What a day for Stefan Gimpl: The Austrian snowboard veteran not only celebrated his career’s seventh World Cup triumph by taking Gold with 52.7 points at the season’s first big air competition of the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. The rider from the Salzburg countryside also made himself a fantastic birthday present. Aged 30 now and in front of 15,000 spectators at Battersea Power Station in London, the World Cup title defender relegated Switzerland’s Gian-Luca Cavigelli (50.5) and Domen Bizjak from Slovenia (49.7) to the second and third rank respectively. Matevz Pristavec (SLO, 49.7) had to settle for fourth finishing also with 49.7 points.
That this day turned out like written in a storybook was due to the great experience of several years being on tour as a snowboard pro. Not the young guns with their Backside 1260s (Ulrik Badertscher, NOR) or Frontside 1260s (Janne Korpi, FIN) took all the credit but Gimpl with his matchless style of making the tricks look so easy and stick them smoothly on the landing hill – although the 30-years-old had to struggle with his shaky legs right before the final attempt. “I was very nervous up there although actually nothing could have gone wrong as I was lucky over the last years living on the sunny side of life. It seems that someone is meaning well for me.”
Namely that good, that the World Cup leader was able to stomp a Frontside 1080 at first, his “so far best in my whole life” and later on a Cab 900 after the spectator crowd had serenaded him “Happy birthday”. “This was an amazing experience. Although I still can’t believe the result as I wasn’t expecting to win today.” With this statement Gimpl was driving at the fact that the whole starter field answered expectations with a high level riding including some of the more than 50 riders from 12 countries showcasing even more difficult tricks than the later on winner – however, not as smooth and stylish like Gimpl did. One of them was Gian-Luca Cavigelli. The Swiss talent who never had finished a World Cup in the top-10 before jumped on the podium for the first time ever after he had thrown in a massive Backside 1080 Double Cork and a Backside Rodeo 720. “I’m pretty stoked with the result as I have been on the snowboard for only two months so far” the 21-years-old who tore his left ACL a year ago said after his comeback. And also third-ranked Domen Bizjak was more than happy after his Switch Backside 900 and Frontside 900 earned him his career’s first podium finish. The 24-years-old who had
have three fourth ranks so far stated: “I never expected this. But today, everything went fine.”