When: Fri 18th of January 2008
Where: Laax, Switzerland
In what was nothing short of a phenomenal pipe contest, the 2008 BEO wraps up as Kevin Pearce and Kelly Clark claim the top spots.
In writing this report it's incredibly tempting to just write one word and leave it at that: SICK. The level of pipe riding put on by the shredders today was of such a high standard that it was certainly the best pipe comp I've ever witnessed, and may go down as one of the all-time classics. The field of riders was as solid as they come, with a cross section of Americans, Finns, local Swiss and Norwegians who are all at the very top of their game throwing down the hammers.
The guys and girls alternated so there was no letup in the action. With 3 runs each, there was so much insane riding it's left me a little floored. Ladies first, as you know, and from the first run it was clear that Kelly Clark was not going to be messed around. That chick rides so gnarly. Her first hit was bigger than some of the dudes and followed it up with bs5, fs5, straight air and fs 7 to finish with, all frickin' massive.
Torah Bright was running her close with such tight air to fakies, backside 5s and the like, but her amplitude was a little less beefy, and Hannah Teter's amplitude lacked the tech spins and combos of Bright and Clark.
So, to the guys. What can you say? Madness, pure madness. The likes of Iouri Podlatchikov would have a maths professor stoked (back to back 10s, back to back 9s and a fs 7) while Markus Keller was giving the purists a semi with the dopest poked alley-oop fs 5s, monster air to fakies and fs 9s poked to buggery. Peetu Piiroinen rode huge and tech, and it's clear that this young Finn is delivering on the potential he showed by winning the Junior BEO a couple years back.
But what really became clear is that Kevin Pearce is the frickin' man, man! Despite all the strong riding being thrown down by the competitors, it was looking to be another episode of the Shaun White show - Shaun's first run looking a little like this: Lien, bs9, fs10, cab 10, fs 9, alley-oop fs 5 and squeezing in 6 hits consistently high meant he was in pole position till the final run. In fact, in the final run White put down maybe his strongest, starting our with THAT fs5 and even putting down a cab 12 in the mix.
Turning to Transision's Anders Neuman, both blown away, we were like "well, that's that then". It wasn't. Up stepped Pearce for his last chance and put on the most solid display of pipe riding witnessed this season. Enormous back to back 10s, the huge, perfect McTwist, and a fs air lower down that was bigger than many riders' first hits shocked the crowd, riders and judges and everyone was left screaming at the insanity we'd just witnessed.
The results cause a bit of a change in the TTR rankings. Pearce moves up to 3rd and Risto Mattila takes the lead in the men, while Jamie Anderson tops the pile for the women.
So that wraps things up here for another year in Laax. Mad props to the riders, Burton and this fine Swiss resort and we'll see you next year.