Peetu Piiroinen. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Peetu Piiroinen. PHOTO: Adam Moran

LAAX/SUI (January 15, 2011)

Halfpipe superstars Kelly Clark (USA) and Peetu

Piiroinen (FIN) won today’s Burton European Open halfpipe competition, adding

another world-class title to their long list of career wins and giving the BEO’s

largest halfpipe crowd ever a great show. Both Kelly and Peetu had tough

competition in the finals, but their experience and skills paid off in the end,

earning them valuable points towards both the BGOS and TTR titles and $15,000

cash each.

Men's Podium. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Men's Podium. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Kelly was celebrating her fourth Burton European Open title, an honor only two

other riders (Natasza Zurek & Peetu Piiroinen) in BEO history share. “It’s great

to win here again,” said Kelly. “I really enjoy the pipe at Laax because I get

to push my riding and take it to a new level.”

Kelly Clark. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Kelly Clark. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Kelly’s endless push for progression was contagious in today’s women’s finals,

and all the ladies really stepped it up. The original plan was for 20 women to

start things off early this morning with halfpipe semi-finals. But fog and low

visibility changed all that, so the riders, judges and event organizers decided

to skip semis and head straight to finals, giving each of the girls just two

runs to earn a spot on the BEO podium. Kelly wasted no time in taking the lead.

Her first run won it for her and included a massive frontside 900, backside 540

mute grab, frontside 720 indy grab and a stylish Cab 720. Never satisfied to

just sit back and take a mellow victory lap, Kelly took a big risk on her second

run, attempting a 1080 on her first hit that she almost stomped. Queralt

Castellet from Spain was hot on Kelly’s heels and came in second place with less

than one point separating her and Kelly. Queralt’s run was fully loaded with

style and technical difficulty. Like Kelly, Queralt started with a super

difficult trick – a backside 900, followed by a frontside 540, backside 540 mute

grab and ending things with a frontside 720. Yuki Furihata from Japan rounded

out the women’s podium, earning third place with an impressive run that included

an inverted frontside 720.

Women's Podium. PHOTO: Adam Moran

Women's Podium. PHOTO: Adam Moran

The clouds lifted for the men’s finals, and 10 riders had three runs to get

their best score. For top halfpipe riders like Iouri, Kazu and Peetu, the first

run of the finals ended up being throwaways. By run two, things started to heat

up, with Iouri and Kazu putting together solid runs. But it was the riders’

third and final run that determined the podium in the end. At the start of run

three, last year’s BEO halfpipe champion Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) was in last

place, so he had to drop first. A pro at putting a run together under pressure,

Peetu stepped up and stomped a run that put him into first place: a frontside

720 indy grab, Cab double cork 1080 mute grab, frontside air and backside 900

mute grab, ending things with an alley oop rodeo nose grab. After taking over

the lead, Peetu had to sit back and see if the rest of the nine riders could top

his score. Halfpipe stylemaster and two-time Olympian Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN), who

was competing at the Burton European Open for the first time, came closest to

beating Peetu. Kazu put together a super stylish run that included a beautiful

frontside alley oop, frontside 900 melon grab, McTwist and back-to-back 1080s.

Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) took the last run of the finals and tried to shake up

the podium, but unfortunately fell on his fourth hit and had to stick with his

score from his second run.

Peetu has a habit of winning BEO titles, with today’s halfpipe win marking his

fourth title at the event. But Peetu’s victory was a surprise to the humble

Finn. “I am very surprised to win, I was not expecting this,” said Peetu.

“Winning here is what every rider dreams about, although I believe that Ipod’s

run was much more technical than mine. In any case, the riding level here today

was super high and the new guys coming up are really strong… I hope this doesn’t

mean that I am getting old!”

After today’s BEO halfpipe finals, there were some big changes in the Swatch TTR

World Tour rankings with Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) taking over the tour lead and

Jamie Anderson holding on to the World No. 1 position.

With the 12th annual Burton European Open finished, Christian Haller (SUI) and

Sina Candrian (SUI) now lead the Burton Global Open Series Championship

rankings. Next stop for the Burton Global Open Series is the Canadian Open,

taking place from February 1 – 6, 2011 at WinSport Canada’s Canada Olympic Park

(COP) in Alberta, Canada.

Don’t forget to vote for the new MINI rider award called Creative Use of Space.

Learn more and vote at facebook.com/mini under the Burton tab.

2011 BEO Women’s Halfpipe Final Results

1. Kelly Clark (USA) BURTON90.33: $15,000

2. Queralt Castellet (SPAIN) OAKLEY89.17: $8,000

3. Yuki Furihata Yuki (JPN) BURTON 86.83: $4,000

2011 BEO Men’s Halfpipe Final Results

1. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) NIKE 6.0 & BURTON 89.45: $15,000

2. Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) BURTON 86.10: $8,000

3. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) QUIKSILVER 85.45: $4,000