12/02/2013 | by Tom Copsey
Today in Davos, snowboarding was witness to a changing of the guard. As Swiss legend Gian Simmen bowed out of competitive snowboarding, two more stepped up to the plate with eyes on carrying his torch into the future. The vibe here was all time. Read what went down…
It was an emotional day here in Davos on the four day of the O’Neill Evolution. As well as being the finals of both the women’s and men’s pipe, it was also the last contest that homeboy and Olympic gold medalist Gian Simmen would compete in: A swan song to a 23-year career in snowboarding, which has seen him win his fair share of medals and praise.
He described it as being “like the closing of a circle”. It was here that he first strapped in; it was in Davos that he won his two World Championships; and it would be here that backside 5s, front 7s, Cab 7s, a front 900, stalefishes and a massive Backside Air would place him sixth in the pipe finals.
The start list for both the girls and boys pipe were not what they might have been, as the über pros were in Canada chasing the Olympic dream. Their loss, as the pipe was on form, there was a little pow on the hill and they had left the field open for the strong local contingent of rippers and smattering of internationals.
It would be true to say that the girls competition was far from being the best pipe final ever seen in the history of snowboarding but there were a few highlights, including a handplant by American Celia Miller, which raised a cheer from the gathered media and crowd. For many of the girls competing it was the first pipe contest that they had entered. Local lass Verena Rohrer was pretty stoked and a little surprised by taking the number one spot, which according to the TTR rankings has pushed her up to third place in the Pipe table. She summed it up pretty well: “I’m really blow away with this win. I didn’t really have any expectations when I arrived in Davos, I only wanted to put my run on the ground and let people see what I can do.” She was closely followed onto the podium by Clemence Grimal and 39-year-old Akiko Miwa from Japan.
The Swiss also topped the table in the men’s contest with Jan Scherrer giving it his all to earn himself the lion’s share of the winnings. He put down two solid runs and a victory lap, that included tricks of the caliber of back 9 mute, Front 10 Tail and Front 9s. “This is the biggest result of my career,” after receiving a chilling Champaign face shot from second place Kyle Mack and Japanese ripper Hiroki Suwas, who came third, “and it’s pretty special to do it at home here in Davos.”
Tomorrow’s offerings include the qualifications for Big Air as well as rounds one and two of the contest real. Stay tuned!