As The Arctic Challenge approaches, Peetu's in a good position to become the first rider ever to win back-to-back TTR World Tour titles.
While Peetu Piiroinen's solid consistency saw him crowned TTR champ last year, he never managed to bag a 6-Star title on his procession to the top spot. This season, however, he's more than ironed out that annoying crease with back-to-back firsts in the Slopestyle and Halfpipe at the 6-Star Burton European Open adding to the points he got from podiuming at the O'Neill Evolution (third in slope and pipe) and the Billabong Air&Style (2nd). That this compact ball of Finnish power has been on fire is an understatement. With many riders opting to focus on the Olympics, Peetu focussed on both, bagged Silver in Vancouver and is within touching distance of retaining his TTR crown not to mention taking first in the non-TTR Toyota Big Air last week. So hot right now? The kid's gone nuclear.
Heading in to this weekend's Arctic Challenge (a slopestyle contest this year), Peetu's sat on 924.64 points. Is he sitting pretty? Will he get his hands on the trophy ahead of the season-ending US Open? Let's take a look...
Here's the skinny. Regardless of how other riders do, if Peetu places 5th or higher at The Arctic Challenge he wins the whole shebang. Done deal. He'll be the TTR's first ever back-to-back champion.
However, if he finishes 6th or lower at TAC the Champagne popping will have to wait as Iouri Podladtchikov could wrestle first place from him with two first place finishes at the US Open Slopestyle and Halfpipe. If Peetu comes lower than 8th at TAC, Iouri could snag the title with any combo of 1st and 2nd at the US Open.
The Arctic Challenge's decision to make the change from a monster quarterpipe to a slopestyle contest this year also shakes things up further. Had it been another huge QP, we would have gone all in for Peetu getting 5th, if not winning the things outright - the guy is one of the select few riders who can really push it on such creations. But a slopestyle, with its many hits and TAC's unique judging criteria, could be different. With guys like Torstein Horgmo, Mikkel Bang (who ran Peetu close in the BEO slopestyle), X-Games winner Eero Ettala, Germund Bråten and Marko Grilc in the mix, not to mention a barn load more talented shredders who're also capable of having a say, that 5th place is far from guaranteed.
You want our prediction? Peetu will get the points he needs. As his runs at the BEO and the Olympics showed, he just does not have it in him to hold back and, furthermore, he's one of those guys who has the uncanny knack of putting it down when it really counts. TAC's gonna be intense, that's for sure, so make sure you check out all the action from Oslo on March 5th-7th.
If you can't make it to Oslo to see things unfold in the flesh, get your face marbles involved in the live webcast on www.ttrworldtour.com.