[Scroll to the bottom for video of the podium placed riders]
All I could think about while driving up a little windy mountain road headed towards Davos was how enormous the quarter pipe was going to be this time around. My questions were silenced when I saw that the organizers and O'neill did not fail to impress and pulled it off again! The monster measured the height of ten meters, and was gargantuan to say the least. I myself am big boned and kinda chubby, so usually I don't really feel particularly small in most situations. Standing at the bottom of the monster looking up, I felt like ummmmm.....i don't know......a parasite or some kinda dust particle.
Quality control was definitely also maintained building the Superpipe as it was basically flawless. Perfect tranny's, perfect flat, perfect coping and angle. A beauty! So what is one to expect from a perfect set up? Killer riding, and that was served by all means! After the highest air comp in the pipe, which Stefano Munari took with a 4.8 meters, it was time to turn the boys loose and let them bust out their bags of tricks. 10's with tail and nose grabs from the Finn machines, Finch's ridiculous altitude and Keller's amazingly styled Alley Oop 7's. One trick after another, from one wall to the next, just too many tricks being pulled! Riders were doing runs as if they were on a conveyor belt in a factory.
In the end Mr. Truckee Finch took it home with a run with the highest amplitude and tricks which define the word gnarly. Second went to one of the Finn machines going by the name of Risto Mattila. During one of the heats he came to the middle of the pipe at the top, where I was standing with my little HDV. I asked, if he was stoked. His answer was that all he wanted to do is stick the run he had in his head. And so he did landing him in second. Third was taken by Risto's fellow Finn Janne Korpi, who's goal it was to get to the final and do his best. To his surprise and stoke his run landed him in third place. That night everyone was speculating that Finch could take over the TTR lead, if placing good in the Quarter Pipe event to be held the next day. Excitement in the air!
The next day, after a usual snowboard event boozing night, the Quarterpipe monster was eagerly awaiting its victims. I thought that due to the pretty mild weather, the Quarter would actually be chill to ride. My naive presumtion was shattered into a million pieces when I heard the sound that the first riders board made upon contact with the landing. TTTHWAAAACK! Holy shit! The thing was ice ice baby! This fact made Manuel Pietropoli's 8 meter high Backside Air that much more impressive. I had to seriously get my shit together and concentrate not to loose him travelling skywards from the coping. It was insanly HUGE, and had the familiar 'OOOOOOOHHHH' sound making its way through the crowd. Watch out for this Italian aviator as he said that he can't wait to hit the next huge Quarterpipe, most probably at the Arctic challenge.
You have one guess as to which riders were digging the massively sized icy QP. It was Scanditime again! The Quarterpipe contest marked the emerging of possibly another Norwegian snowboard prodigy going by the name of Kim Rune Hansen, who blew everyones minds with a 6.4 meter high Bs Rodeo 5, with which he snagged first place. He later tried a Double Bs Rodeo, but kind of sketched out in the landing and rode it away on his tail. A shame as that would've been the uberbanger of the weekend for sure!
Second place went to the official Mr. Number Two of the weekend Risto Mattila, who pulled off a huge travelling McTwist at 4.8 meters. It was not THAT high, but due to the fact that he travelled a good 7 meters made it look super sick.
To complete the Scandi domination was little Peetu Piiroinen going huuuuge with Bs 5 Tailgrab at 5.4 meters. On his second or third attempt he escaped emminent death and just barely escaped the evil fangs of the coping. Mr. Finch was less lucky in that department and ate it at the coping whilst attempting a huge inverted 5 tail. Get well soon! Hopefully we'll see you at European Open next weekend!
I can't finish this event report without mentioning a little French-Canadian kid name Seb Toots, who stepped out of the dark and into the light during the Quarterpipe qualifications. At his first ever Quarterpipe event, he destroyed the competition with a shrug and went 7.4 meters into the Earths stratosphrere! This at the age of 15! I caught up with him and got a little inside scoop, which you will be able to read about in the next couple days.
The O'Neiil Evolution Jam was an event sick as ever, with amazing riding, a killer set up and some gooooood positive vibes. Thanks to all that made it happen and a big up to O'Neill, Swatch, the TTR and Davos for sure.
Here's the video of the podiumed riders in both the Halfpipe and Quarterpipe.