Where: Oslo, Norway
Saturday saw the semi finals of the 6Star Oakley Arctic Challenge on the Tryvann Vinterpark slopestyle course on the scenic outskirts of Oslo, Norway. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) was in form and qualified in the top spot of his heat leaving Seppe Smits (BEL) in second and Torstein Horgmo (NOR) in third place. The second heat was dominated by the two Norwegian warriors Mikkel Bang and Tore Holvik leaving Eric Willett (USA) in third. In the final tomorrow, ten qualified snowboarders including Mark McMorris (CAN), Ville Uotila (FIN), Roope Tonteri (FIN) and Sage Kotsenburg (USA) will ride it out for the coveted TAC Title and of course a maximum 1000 Swatch TTR Ranking points.
The morning arrived with clear blue skies and all day the sun warmed up the multitude of snowboard fans who had arrived with their friends, flags, pets and baby strollers to support their favourite riders. The second kicker had been reshaped opening all the five obstacles on the slopestyle course, and though the riders still had a bit of trouble with the speed on the second kicker, the level of riding was high. The judging included single obstacle scores and one overall flow score, which gave current Swatch TTR Tour leader Piiroinen the highest score of the day with his second run consisting of: cab270 on to fakie, a frontside 540 off the canon rail, a backside 1080 corked, a backside rodeo 720 and a gigantic frontside air off the hip. In the second heat Bang set the bar high on his second run with a gap to backside lipslide, a stylish backside 180 nosebonk over the canon rail, a cab 720, a switch backside 900 and a backside indy off the hip.
Good ol' Peetu is still in the race to collect enough points at TAC to create an unassailable lead to his competitors on the TTR World Ranking list. If he manages to do so he will be crowned at the 6Star Burton US Open in two weeks time becoming the first snowboarder ever winning two consecutive Swatch TTR Tour Champion Titles. Peetu, whose countless stellar contest appearances do not seem to wear him out at all, said, "It was good today. I stomped my three runs and qualified first. I hope that I can be in the top 5 tomorrow so that I win the TTR title. That takes the pressure from the US Open for me."
There are two riders who could snatch the TTR World No. 3 spot away from Gjermund Braaten (NOR) who today did not qualify. Up and coming rookie Roope Tonteri who recently took 3rd at the 5Star slopestyle of the Burn River Jump in Italy and TTR newbie and winner of the recent 5Star River Jump slopestyle format, Eric Willett, who currently sits in World No. 9, while McMorris, Uotila, Holvik and Smits are all eager to secure a result that will move into the TTR World Top 10.
Watch the 6Star Oakley Arctic Challenge live on our website starting 13:00 (CET) to watch who will make it to the TTR Top10, whether Tonteri or Willett take the 3rd spot on the TTR World Ranking or if Peetu can secure his unassailable tour lead.
Top 10 going to Sunday's finals: