Chris Decamp. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

SLOPESTYLE STAYS ON COURSE AT THE 2008 BURTON AUSTRALIAN OPEN

PERISHER BLUE, AUSTRALIA (September 3, 2008) – 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.

A dreary scene snapped to life by Perisher Blue’s park crew. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

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.

Finland’s Jaako Ruha dropping into second place in for the qualifiers. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

“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.”

Aussie Cohen Davie blastin’. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

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     VANS                  69.33
2 Jaakko Ruha                 FIN      KISSMARK           66.00
3 Halldor Helgason          ICE      DC                      64.83
4 Markus Malin                FIN      BONFIRE             64.00
5 Sage Kotsenburg          USA     QUIKSILVER         62.83
6 Andreas Monsberger    AUT     K2                      61.83

Kara Rennie plotting out her first place run. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

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.

Laurie Currier taking it to the roof with a back nose slider. PHOTO: Chris Boadle

1 Kara Rennie                  CAN      NIKITA           50.67
2 Laurie Currier               USA       OAKLEY         46.67
3 Ashley Wendorf            USA        —               45.83

The Burton Australian Open continues tomorrow with the men’s and women’s halfpipe semis and finals. For more information visit here and if you can’t make it to Australia, watch the semi-finals and finals live here, where webcasts and highlights of the competitions will also be available for on-demand viewing once the event is over.