When: 9 January, 2009
Where: Davos, Switzerland
In winning this final face-off that few would have predicted, Janne Korpi shoots up the TTR rankings into world number 2 position.
Team Onboard took advantage of the live MPORA coverage on the Onboard site to watch the initial 32-man round from the over-warm comfort of the hotel room, and we're stoked we did. Not only did we manage to postpone the slow-but-sure deep freezing of our bodies' extremities, the old married couple-like banter from snowboarding's new Morcame and Wise comedy duo of Jon Weaver and Matt Crowhurst is something that you should definitely check out if you can't make it to the Jakobshorn tonight.
But, like rock bands, football matches and sex shows, snowboarding is best watched live, rather than on the telly, so we dutifully suited up and headed to the contest site. The event format has been modeled on the ASP surfing contest, whereby you start with a round of 32 riders, packaged off into heats of 4 with the top 2 going through to the last 16, and gradually whittling the riders down until there's but 2 remaining for the über face-off final. This has both its positives and its negatives: the plus point is you really get a true sense of the riders having to play the game and potentially pull out all the stops to advance, but the down side is it's a long process and those who make it to the final end up having ridden for like 9 hours straight.
With heart rate monitors showing who was most pumped during their runs, the field was gradually narrowed down with some big name casualties along the way. It seemed that unless you had a 10 off the bigger kicker with Jack O'Neill's mug carved into it, then you were going nowhere, but even the perfect 10s of Seb Toutant (grabbed to like 960, for serious), the poked front 9s of Antti Autti and the impressive-looking 14-year-old Dimi De Jong's efforts saw them eliminated. As with every contest these days, a slight wobble and you drop points and will be lucky to sneak through. With Elias Elhardt, Peetu Piirionen, Gimpl, Max Henault, Tim Humpreys and a score of others falling by the wayside in the quarters, the semis saw Chas Guldemond vs Seppe Smits, and Janne Korpi vs rookie Swede Kevin Backstrom.
In a moment that Rick Kane would have been proud of, the calm and collected young Belgian Seppe Smits shot down the current TTR World No. 1 Chas Guldemond to make the final. Chas has been putting down the back 12 earlier on, stomping 'em like they were going out of fashion, but when it came to the crunch a shoddy landing on his back 9s cost Chas and Seppe's consistency saw him through. Despite putting down a mean front 10, Backstrom just didn't have enough to tackle the Finnish stomper and so it was Janne vs Seppe in the final showdown.
Over the course of his 3 runs, Smits put down a bs900 mute, a huge cab 9, and a bs720 with some wall play to finish, but try as he might this couldn't get him near the Finn's bs Rodeo 7s, fs 10s and Cab 9 with the kind of landings that the bulletproof Finnish kickers breed and Janne deservedly bagged the win.
With 15 grand US in his back pocket, young Janne was Finnish-stoked about his win. They never really get that excitable, do they? Rather than legging it straight for the bar, he was seen wandering the contest site alone, doubtless to find a sauna buddy.
This arvo and evening is the quarterpipe finals and although your correspondent has heard from all the riders that the beast is one terrifying hunk of ice to ride, we're confident (and secretly a little scared also) that the fires of rad will get a good old stoking from these shred-shoveling cats ce soir. 10.2 metres of solid ice. Mmmmmm. Report on that coming tonight/tomorrow morning depending on how many fingers are lost to frostbite.
FINAL SLOPESTYLE RESULTS: 1 Janne Korpi FIN F 183.17 2 Seppe Smits BEL F 164.84 3 Kevin Backstrom SWE SF 156.00 4 Chas Guldemond USA SF 112.33 5 Peetu Piiroinen FIN QF 172.66 6 Elias Elhardt GER QF 167.50 7 Kim Rune Hansen NOR QF 160.00 8 Seb Toutant CAN QF 39.00 9 Gjermund Braaten NOR 16 164.33 10 Stefan Gimpl AUT 16 151.33 11 Jaakko Ruha FIN 16 144.17 12 Tim Humphreys USA 16 143.17 13 Maxime Henault CAN 16 115.00 14 Ulrik Badertscher NOR 16 112.67 15 Ville Uotila FIN 16 102.66 16 Mattias Nyberg SWE 16 99.34 17 Tore Holvik NOR 32 139.00 18 Antti Autti FIN 32 135.00 19 Risto Mattila FIN 32 127.50 20 Jonas Carlson SWE 32 124.84 21 Torgeir Bergrem NOR 32 123.67 22 Markus Malin FIN 32 117.34 23 Dimi De Jong NED 32 115.83 24 Gian Simmen SUI 32 104.34 25 Colin Frei SUI 32 98.17 26 Henning Marthinsen NOR 32 92.00 27 Andreas Gidlund SWE 32 89.17 28 Sindre Iversen NOR 32 82.17 29 Iouri Podladtchikov SUI 32 75.00 30 Arthur Longo FRA 32 61.50 31 Fredrik Evensen NOR 32 60.16 32 Eirik Haugo NOR 32 54.33 33 Patrick Burgener SUI Q 137.33 34 Petja Piiroinen FIN Q 137.00 35 Ethan Morgan GER Q 136.66 36 95 Wanger Mario AUT Q 126.00