When: September 1-5th 2008

Where: Perisher Blue, Australia

Heavy snow resulting in poor visibility tested competitors today during men’s and women’s slopestyle qualifications at Perisher Blue Resort. Riders from all over the world took on the inclement weather during day three of the Burton Australian Open to earn a place in Friday’s slopestyle finals, alongside some of the world’s best snowboarders including Mikkel Bang, Chas Guldemond, Torstein Horgmo, Mason Aguirre, Kimmy Fasani and Jamie Anderson.

The slopestyle course challenged riders with a variety of features including a down rail, battleship rail, three kickers and a wall ride. Top men’s qualifier, Eric Willett (USA) landed a solid run that started off a front lipslide 270 out on the down rail, followed by a 50/50 gap to front 180, 50/50 out on the battleship, into a switch backside 540 mute, followed by backside 720 melon, finishing with a frontside 900 tailgrab.

“Practice was nice yesterday, but the new snow today made the course really slow. It was definitely a challenge, but it was super fun, the course is really nice and the jumps were well built, said Eric Willett. “Speed was kind of an issue but hopefully it won’t be too bad for Friday’s finals."

Joining Willett in Friday’s slopestyle finals are Jaako Ruha (FIN), Halldor Helgason (ICE), Andreas Monsberger (AUT) and Markus Malin (FIN), in addition to fellow American, Sage Kotsenburg, who placed first in yesterday’s halfpipe qualifications.

1 Eric Willett USA 2 Jaakko Ruha FIN 3 Halldor Helgason ICE 4 Markus Malin FIN 5 Sage Kotsenburg USA 6 Andreas Monsberger AUT

Although the snow continued to fall, the ladies braved the elements and took to the course. Kara Rennie out of Canada earned the top spot for the women in slopestyle quals this afternoon with a run that started off with a 50/50 to backside lipslide on the down rail, followed by a huge straight air on the first kicker, followed by a tailgrab, finishing with another straight air. Laurie Currier and Ashley Wendorf, both out of the US will be competing in Friday’s finals against back-to-back slopestyle X-Games gold medalist and New Zealand Open slopestyle winner, Jamie Anderson.

1 Kara Rennie CAN 2 Laurie Currier USA 3 Ashley Wendorf USA

The Burton Australian Open continues today with the men’s and women’s halfpipe semis and finals.