Berchtesgaden (Germany). The temperatures stayed warm also on the third competition day at Berchtesgaden where the Halfpipe riders held their sixth contest of the 2000/2001 Nokia Snowboard FIS World Cup today. Jan Michaelis and Sabine Wehr-Hasler made it the first German double in Halfpipe ever.
The pipe had suffered a lot from the weather conditions but although it was pretty soft the riders judged it to be all right for the contest and they enjoyed riding in front of about 2,000 spectators who made them push the limits. Jan Michaelis from Germany had proved already in the early season that he needed to be considered four top ten finishes but he had never made it to the podium so far. The 23-year needed a second qualification run this morning to make it to the night finals but a score of 40.7 points in the second run made him line up amongst the contenders for a podium. In the first final run he was going big, took the early lead out of the ten finalists and none of his rivals could catch up with him there.
Sitting in the hot seat seemed to make him even more aggressive for the second run and it looked as if nothing could get him to disadvantage today. When he also succeeded to land the ‘Backside 900’ there was nobody to stop him anymore and he finally claimed his first win ever. “I like the soft pipes and was really motivated,” he explained. “Before the first run I have been pretty nervous but it worked much better in the second run, especially with all those people cheering up there at the start. The first one has been good already and I knew I could not improve without taking any risk so I tried the ‘Backside 900’ and it worked for the first time ever in a contest.”
Canadian Brett Carpentier has been the German’s strongest rival in the qualification already when he made it to the finals with a score of 40.5 points. With two nice and solid runs in the finals he finally couldn’t close the gap to Michaelis but pulled second. “I’m happy with second place and I think I deserve it,” Carpentier said. “The pipe was very soft but I don’t mind it to be that way.”
Stefan Karlsson from Sweden was sitting in third place after the first run and looked as if he lost concentration in the second run when he made a couple of mistakes. “I just tried to get it all ahead,” he explained, “and then you win or lose ¿ that’s the way it is. I just wanted to go big in the second run, that’s always the key.”
Finishing third today Karlsson also claimed the lead in the Halfpipe World Cup ahead of his teammate Magnus Sterner who didn’t make it to the finals today and Michaelis who moved up from fifth place today.
Similar to Michaelis Sabine Wehr-Hasler made it to the finals with the second qualifier only but then claimed the highest score in both the first and second run in the finals and took her second win this weekend. “It was just great and I like to thank our physiotherapists Hank and Tim who helped to make it happen for both Jan and myself,” she said, “I don’t think something like this ever happened before. The level was even higher than two days ago although the pipe has been much softer today but they did a perfect job over here in shaping it and the advantage was that it didn’t hurt that much when you crashed. In my second run I just made a little mistake in the beginning but was then going everything or nothing and it worked fine.”
British rider Lesley McKenna for the first time ever made it to the podium with finishing second today and felt relieved: “I’m still a bit shocked ¿ to be honest,” she said, “I was riding pretty well all year but haven’t been very lucky. Today I just managed to pull it together and do a good job. The Japanese girls are really good riders but they fell over so luck was on my side also.”Satu Jarvela from Finland finished third.
Winning today Sabine Wehr-Hasler also took the lead in the standings ahead of Stine Brun Kjeldaas from Norway and Japanese rider Michiyo Hashimoto who both have noot been at the start today.
A Parallel Giant Slalom will conclude the Berchtesgaden event tomorrow.