With just a few hours to go until the qualification rounds kick off at The O’Neill Evolution, the excitement is building.

A last minute influx of riders looking to battle it out at the 6-star freestyle Swatch TTR event has meant that instead of the scheduled two qualification heats, there will now be three. With plenty of snow on the ground, and the sun hitting the foot of the Jakobshorn, the conditions could not be better. Training has already begun this morning in anticipation of the first qualification rounds.

The 120 qualifiers are hoping to be one of the 16 riders to go through to face the 16 seeded finalists – and those seeded riders are not going present an easy challenge, as some of the top names in snowboarding compete for the US$100,000 purse and coveted TTR ranking points.

A last minute addition to the seeded riders is the winner of the rookie challenge Air & Style, Tim Humphries. The American replaces Andre Kuhlmann who has had to pull out with illness. The other last minute addition is Christophe Schmidt (GER) who replaces an injured Henning Marthinsen. They will be amongst last year’s superpipe winner Antti Autti, as well as the quarterpipe winner Nicolas Mueller.

A final confirmed list of the 16 invited riders is:

Antti Autti FIN Mathieu Crepel FRA Andy Finch USA Chas Guldemond USA Eirik Haugo NOR Fredi Kalbermatten SUI Markus Keller SUI Janne Korpi FIN Markku Koski FIN Gigi Rueff AUT Christophe Schmidt GER Risto Mattila FIN Nicolas Mueller SUI Iouri Podladtchikov SUI Werner Stock AUT Tim Humphries USA

With the extra qualification rounds, the first heat of the superpipe qualification kicks off at 17.30 today. At the same time tomorrow, the guys will start the first heat of the quarterpipe qualification rounds.

The new schedule can be found at www.oneilleurope.com/evolution.

Don’t forget that the semi-finals and finals of the O'Neill Evolution 08 will be shown live at here on Onboardsnowboarding.com thanks to the guys at Freecaster.com.

SCHEDULE 04 January, 2008 20:45 - 22:15 Halfpipe Finals

05 January, 2008 20:45 - 22:15 Quarterpipe Finals