[Anna Gasser and Silje Norendal know that Mama Nature is a fickle mistress. Photo: Marcel Lämmerhirt. Scroll down for some @samoetikerphoto lifestyle shots]
Heavy snowfall, fog and strong winds meant that, despite the best efforts of the event organisers and Laax shaping crew, the Laax Open 2018 Slopestyle finals were cancelled today...
We rolled into Laax last night eagerly anticipating having our minds blown by high-octane contest boarding, but unfortunately for the event and the riders, Mother Nature had other ideas.
We awoke to a thick blanket of fog and snowfall and from the first ride up the Crap Sogn Gion it was clear they were going to struggle to hold the Slopestle finals today. Winds were high, visibility poor, and sure enough pretty early on the call was made to cancel the men's side of the competition.
There was a glimmer of hope for the women when the cloud level dropped and we were able to finally see the ever-glorious snow sculpture that the Snowpark Laax crew had crafted for the slope course. The girls started the training session and it looked like they would be able to salvage something from a week of contest that has been hampered by bad weather, but around the time the women were set to drop for their runs, the clouds and wind came back in and it began to snow once more.
With so much time an energy invested in a contest of this magnitude, cancelling it is always a gut-wrencher, but the riders' safety is paramount and there's no doubting it was the right call – especially with the Olympics just around the corner. However, the double edge to this sword is that a couple of the ladies were counting on the points from Laax to secure their qualification for PyeongChang. Not making it because the weather threw a spanner in the works must be a bitter pill to swallow. However as frustrating as it is, there's literally nothing anyone can do about the weather.
All that was left was to rename today's event the LAAX Powder Open - a tradition that stretches back many years - and get stuck into some of the sickest powder runs most of us have had in a long old while.
Tomorrow, Saturday, the Halfpipe finals are set to take place here in LAAX starting at 1 p.m.
If you can’t make it to LAAX personally, you can watch the LAAX OPEN Halfpipe finals on www.laax.com (1 p.m. CET), all SRG TV channels and www.srf.ch (1 p.m. CET), www.sportschau.de (1 p.m. CET), www.bbc.com/sport (12:00 GMT) and on www.redbull.tv (05:30 p.m.) on Saturday, January 20th, 2018.
Side event activities such as culture, parties, live-concerts are running in the rocksresort and Riders Hotel. More information about the event is available on www.laax.com/open.