Photos Frode Sandbech
WHERE: Davos, Switzerland
WHEN: January 4 – 9, 2010
WHAT: Running with gravity
WHO: MEN – Halfpipe 6-star, Slopestyle 5-star
WOMEN – Halfpipe 6-star
When the O’Neill Evolution 2010 decided to play with gravity, there was no messing around. As the riders took to the slopestyle for the two qualification heats today there was more air-time than ever witnessed before at this event.
Leading the slopestyle attack was the Norwegian rider, Sondre Tiller who impressed all with cab 9 followed by a backside 10 over the two kickers, scoring 93.00 points.
“It’s a pretty cool course,” said Sondre – the 18 year old Norwegian currently sitting at number 148 on the Swatch TTR World Tour. “The second kicker was my favourite feature – mainly just because you can go bigger on it.”
One person who hasn’t been enjoying the second kicker as much as the riders, is shaper Bjarni Thor Valdimarsson from the Mellow Crew.
“The big kicker is for sure the most exciting for everyone, but I enjoy watching the up-box at the end the most because there’s not much room for anyone to get hurt. It’s stressful to watch the rest!”
“It’s a course built for a better rider,” said Bjarni. “It’s a steep course and it’s hard to judge the speed – you need a good feeling for it. But the way the guys were riding today it should make for a good final.”
From the two qualifying heats it was the Norwegians and Finns who dominated the show – with 5 Finns and 4 Norwegians going through to the finals.
Among them is 20 year old Joachim Krogstie, who eased his way into the course over the three days of practice to finally feel confident for a successful run.
“It took three days to ride it in and get the speed right” he said. “People were just going for it from the beginning and really injuring themselves. I took it easy when I started off. I don’t want to get injured. It’s a long season and it’s just the beginning.”
“I’m looking forward to compete with all my Norwegian friends who also made it through,” said Joachim. “I’m also looking to coming up against the invited guys – the guys I looked up to when I started like Peetu Piiroinen and Marko Grilc.”
Current Swatch TTR World Tour leader, Marko Grilc (SLO) has been testing out the slopestyle course over the past few days preparing himself to defend his world number one ranking. So will he impress the crowds gathered below in Davos? “I hope to impress myself first” he said – so that would most likely be a yes.
Halfpipe finals start January 8, 2010 at 10.30am
Watch the live webcast at oneill.com/evolution
Friday January 8 – MEN’S HALFPIPE FINALS
Saturday January 9 – MEN’S SLOPESTYLE FINALS