Photos: Frode Sandbech

Words: Jason Horton

Laax, central Europe’s freestyle capital and the host of the BEO for the 8th consecutive year, really nailed this one. The course was everything you could want to test all-round skills. A rail section led into a tight 2-table rhythm section that rewarded smaller rotations and clean flow, followed by two solid tables that demanded 10’s and 12’s to stay in the game, followed by a complex ‘creative use of space’ end section featuring a wide selection of walls, bonks and rails.

The ladies started early to take advantage of the faster snow conditions, allowing the top girls free rein to deliver tech runs. Swiss Miss Isabel Derungs is emerging as quite the dark horse: her backside Rodeo 5 to SW backside 5 over the tables earned her the third spot. Enni Rukajärvi was her consistent stomping self, and her frontside 5 – SW backside 5 – backside 5 – Cab 7 combo was enough to make silver in each of her three runs. But once again it was Jamie Anderson who dominated: each of her three runs was good enough for gold with a clear margin, and her last run consisting of a frontside blunt – frontside 3 – backside 5 – Cab 5 – SW backside 5 combo scored a respectable 93.58 – 12 points ahead of Enni. Jamie is pretty much unstoppable on her day, and this was definitely her day, she was cruisin’.

The mens contest wasn’t nearly so clean cut… it was a battle from start to finish, with every round seeing the technical stakes raised and a leaderboard in constant flux. It was also a Scandinavian showdown of epic proportions: with 10 of the 15 riders coming from the lands of reindeer and unpronounceable names.

Look at how blue the sky is at Laax. Pretty wild. Roope Tonteri's trick is pretty sick too. PHOTO: Frode Sandbech

Finland’s Ville Paumola threw down a serious banger run in the first round to get into top position, but as the spring temperatures soared, so did the level, and Paumola’s 85.62 eventually got pounded off the podium by some brutal riding in the final round. Peetu Piiroinen sent a Cab 12 to backside 12 combo super deep to slip into top position, but his compatriot Roope Tonteri, apparently not feeling like shit from partying the night before, edged him down with a SW backside 12 – frontside 7 rhythm combo to backside 12 – Cab 12. At this point it was Finland dominating the podium, but then Norwegian Aleksander Ostreng dropped. Alek, whose best contest result so far was a 5th place last year in Italy, nailed a solid second run, then turned up the heat to stomp a big, clean, run to snatch victory from Suomi. Cab 1-backside 3 off the first rail, backside Rodeo 5 to Cab Rodeo 5 in the rhythm section, a perfect off-axis frontside 10 to backside 12 melon, rounded off with a sick blunt to SW 50-50 to 180 off the bottom rail. In a contest of this level, where the top 10 guys are all throwing a 12 into the mix, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish a sick run from a winning run, but everyone seemed pretty happy to see Ostreng top the podium, even the Finnish crew.

Results

Slopestyle Women

1 Jamie Anderson (USA)

2 Enni Rukajärvi (FIN)

3 Isabel Derungs (SUI)

4 Spencer O’Brien (CAN)

5 Cilka Sadar (SLO)

6 Sina Candrian (SUI)

7 Kjersti Ostgaard Buaas (NOR)

8 Silje Norendal (NOR)

 

Slopestyle Men

1 Aleksander Ostreng (NOR)

2 Roope Tonteri (FIN)

3 Peetu Piiroinen (FIN)

4 Ville Paumola (FIN)

5 Seppe Smits (BEL)

6 Janne Korpi (FIN)

7 Sebastien Toutant (CAN)

8 Emil Ulsletten (NOR)

9 Torgeir Bergrem (NOR)

10 Stale Sandbech (NOR)