Oh the irony of snowboard events being disrupted by too much snow.
As you might expect, it’s actually a surprisingly common scenario, and today was proof that even the 16th edition of Europe’s most important snowboard event, the Burton European Open, is susceptible to the violent mood swings of those pesky weather gods.
With strong winds and heavy snowfall gusting its way through the slopestyle course this morning, the difficult decision was made to cancel slope eliminations, with finals still scheduled to go down tomorrow (we’re keeping our fingers crossed for some sunshine). Not that we or the riders minded all that much, guiltily heading straight into Laax’s expansive tree-littered sidecountry for a not unwelcome helping of faceshots and pillow lines.
Thankfully, there was no stopping the halfpipe eliminations, with the difficult conditions actually helping to separate the men/women from the boys/girls. While many riders were clearly struggling with speed through the powdery flat-bottom of the world’s biggest halfpipe, others seemed unflinched by it.
In the men’s comp we were treated to some seriously powerful backside airs from the likes of Arthur Longo and Iouri Podladtchikov, as well as the obligatory double corks, back to back 1080s and 1260s that have become the standard in a pipe competition of this calibre. After his run last year that featured no spins over a 720, Markus Keller was once again the most memorable rider of the afternoon, dropping into the pipe on a 183cm swallow tail and sending 900s, air to fakies and more. Dude is such a boss.
In the end, it was young American ripper Jake Pates who put down the strongest run of the day ahead of Iouri Podladtchikov and Taylor Gold, and will go into Sunday’s finals as the man to beat.
Open Gallery10 Images
On the women’s side of things, Spanish pipe crusher Queralt Castellet delivered the goods, with Kelly Clark and Chloe Kim right on her tail.
It will be interesting to see what goes down on finals day, with it’s own set of weather conditions to deal with and adapt to. And while we can’t predict what the weather will be doing come Sunday, what we can guarantee is one hell of a show.
BURTON EUROPEAN OPEN 2015 HALFPIPE ELIMINATION RESULTS: