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Men's Slpoestyle Podium (L to R) Sebastien Toutant 2nd, Chas Guldemond 1st, Eric Willett 3rd. PHOTO: Eric Bergeri

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Women's Slopestyle Podium (L to R) Silje Norendal 2nd, Jamie Anderson 1st, Enni Rukajarvi 3rd. PHOTO: Eric Bergeri

European Winter X Games,Tignes, France
Words: Matt Barr

Ask any attendee at the 2011 European X-Games to sum up the event in one word and, unfortunately, that word is likely to be ‘weather’. Because this event had it all. Sun, slush, sticky snow, grippy snow, powder-on-crust and the flattest light seen in Tignes all year: often in the same day.

It was a unique set of conditions that had the riders struggling to master the course and head shaper Gunny scratching his head at some of the weirdest conditions this master course builder has had to deal during a long and varied career.

It also played havoc with the schedule for the week, especially Thursday’s planned men’s slopestyle qualification. After an hour or two of practise that saw riders battle with some ridiculously variable conditions, a hastily organised riders’ meeting saw the decision taken to cancel the elimination round and send all 24 riders through to a two run final on the Friday.

This meant that the focus shifted to Women’s Superpipe finals. Visibility was again poor, but floodlights and a pipe as close to perfection as possible meant the final could still go ahead. The standard was high, with Spaniard Queralt Castellet taking bronze with a run that included back and front 9s. Silver went to Hannah Teter – a veteran of seven top four appearances at previous Winter X Games. Her run – backside air, front 9, back 5, front 7 and a tidy cab 7 to finish – left her with a score of 91.00.

On most days it would be enough to win, but Kelly Clark had other ideas, and the 27 year old claimed her eight Winter X Games medal and third gold with her first run, which included a frontside 7, cab 7, frontside 9, back 5 and and she finished off her run with a frontside 5. Clark’s amplitude and aggression saw off all the other riders and bagged a well deserved win with a score of 92.66.

Friday saw a slight improvement in the weather for the Women’s Slopestyle and Men’s Superpipe finals, although ‘bluebird’ may have been a slight exaggeration on a day that merely saw the sun popping its head through some wispy clouds.

As a Brit, I was looking forward to seeing Pride of Britain/The UK’s Own Jenny Jones (c), surely the most under-rated snowboarder on the planet right now, defend her title in the former event. Unfortunately for me and her rabid crew of supporters, Jenny has been struggling with a back injury this season and failed to defend her title.

A strong field also had much to do with it – with no fewer than five 7s being thrown down during the finals, including a floaty cab 7 by Enni Rukajarvi in her solid third place run. Norwegian Silje Norendal was only 1.33 off top spot and the 17 year old deserved her silver medal with an impressive run on the rails and a smooth rodeo 7.

But it wasn’t enough to challenge this season’s TTR world Champion Jamie Anderson, who took first place. No 7 for Jamie, but she impressed on the rail section and threw down a technical switch back 5 to take top spot on the podium.

Competitive snowboarding is routinely astonishing these days, something underlined during the Men’s Slopestyle Final by Chas Guldemond’s winning run. As mentioned, the week had been plagued by course problems and justifiable rider-problems: something which made Guldemond’s record-breaking X Games record run even more impressive. Guldemond admitted later that he hadn’t even thought it possible to achieve a score over 93, and his faultless 99.33 included some solid rail-smashing as well as a double rodeo 900, cab 1260 and backside 1080 to achieve near perfection.

Watching from the sidelines must have been a rueful Seb Toutant, whose run of 98 would, on most normal occasions, been enough to add to his existing Winter X 15 gold. Seb’s run included technical spins over the rails, a cab 9 double cork and a back 10, so it’s fair to expect he was preparing his winning speech before Guldemond stole the show. Both topped last year’s champion Eric Willet, who took third with a solid performance that included a switch backside 10 and a frontside double cork.

All of which excitement meant there was one snowboarding event left: Men’s Superpipe. And while it didn’t quite match the levels of last year’s event, which culminated in the iPod Show, it still had the estimated 20,000 strong crowd enraptured.

The wildcard of the event was probably Christian Haller, who managed to pull himself onto the podium with his last run, which included a front 10, can 10 and a sketchy double cork at the end of his run. Still, it was good enough for a run of 82.33 and a bronze medal for the Swiss Olympian.

After last year’s shenanigans, much was expected from Iouri Podladtchikov – especially after this second place finish in this year’s TTR Championships. He didn’t disappoint, with a run that included a cab double cork 10, front inverted 5, backside double McTwist 12 and front double cork 1080.

It looked good enough to take the win, until the improving Louie Vito, star of Dancing With The Stars and last year’s bronze medalist, stepped up with his winning 93.00 run. Vito’s been working hard on raising his amplitude and stomped three double corks: a crippler, frontside and cab.

It was an amazing effort by the 22 year old, and one which rightly brought the curtain down on the second European Winter X Games in Tignes. With the second year successfully negotiated, and various problems well and truly ironed out, expect next year’s event to build upon the previous two – and get lucky with the weather as well. After this year, it’d be only fair. uropean Winter X Games,Tignes, France

Ask any attendee at the 2011 European X-Games to sum up the event in one word and, unfortunately, that word is likely to be ‘weather’. Because this event had it all. Sun, slush, sticky snow, grippy snow, powder-on-crust and the flattest light seen in Tignes all year: often in the same day.

It was a unique set of conditions that had the riders struggling to master the course and head shaper Gunny scratching his head at some of the weirdest conditions this master course builder has had to deal during a long and varied career.

It also played havoc with the schedule for the week, especially Thursday’s planned men’s slopestyle qualification. After an hour or two of practise that saw riders battle with some ridiculously variable conditions, a hastily organised riders’ meeting saw the decision taken to cancel the elimination round and send all 24 riders through to a two run final on the Friday.

This meant that the focus shifted to Women’s Superpipe finals. Visibility was again poor, but floodlights and a pipe as close to perfection as possible meant the final could still go ahead. The standard was high, with Spaniard Queralt Castellet taking bronze with a run that included back and front 9s. Silver went to Hannah Teter – a veteran of seven top four appearances at previous Winter X Games. Her run – backside air, front 9, back 5, front 7 and a tidy cab 7 to finish – left her with a score of 91.00.

On most days it would be enough to win, but Kelly Clark had other ideas, and the 27 year old claimed her eight Winter X Games medal and third gold with her first run, which included a frontside 7, cab 7, frontside 9, back 5 and and she finished off her run with a frontside 5. Clark’s amplitude and aggression saw off all the other riders and bagged a well deserved win with a score of 92.66.

Friday saw a slight improvement in the weather for the Women’s Slopestyle and Men’s Superpipe finals, although ‘bluebird’ may have been a slight exaggeration on a day that merely saw the sun popping its head through some wispy clouds.

As a Brit, I was looking forward to seeing Pride of Britain/The UK’s Own Jenny Jones (c), surely the most under-rated snowboarder on the planet right now, defend her title in the former event. Unfortunately for me and her rabid crew of supporters, Jenny has been struggling with a back injury this season and failed to defend her title.

A strong field also had much to do with it – with no fewer than five 7s being thrown down during the finals, including a floaty cab 7 by Enni Rukajarvi in her solid third place run. Norwegian Silje Norendal was only 1.33 off top spot and the 17 year old deserved her silver medal with an impressive run on the rails and a smooth rodeo 7.

But it wasn’t enough to challenge this season’s TTR world Champion Jamie Anderson, who took first place. No 7 for Jamie, but she impressed on the rail section and threw down a technical switch back 5 to take top spot on the podium.

Competitive snowboarding is routinely astonishing these days, something underlined during the Men’s Slopestyle Final by Chas Guldemond’s winning run. As mentioned, the week had been plagued by course problems and justifiable rider-problems: something which made Guldemond’s record-breaking X Games record run even more impressive. Guldemond admitted later that he hadn’t even thought it possible to achieve a score over 93, and his faultless 99.33 included some solid rail-smashing as well as a double rodeo 900, cab 1260 and backside 1080 to achieve near perfection.

Watching from the sidelines must have been a rueful Seb Toutant, whose run of 98 would, on most normal occasions, been enough to add to his existing Winter X 15 gold. Seb’s run included technical spins over the rails, a cab 9 double cork and a back 10, so it’s fair to expect he was preparing his winning speech before Guldemond stole the show. Both topped last year’s champion Eric Willet, who took third with a solid performance that included a switch backside 10 and a frontside double cork.

All of which excitement meant there was one snowboarding event left: Men’s Superpipe. And while it didn’t quite match the levels of last year’s event, which culminated in the iPod Show, it still had the estimated 20,000 strong crowd enraptured.

The wildcard of the event was probably Christian Haller, who managed to pull himself onto the podium with his last run, which included a front 10, can 10 and a sketchy double cork at the end of his run. Still, it was good enough for a run of 82.33 and a bronze medal for the Swiss Olympian.

After last year’s shenanigans, much was expected from Iouri Podladtchikov – especially after this second place finish in this year’s TTR Championships. He didn’t disappoint, with a run that included a cab double cork 10, front inverted 5, backside double McTwist 12 and front double cork 1080.

It looked good enough to take the win, until the improving Louie Vito, star of Dancing With The Stars and last year’s bronze medalist, stepped up with his winning 93.00 run. Vito’s been working hard on raising his amplitude and stomped three double corks: a crippler, frontside and cab.

It was an amazing effort by the 22 year old, and one which rightly brought the curtain down on the second European Winter X Games in Tignes. With the second year successfully negotiated, and various problems well and truly ironed out, expect next year’s event to build upon the previous two – and get lucky with the weather as well. After this year, it’d be only fair.

Results Women’s Slopestyle

  1. Jamie Anderson
  2. Silje Norendal
  3. Enni Rukajarvi
  4. Spencer O’Brien
  5. Cheryl Maas
  6. Kjersti Oestgaard Buaas
  7. Sina Candrian
  8. Jenny Jones
  9. Rebecca Torr
  10. Jordie Karlinski

Results Men’s Slopestyle

  1. Chas Guldemond
  2. Sebastien Toutant
  3. Eric Willett
  4. Mark McMorris
  5. Seppe Smits
  6. Stale Sandbech
  7. Aleksander Oestreng
  8. Peetu Piiroinen