LAAX OPEN 2018 – Iouri Podladtchikov & Liu Jiayu Win Superpipe Titles

[Men’s winner Iouri Podladtchikov throwing a last hit switch alley-oop double heave-ho. Photo: Thomas Copsey. Gallery below, yo!]

After a week of being mostly scuppered by the weather (allowing all and sundry to enjoy some all-time Laax pow, it must be said), the 2018 edition of the Laax Open wrapped up today with a pipe final in which the riders defied the poor conditions and put on a solid showing…

Overview from the nest atop the Galaaxy.

Though it was almost bluebird in the morning, by the time the riders, the crowd and the assembled media had posted up beside Laax’s ever-perfectly crafted mega pipe, the clouds had rolled in once more but – mercifully – they stayed high. And while the snow undoubtedly caused issues with the speed and visibility, the finals certainly had some fine semi tube stunts from the girls and guys.

Due to the nefarious conditions, there were to be just two runs for the guys and girls, and it was the women who got things started. The Chinese were here en mass, and mobbed the women’s podium – Jiayu Liu sweeping into first with Xuetong Cai grabbing silver – ahed of Queralt Castellet.

Men’s pipe was progressing nicely until Swiss slayer David Hablutzel endured a horrific-looking beatdown – a deckout/coping bounce sending him headfirst to the bottom of the trannie – but fortunately word is that he suffered no serious injuries. Heal up quick bud! After a long delay the remaining riders got back to business and, as has often been the case here, local hero Iouri Podladtchikov took the top spot, ahead of Japan’s teenage phenom Yuko Totsuko. China’s Yiwei Zhang rounded out the podium.

And with that, the 2018 Laax Open came to a close. Despite an onslaught of heavy weather the event crew must have doffed caps their way for percevering and, finally, getting some results. And Laax, thanks for the pow and see you shortly…


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