The finger clicking, window licking Onboard media caravan rolled into Laax yesterday and was greeted with spring-like bluebird, one of the best-looking slopestyle courses we've seen in a while, and a swarm of talented little huckers engaging their booster rockets to fight it out for a pop at today's slopestyle finals. Check what happened...
We'd heard internet chat of this slopestyle setup and how it was particularly tasty, but rocking up in the real world its full glory was apparent. For the first time since the BEO pitched up and made Laax its home the course had been moved from its usual spot on the backside of the Crap Sogn Gion to the altogether more solarific frontside, and not only that the shapers had cooked up a corker of a run that deserves a breakdown. And, therefore, here it is...
A couple of rails at the top lead into an almost BMX-style rhythm section of two smaller jumps that are obviously intended to ensure some floaty style makes its way into the riders runs, as opposed to it being a full-on megacork fest. Then there's a couple of manly-sized hoofers for the insanity that is now part and parcel of contemporary freestyle snowboarding finished off with a few berms leading into the MINI Creative Use of Space section that would take a while to describe, so here's a picture...
No sooner had we pitched up than the girls' gig began. As it was nuclear on the hill, speed was clearly an issue but the old speed tuck between the hits served the savvy females well. After leading the field at the recent WSC only to be pipped at the last minute by Spencer O'Brien's monumental run, it was unsurprising that Jamie Anderson's flawlessly smooth riding saw her qualify in first with 90.66 points. The girl's so nectar she's truly a joy to watch ride, and if trick lists are you thing then here's how she made it count: backside lipslide on the rail, front 360 and backside 180 on the Step Up Step Down Combo, continuing with a switch backside 540 and frontside 720 on the kickers, finishing off on the MINI Creative Use of Space Obstacle with backside 50-50 on top of the wall and afrontside 360. Ctrl C, Ctrl V. Boom. Norwegian Kjersti Buaas qualified in second, followed by Swiss Isabel Derungs in 3rd.
There were many men and so had to be split into two heats. At first it seemed like the slush would hamper the riding level but the boys managed to push on through and as the afternoon wre on it quickened up. The first heat was arguably about Norway (and Alek Østreng in particular who scored .46 higher than Mark McMorris to qualify in the top spot) as they secured 4 of the 7 spots in the Final from this heat. Østreng, like Anderson, was coming of the back of a good WSC and continued to blow minds with his blend of phenomenal board control, style and tech. His run went a little something like this: a frontside Boardslide Nose Grab on the rail, switch front Rodeo 540 to Frontflip Nose Grab on the rhythm hits, frontside 1080 Indy and backside 1080 Mute on the boters and a 180 to 50-50 to Boardslide 270 out on the MINI feature.
If men's heat one was tough, heat 2 was Tyson. This was stacked with big names ready to take it to Boomtown and, after having a mellow first run Peetu Piiroinen did that sisu thing, turned his Boombox to 11 and posted the highest score of the day to qualify first. Cab 5 to back rodeo on the whoops, cab 10 to switch back 10 on the big jumps and some boarslides on the Mini feature sealed the deal ahead of Janne Korpi in 2nd and Eric Beuchemin in 3rd.
It's slopestyle finals today, so we're about to head up with less layers and more sunscreeen than yesterday to witness the sickness. If you can't make it, tune in to watch the BEO Slopestyle finals live.
Women’s Slopestyle Semi-Finals Results
1. Jamie Anderson (USA), Billabong, 90.66
2. Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas (NOR), Roxy, 82.18
3. Isabel Derungs (SUI), Ride, 79.44
4. Spencer O’Brien (CAN), Nike, 77.34
5. Sina Candrian (SUI), Burton, 70.80
6. Enni Rukajärvi (FIN), Burton, 69.48
7. Silje Norendal (NOR), Nike 6.0, 69.38
8. Cilka Sadar (SLO), Burton, 66.42
Men’s Slopestyle Semi-Finals Results Heat 1 & qualified for Finals
1. Aleksander Ostreng (NOR), Forum, 84.36
2. Mark McMorris (CAN), Burton, 83.90
3. Stale Sandbech (NOR), Oakley, 82.96
4. Torgeir Bergrem (NOR), Volcom, 82.28
5. Emil Ulsletten (NOR), Nitro, 80.56
6. Jamie Nicholls (GBR), Nike, 77.04
7. Christian Haller (SUI), Burton, 76.72
Men’s Slopestyle Semi-Finals Results Heat 2 & qualified for Finals
1. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN), Nike – Burton, 87.74
2. Janne Korpi (FIN), Kissmark, 86.32
3. Eric Beauchemin (USA), DC Shoe Co USA, 85.42
4. Roope Tonteri (FIN), Burton, 84.12
5. Ville Paumola (FIN), Quiksilver, 82.22
6. Sebastien Toutant (CAN), O’Neill, 80.56
7. Nuutti Niemelä (FIN), Smith, 80.12
8. Seppe Smits (BEL), Burton, 79.70
9. Sven Thorgren (SWE), Protest, 77.98