When: 12-14th December 2008
Where: Tokyo Dome, Japan
With the previous day’s Quarterpipe session locked away, thousands of stoked out Japanese snowboard fans packed the Tokyo Dome for the legendary Big Air competition of the phenomenal 6Star Swatch TTR Nissan X-Trail Jam.
The Big Air podium with Torstein Horgmo, Peetu Piiroinen and Shaun White – all photos: NTV
In an outstanding final Norwegian rider Torstein Horgmo managed to pull out the best tricks of the night to win the second of two formats, but it was Shaun White (USA) who with the highest combined score from both the Big Air and the Quarterpipe, claimed the first 6Star TTR Title and 1000 ranking points of the 08/09 Season.
To focus all attention on the massive indoor kicker, the Quarterpipe feature was removed making way for more fans who certainly amped the up the energy, their screams fed by the intensity of the freestyle competition. A qualification field of 16 riders was narrowed down to 8 for the semi finals where Nicolas Müller (SUI) and Shaun White set the precedent for an epic finale. In a unanimous decision by the judges, the best trick was awarded to Mueller who amazed everyone in the semis with his first ever Double Backflip in a comp that first looked a normal Backflip until Nicolas decided to to go for a second one “I am stoked,” he said with a big smile on his face. “I tried it once in powder on a small kicker, but this was the first time I did it in a competition.”
From the 8 man semi finals, only 4 moved on to the best-of-two-hits final, where Horgmo, Piiroinen (FIN), White and Mueller duked it out in a heated battle that certainly stepped up the level of riding. Although favoured to do well, Mueller placed only 4th in the finals with a Cab 9, behind 3rd place finisher Shaun White who found himself on the podium once again after his sick Switch BS 9. Peetu Piiroinen gave White some much needed competition in the race for the 1000 TTR ranking points by also placing in the podium in both formats. It was super close, as Piiroinen took second in the Big Air with an impressive BS 9 Cork that had the Tokyo Dome on its feet in amazement. Piiroinen’s efforts bumped him up to TTR World No. 34.
Torstein Horgmo walked away as the Big Air champ in Tokyo thanks to his consistent riding throughout the sessions. His Switch BS 10 in the finals finally carried him right to the top of the Big Air podium and to TTR World No. 3.
But with Shaun White earning his first big title of the season, the race for the TTR Tour Champion has become incredibly heated. “I am stoked. I did not think I would do the event today because my legs were hurting from yesterday. But I tried my best and I am very glad I came.“ White now sits at Swatch TTR World No. 26 after just one competition of the 08/09 season, having posted two high-value results. But Shaun still has some work to do before he catches up with Horgmo in 3rd, Kevin Pearce (USA) now in World No. 7 and Chas Guldemond (USA) who still holds on to that number one spot.
The Swatch TTR race continues with heated competition in the New Year with major worldwide events such as the 4Star Red Bull Nanshan Open in China and the epic 6Star O’Neill Evolution in Switzerland. Be sure to visit ttrworldtour.com for a full and comprehensive list of updated world rankings as well as the most recent breaking news, blogs, photos and video highlights of the Tokyo show.
Big Air champ Thorstein Horgmo