Against a super strong field of international women, the 19-year-old Finn out muscled two-time RCJ winner Cheryl Maas and Norwegian powerhouse Kjersti Buaas to claim victory.
“I’m very surprised I won here", Enni Rukajärvi said after winning the 6-Star TTR contest at the Nightpark Saalbach Hinterglemm. “I enjoyed the contest, it was really high-level. So good riders, I haven’t seen that before!“
Though it was her first major event, the young Finn showed no nerves and won over the jury with her huge, stylish kicker riding and ended up with a big chunk of the $50,000 prize purse to party with. Her winning run? 50/50 on the down box, a frontside 360 tail grab, a backside 540 indy and a cab 540 on the kickers as well as a 50/50 nosepress at the Roxy up-down box. There was to be no messing with that.
It was tough work for the judges, that's for sure. 36 riders from all across the globe took part in the qualifications on Friday. The best six then met the 18 seeded riders in the finals on Saturday. In the two-hour jam session, the judges whittled it down to the best eight riders who'd get it one in the super final. Here, each rider had three runs with the best one counting. “The level of riding went up a lot", second-placed Cheryl Maas said. “A lot of the girls were doing 720’s already in the qualifications which we didn’t see any of the other years. In the finals we also saw a lot of switch riding, like cab 540’s and switch backside spins, and that’s good to see." Thanks to her backside 720 tail grab in the super-finals, Cheryl was rewarded with US$ 1,500 taking the JBL Progressive Award for the best trick.
Kjersti Buaas, who finished third, was also stoked on the event which was held at Saalbach Hinterglemm for the first time this year: "The park is really good, they really did a good job with this. And the town is so cosy, it’s amazing, we only had to walk five minutes from the hotel to get to the park." Apart from the freestyle snowboarding world elite, the Roxy Chicken Jam 2010 also attracted a big crown who pushed the riders enthusiastically. “There were a lot of people watching and that’s entertaining and pushing me to do better", Kjersti Buaas Oestgaard said.
Also for the first time, the Roxy Chicken Jam was held as a carbon neutral event. The compensation for the effects on the environment and the avoidance of CO2 and garbage were in the foreground. The produced emissions were compensated in co-operation with the Suddenrush Atlantic Rainforest Institution (SRAFRI) saving 1,500 square metres of rain forest in Brazil.
For further information head to www.roxychickenjam.com
1. Rukajärvi, Enni. FIN
2. Maas, Cheryl. NED
3. Buaas, Kjersti. NOR
4. Pancochova, Sarka. CZE.
5. Candrian, Sina. SUI
6. Larsen, Cecilia. SWE
7. Wiik, Lisa. NOR
8. Sladics, Chanelle. USA