COULTER, TAYLOR & FINCH FINISH FIRST SECOND & THIRD IN AUSTRALIAN PRO SNOWBOARDING COMP

Where: Mount Hotham, Victoria, AustraliaWhen: August 20-22

Australia was invaded by internationals over the weekend, with Americans Chris Coulter and Andy Finch leading the snowboarding onslaught at the Mount Hotham 2004 Slopestyle Jam. Although the event – which was held on a course designed specifically with rails, spines, hips, tabletops and pro jumps – was held in miserable weather, Coulter and Finch put on an awesome show in front of the quality field and came up big in the Finals when it counted.

“It was foggy, windy, sleety, cloudy… There was a lot of weather!” laughed 25-year-old Coulter. “The conditions for the Finals were heaps better though and I’m super stoked to win because it means we can do more heli-boarding.””I have actually done a few seasons out here a few years back, so I knew that I was in for a hard time up against the young Aussies and no easy task,” he continued. “The people here are so friendly and I am just excited to be here and catch up with some old friends, winning today was a total bonus.”

Chris’ mate and fellow Utah resident Chris Taylor split Coulter and Finch on the podium by finishing an awesome second place, but made it an American clean-sweep of the event. “I couldn’t believe it – I was so stoked to be up there with them,” said Taylor, who is hanging out with Finch and Coulter for the rest of their time in Australia. “Coulter was claiming it the whole time, saying at the very start of the event “Okay, it’s going to be us taking out first, second and third!”. He had a great attitude and was right on it.”

As well as finishing third place overall, Andy grabbed the event’s “Best> Trick” prize with a perfect Backflip to Boardslide that he threw down on the final day. “I’d been wanting to try that trick for a bit and after the morning it looked like the time,” replied Andy when asked about his “Best Trick” win. “I’ve had a huge grin on my face since I won – it’s awesome.”

Andy has been in untouchable form this year and it looks set to stay withinternational events like The Battle marked down in his calendar.”It’s all really good at the moment and has been a great year,” continuedAndy. “This is the most solid my riding has been in the last four years.”Both Finch and Taylor were unsure of their final result right until it wasactually announced at the presentation. They just slipped into the majorfinals after the quarters and when five people were called to thepresentation stage both were left unsure of their result.There were five of us up on stage – us three and two Aussies,” said Finch.”We didn’t exactly know what had happened, but when they announced that thetwo Aussie riders finished equal fourth we knew we were 1, 2, 3!”