candrian (SUI) and Chanelle Sladics (USA), and moved to the finals to compete against Pesko, Beliard, Buaas, Sadar and Pancochova. And they were not done yet. Birthday girl Kjersti was sending out her famous air to fakies higher than ever, fellow former Olympian Pesko stomped FS and BS 5 combos and 18 years old Cilka Sadar, who had just won the Slopestyle and Halfpipe contest at the Junior Open in Laax last month, sticked 7s in all of her three runs. But in the end it was Haller, who had spun her way through the qualification, showing the cleanest and highest run consisting of a FS to BS 5 combo, a Stalefish, a BS air, and a FS.
Although this was a TTR 6star event with a massive prize purse and 1000 ranking points up for grabs, the girls never lost the smile on their faces. The jam session format seemed to really suit the girls, who felt more like just shredding with friends than being under the pressure of a competition. So for sure they will enjoy the riders party tonight just as much or even more – but lets hope that the guys competing in the Halfpipe still manage to hold their party animals back a bit to be fresh and fit for the qualification tomorrow…
– Anna Langer