Practice Day Photo Gallery at the O’Neill Evolution TTR 6 Star event going down this weekend in Davos, Switzerland.  Tune in to TWSNOW.com for the LIVE webcast going down Jan 9th & 10th.  More photos to come as the event unfolds.

Check out last years 2008 O’Neill Evolution Photo Gallery HERE

THE O’NEILL EVOLUTION, 2009
Run With Gravity

Full potential of ‘newcomers’ revealed in the O’Neill Evolution slopestyle qualification

Davos, Switzerland, 7 January 2009.  There was no holding back today at the O’Neill Evolution 2009 as the 120 riders gave it their all in the slopestyle qualification rounds.

One of the standout performances from the three rounds was from 20 year old Norwegian rider, Ulrik Badertscher who finished first in his round with 148.67 points – thanks to a huge BS12 on his last run.

“I’m pretty stoked to get through,” Ulrik said. “I was really nervous beforehand – I just wanted to get through the qualification rounds. So now it’s ok.”

“I did a few 1260s in training,” he said. “It wasn’t that big a deal. I’m also doing qualifications for the quarterpipe, but slopestyle is more my thing.”

Invited rider, Arthur Longo, who impressed everyone with his huge airs in the quarterpipe last year, was watching the slopestyle qualifications with much interest.

“The Belgian rider, Seppe Smits really stood out – he’s really good and has perfect runs. He’s a newcomer to look out for,” Arthur said. “And also all the Norwegians and Swedish riders of course. Of all of them I really like Andreas Gidlund. I like his style.”

As for his own ride, Arthur Longo is still deciding just what he will go for: “I don’t know what to do at the moment. I hope it’s going be a few 9s and a 10, but we’ll see. I’ll focus a bit more on the quarterpipe. It’s a lot easier for me. Last year I went about 8m. I tried the quarterpipe yesterday and it feels good. It’s clean and also perfect on the left.”

Another young rider to make it through the slopestyle qualifications – and one to keep an eye on in the finals, will be 14 year old Dimi De Jong. The Dutch O’Neill rider made his name here two years ago with a spectacular display in the quarterpipe, and was back this year to show what he can do on the slopestyle.

“I wasn’t too nervous,” he said. “It’s a good course and the second big kicker suits me. I did a FS10 tail on my last run. I just went for it. Now I am looking forward to the quarterpipe.”

As the sun set on the first day of qualifications at the O’Neill Evolution 2009, that’s when the lights went up… literally. The five meter balloon lamps lit up the rest of the evening for the quarterpipe training in preparation for tomorrow’s quarterpipe qualification rounds.

Quarterpipe qualification starts tomorrow (January 8) at 11am.

QUALIFIED RIDERS:
Kevin Backstrom SWE 158.00
Seppe Smits BEL 153.33
Ulrik Badertscher NOR 148.67
Mattias Nyberg SWE 147.33
Elias Elhardt GER 145.67
Gjermund Braaten NOR 142.00
Torgeir Bergrem NOR 138.00
Andreas Gidlund SWE 135.67
Ville Uotila FIN 134.67
Jaakko Ruha FIN 134.66
Dimi De Jong NED 134.34
Sindre Iversen NOR 134.00
Markus Malin FIN 126.34
Tore Holvik NOR 125.00
Maxime Henault CAN 119.33
Jonas Carlson SWE 119.00

RIDERS
The confirmed invited riders are:
Chas Guldemond
Janne Korpi
Seb Toutant
Stefan Gimpl (slopestyle only)
Antti Autti
Risto Mattila
Peetu Piiroinen
Gian Simmen
Eirik Haugo
Frederik Evensen
Henning Marthinsen
Kim-Rune Hansen
Tim Humphries
Manuel Pietropoli (quarterpipe only)
Colin Frei
Iouri Podlatchikov
Arthur Longo

FORMAT
In a break from the norm, The O’Neill Evolution will be using a new heat system – based on that of a surf contest. 4-man heats will start in the round of 32 snowboarders, and from the round of 18, this will be down to 2-man heats to determine the finalists and the winner.
Changing over to this K.O. system will guarantee an exciting contest with a clear undisputed winner.

PROGRAM
Mon 05 Jan         Training
Tue 06 Jan         Training
Wed 07 Jan         Slopestyle Qualification
Thu 08 Jan         QP Qualification
Fri 09 Jan         Slopestyle Finals
Sat 10 Jan         QP Finals