There haven’t been many duels right at the beginning of a season like the one we can witness in the big air series of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup at the moment. In both competitions held so far Austria’s veteran Stefan Gimpl clinched victory by relegating Swiss up-coming talent Gian-Luca Cavigelli to the second spot. On Saturday, November 21st, it’s time for the third round in this enthralling head-to-head duel for the World Cup title taking place in Stockholm. For the fourth consecutive time, the Swedish capital hosts a big air contest within the LG Winterjam at the Olympic Stadium of 1912 – admission free!
Besides the current World Cup leader Gimpl and his strongest pursuer Cavigelli who travels “fully motivated to Sweden" after placing second again at the last event in Barcelona a few weeks ago a strong Finnish squad gets ready to put its stamp on the competition in Stockholm again. Over the past years, rippers from Finland have dominated the big air in the Olympic Stadium with two Finns on the podium in 2006 (Peetu Piiroinen and Risto Mattila), a total podium sweep in 2007 (Janne Korpi, Mattila and Sami Saarenpaa) and Korpi keeping hold on his title by celebrating a back-to-back win in 2008. This year, the likes of rising stars Petja Piiroinen, Nuutti Niemelae and Roope Tonteri as well as experienced Ville Uotila and Jaakko Ruha will enter the competition.
Another rider from the Northern European territory who aims for a podium spot is Gjermund Braaten. The sole Norwegian in the starter field has high hopes to repeat his good result of Barcelona where he finished as third thus expecting to play another major role in three days.
While Braaten tries to tie up to his performance at the last contest, Chris Soerman will throw in everything he can to finally celebrate a win for “Tre Kronor" at the sole World Cup on Swedish soil. Last year, he was already close to it by ending up as runner-up. However, despite all the hopes pinned on him, this won’t be an easy task as many more strong riders will showcase their skills – just like Slovenia’s Marko Grilc, Matevz Petek and Domen Bizjak – in order to impress the crowd and the judges in the night final under flood lights.
After the first two big air competitions of this year’s series have brought some riding on very high level it’s pretty likely that the event in Stockholm will also feature some nice tricks. So far, the best jumps have been Backside 10 Double Cork (Gjermund Braaten), Frontside 12 (Janne Korpi) or Backside 12 (Ulrik Badertscher). And while there was a lot of pinning, there was also enough time for style as for example Gian-Luca Cavigelli threw in some nice Backside 7 Rodeo while Stefan Gimpl sticked some smooth Cab 9.
In addition, some other riders earned some big ups by the so far averaged 15.000 to 20.000 spectators for their Double Frontflips and Double Backflips.
Big Air time schedule World Cup Stockholm, Sweden – All local times:
Saturday, November 21st:
Qualifications Heat 1 at 12:00 PM
Qualifications Heat 2 at 02:30 PM
Finals at 06:00 PM