When: September 28, 2008
Where: Zürich, Switzerland
The Austrian rode super solid all weekend and deservedly took this year's title.
[A full Gallery of the weekend's action will be up shortly, as will video highlights. Check back soon.]
Under picture perfect blue skies the 2008 Freestyle.CH wrapped up yesterday with a hyper-bionic display of scaffold jump hammer hitting. After the skaters, skiers and FMXers had entertained the masses, it was time for the flagship weekend-ender and what we were all there for: the snowboard finals. Though why the obsession with a 'final' and a 'super duper final' instead of the old-fashioned 'semi final' and 'final' like in the days of old? Maybe 'super', like sex, sells.
So, the riders that would be battling for the 45-minute final were Markus Keller, Reto Kestenholz, Risto Mattila, Hampus Mosesson, Stefan Gimpl, Peetu Piiroinen, Scotty Lago and Elias Elhardt. Elhardt and Keller both really looked to be struggling for speed, clipping the knuckle on more than a couple of occasions and after the contest we found out why. Concerned that the snow may be running a little slower due to the warmer temperatures, they'd asked a ski dude what wax he'd been using and the dude explained he'd put diesel on his bases. So both gave it a go and all it did was to hamper their riding terribly. "It was like riding with grit in the base, but I'm still super stoked on this weekend and the event," an ever-grinning Elias remarked.
Reto Kestenholz was the crowd favourite, garnering a chorus of cheering whenever his name was mentioned, but even all the Swiss loving couldn't help him to keep his spins compact. Risto Mattila, the usual dead-cert for a Super Final, seemed to be having an off day yet still put down a sweet switch backside 9. So the four riders going through to the final round were Mosesson, Piiroinen, Lago and Gimpl. Interestingly, all (with the exception of the shifty-loving Mosesson) did varieties of 10s for their tech trick. Snowboarding. So tech right now.
Super Duper Final was upon us and all were ready for the hammers. The style/tech thing went out the window and it was back to the old faithful - 2 jumps: best one counts. We were not to be disappointed as it was perhaps the strongest riding of any incarnation I've been to. All landed their tricks (though Lago seemed to get away with his front 10, scabbing but riding out clean) in the first run, but none landed them clean so it was pretty open for the final runs of 08's Freestyle.CH. Gimpl was up first and unleashed a solid front 10 indy, with a stomp that shook the ground. Tough to follow. Lago went next with another front 10 and while in the air he was stronger than Gimpl, he ended up reverting and butter spinning down the landing. Then came the humble Finn, Peetu. Super slow-mo cab 10 indy followed and he landed clean, but the last 180 was a little flappy by this kid's super high standards, and Hampus finished off with the back 9 shifty-shifty that had seen him qualify 1st, though the landing was a tad scabbed.
The judges deliberated for the fraction of time that live TV allows and the final scores came up: Gimpl took the honours and I for one was stoked to see the Austrian hobbit back on the podium at a big event, and he'd been killing it whenever he dropped. Props, Stefan. Mosesson came in a mere .75 points behind, followed by Piiroinen and Lago. That was that. Time to sign off with the old cliché: Thanks for the great spectacle and see you next year.
SUPER FINAL RESULTS - SNOWBOARD:
1 Gimpl, Stefan AUT 87.75 2 Mosesson, Hampus SWE 87 3 Piiroinen, Peetu FIN 84.25 4 Lago, Scotty USA 75.25