French Rider Olivier Gittler Wins Burton European Open Junior Halfpipe in Laax
Sixteen-year-old French snowboarder Olivier Gittler (pictured right) won yesterday’s Burton European Open junior halfpipe competition followed by 15-year-old Japanese rider Eisuke Sugiura in second place and sixteen-year-old Italian rider Manuel Pietropoli in third place. Thirteen-year-old American rider Ben Watts won the 14-and-under age group in the BEO junior halfpipe event.
“The level of riding was very high, so I’m very happy that I won,” said Olivier. “I think the most important thing is just to have fun at competitions and try to stay relaxed, and that’s what I did.” Olivier’s winning run included a frontside air, a backside 9, a frontside 9, McTwist, Japan air and a frontside tailgrab.
Japanese rider Eisuke Sugiura impressed the crowd and the judges with his incredible amplitude and style. His second-place run started out with a huge frontside air, which was by far the highest air of the day. His run also included a McTwist, a frontside 7 and a Cab 3 melon grab. “The BEO is the biggest competition where I’ve been on the podium, so I’m very stoked to come in second place,” said Eisuke. “I tried to go really high, especially with my McTwist, which is my favorite trick. I really love Laax and Switzerland and can’t wait to compete at the Nippon Open and the US Open.”
Manuel Pietropoli from Italy also earned a spot on the podium with a frontside 9 melon grab, a method air, frontside 7, Cab 7 and a frontside 5 melon grab. “I could’ve done better if I landed my frontside 9 in my last run, but I’m happy with my third place,” said Manuel.
Ben Watts was very happy about winning the 14-and-under age group and had this to say: “The pipe here at the BEO was the best I’ve ever ridden. Laax is my favorite place to visit, and I’m stoked I won the junior contest.”
Olivier will take home a Land Rover bicycle, and all six boys who placed on the podium received Motorola cell phones & goodie bags.
Today, the adult riders take over the BEO halfpipe with the men’s and women’s pipe qualifications.
Head to www.Lat34.com/beo to see live cybercasts of the BEO on January 27 from 12h00 – 14h15 local Swiss time.