Wednesday, 25 January 2006
-Scandinavians dominate slopestyle finals in Avoriaz-
19-year old Torstein Horgmo from Norway today won the slopestyle discipline of the O’Neill Pro Freestyle snowboard event in Avoriaz, France, breaking into the top 10 of the TTR World rankings and banking 5,000US$ in the process. During the hour-long, jam session format final, Horgmo threw down a succession of mind-blowing technical runs to take the top spot ahead of the 30 strong field. 17-year old Ulrik Badertscher, also from Norway, slipped into second position with Finnish ripper Jukka Eratuli taking third. The day began early with a dawn hike up to Nicolas Marduel’s sublime slopestyle creation. This years slopestyle setup was slightly shorter than previously, but the intensity had been cranked up a few notches. A mailbox greeted the riders from the start gate and set them up for a line of three successive kickers. The landing from the third kicker lead into a 6-meter quarterpipe, before the final rail section opened up. 80 riders duked it out in three qualification heats during morning with only the top 15 riding their way
into the final showdown at midday.
As with the 2005 contest, the finals lineup was once again dominated by the Scandinavian contingent with 19 of the available 30 berths being engaged by the Northern European riders. For the duration of the hour-long jam session, the contest was fierce and there wasn’t much room to maneuver at the top of the leader board. This was until Torstein Horgmo (Nor) linked up a scorching run consisting of a cab 270 FS boardslide on the mailbox, followed by a Switch Cab 7, Backside 9, FS 7 tail grab on the kickers, a frontside 5 on the hip before nailing a Cab boardslide to 180 and a 270 on 270 off on the exit rails. The 80.5 score moved Torstein into the lead and left the rest of the field fighting it out for the minor places.
“I’m so stoked to have won.” Began Horgmo. “I had heard that the Pro Freestyle was a sick event and I also love jam session formats in contests so I took my friends advice and came to Avoriaz. I’m glad I did! I really
liked the set up here. The jumps were all really close together and that was pretty intense, if you didn’t land clean on one of them it was a bit stressful to hit the next one but overall the course was pretty sick. I liked the rails and the hip a lot... I don’t know why us Norwegians are all doing so well at this event? I guess Norway rocks! But seriously there’s just a really good atmosphere amongst the Norwegian crew. We’re all joking around before we drop so there’s no stress, we’re just out there having fun I guess that’s why it’s
going so well for us.” He added.
17 year-old Ulrik Badertscher was also getting amped on the Norwegian vibe, stomping a super technical run to bank a 78.5 score, the number 2 spot and a healthy 3,000US$ pay cheque for his morning’s work. Badertscher started his line with a backside 270 on the mailbox before linking together a backside rodeo, cab 9, backside 9 on the kickers. He followed this up with McTwist on the quarterpipe, before rounding of his descent with a switch tail slide to backside tail slide and a Cab 270 on the last rail. “Second was a good result for me.” Began Badertscher. “ I was just having fun riding with my friends and enjoying this setup. I came to the event because all my friends said it was a cool competition and they were right. I like doing slopestyle contests, I think that they are really fun and also because I can’t ride the halfpipe very well.” He added.
Yet another Scandinavian, Jukka Eratuli from Finland, snapped up the final podium position in the closing moments of the session. Jukka nailed a 270 on the first mailbox, followed by a switch backside 7, Cab 5, frontside 9 on the kicker line and a frontside indie on the quarter, a frontside 360 nose bonk on the corner, Boardslide to Switch FS Boardslide, NosePress to backside revert. Jukka earned a cool 2,000US$ for his trickery.
The 2nd day of the O’Neill Pro Freestyle ended with the downtown rail session where the riders were invited to throw down for instant cash rewards dished out by paymaster and TTR CEO Drew Stevenson. Head TTR Judge Dani ‘Kiwi’ Meier summed up the days action. “The contest today was really, really good and the standard was super high. I’m stoked to see Torstein take the win” Began Meier. “Torstein has been one of the success stories of the new TTR format. At the beginning of the season he was pretty low key, a rookie, but he’s really been stepping it up recently. What makes his result even more impressive is the fact that at the Air and Style in Munich he had a heavy fall and had to have his jaw wired closed. That was only in December, but he’s bounced back so quickly and is banking some insane results at some of the biggest contests on the tour. He’s come from pretty much nowhere and now he’s broken into the TTR’s top ten. It’s insane and I look forward to seeing what he can do at the other stops on the tour.” He added.
The O’Neill Pro Freestyle girls are primed to get back in the driving seat tomorrow, weather permitting, with all attention returning to the slopestyle course for the women’s finals. Stay tuned.
Slopestyle Final Results
1. Torstein Horgmo (Nor)
2. Ulrik Badertscher (Nor)
3. Jukka Eratuli (Fin)
4. Ville Uotila (FIN)
5. Mickael Lundmark (SWE)
6. Paal Soerensen ((NOR)
7. Thomas Harstad (NOR)
8. Eirik Haugo (NOR)