Where: Laax, Switzerland
Today saw the sixth day of the Burton European Open in Laax and the men's halfpipe qualification and semifinals. Under a blue sky and sunny (if a little windy) conditions 42 riders kicked the day off with competing for the 25 spots in the semifinals. The 120 meter pipe had once again be shaped to perfection, and the riders made good use of the bolt upright walls.
The posture of many industry people on the sides of theses walls wasn't nearly as impressive: Most of them had been exposed to a fatal wave of free drinks the night before at the traditional Riders Welcome party. If you happen to be in the vicinity of Laax during a BEO this has to be called a must-do for you. But I digress, let's talk about the qualification event in the morning:
It was Rome teamrider Stale Sandbech who came in first in qualification. Each of his two impressive runs alone would have brought him the victory. Second and third place went to Tore Holvik and Ilkka-Eemeli Laari. And quite deservedly, since they both unleashed some great runs.
Then it was time for the semifinals. Even though most US riders were dearly missed due to their Olympic qualification commitments, some of the riders present were just as good at going extremely big (like second placed Markus Keller), super stylish (like third placed Stale Sandbech) or all ginger-machine (like Japanese shred prodigy Masakaze Yoshida). However, it was Ilkka-Eemeli Laari who was unbeatable today. He was the only one to show those much-talked-about double corks: His winning run consisted of a Backside 540 mute, Frontside 1260 Tailgrab, Method Air, Frontside 1080 Double Cork and a Haakon Flip for good measures. Second placed Markus Keller arguably threw down the highest airs of the day. Like many other riders today the quiet Finn Peetu Piiroinen had difficulties with his landings. Coming in 16th he was the last rider to make the cut for Saturday's finals.
Tune in again tomorrow night for the results of the slopestyle semifinals for women and slopestyle finals for both women and men.
Results Men’s Halfpipe Semifinals
1 Laari Ilkka-Eemeli 90.5 92.83
2 Keller Markus 87.83 25.67
3 Sandbech Stale 84.67 82.17
4 Haller Christian 39.17 84.33
5 Korpi Janne 82 55.5
6 Yoshida Masakaze 81.5 72.17
7 Simmen Gian 77.83 80
8 Hosokawa Kosuke 77 78.67
9 Holvik Tore 41 78.17
10 Burgener Patrick 78 8.5
11 Malin Markus 68.67 76.83
12 Mattila Risto 67.33 75.67
13 Hoffmann Xaver 73.17 74.5
14 Koski Markku 72 42.33
15 Podladtchikov Iouri 71.67 16.83
16 Piiroinen Peetu 60.33 71.33