Yesterday at Perisher Blue Resort just outside of quaint Jindabyne, Australia, we saw the slopestyle finals of the 2007 Garnier Fructis Australian Open. We were greeted with blue skies and warm temperatures, the temps proved to be a tad bit too warm as the day rolled on as speed and slush became an issue for riders. The setup was modified a bit from the previous day, the first of four jumps was reshaped, the down rail was removed from the previous gap-to flat box to down rail, making that feature a bit less consequential, and the rounding out the course changes the c-box was dug out of the bottom of the course.
Practice kicked off bright and early at 8:00 am. The course was fast at that point and riders were going off. The contest was stacked with heavy hitters, and action was aplenty. The DC team came out to lock it up from the get go—Torstein Horgmo, Jonas Carlson, and Chas Guldemond were all vying for that top spot, and laying down sick lines. Shayne Pospisil had arrived the night before fresh from New Zealand, as had NZ powerhouse newcomer Jake Koia, and Canadain Logan Short. Logan was onto something new with frontside taps into his frontboard’s on the down rail. Japanese rider Kazuhiro Kokubo was sending it as well, going huge and landing smooth. Frends crew repper, Mason Aguirre also came out to put it down. If you thought Mase was just a pipe rider you need to rethink that. His slope skills are on point and earned him a spot in the finals. Another one making a name for himself on the slope course was young Louie Vito. Vito was killing it all day, must be all that ill combination of protein and candy in his belly at all times.
42 riders were eventually whittled down to sixteen for the final. Sixteen were narrowed down to three on the podium with Kazuhiro in third. Kazu popped a front three over the down rail, into board to fakie, into switch back 5, back 5, switch front 9, to massive front 10 tail. Torstein Horgmo landed in second with a switch back tail 270 on the downrail, to switch front 270 on 270 off the gap-to box, to back 5, switch front 7, switch back 9, and ending with a front 9. Chuck G a.k.a. Chas Guldemond taking first place. Chas went switch front 270 onto and off the rail, into front board same-way 270 out, switch front 5, back rodeo 5, to switch front 9, and finishing them off with a flawless back twelve nose. That shit was impressive to say the least. It was Torstein or Chas all day and Chas ended up taking it home. Chasy boy earned himself 5k for that monstrous run right there.
The ladies were charging hard as well. The level of women’s riding was definitely stepped up here. Well as fast as one can charge when the slush starts to get about a foot deep in spots. Kimmy Fasani was out due to a dislocated elbow that she’d suffered two days earlier, but she’s ok, she’s been holding it down here at the internet spot full time. Jaimie Anderson was going huge and clean as can be. Jenny Jones, and Priscilla Levac were also keeping it very real with back-to-back fives, going in switch on the last jump. Jenny swooped into second place with a back three, front three, front five in her line. Jamie Anderson sealed it up with a front three, into a backside 180 into switch front five, and rounded it out with a big ol’ back one. Then she proceeded to move into oour condo later that night and start stealing everyone’s sleeping gear.
Once slope was a wrap it was on to the Whistler Big Air event, which started with the top three slopestyle finishers and nine other riders handpicked by Dingo himself. For the boys the big air ended in a three-way battle between Torstein Horgmo, Chas Guldemond, and Aussie Robbie Walker. It was getting darker and colder at this point, not to mention a bit faster as the snow began to firm up. A slew of immaculate 1080s and other helicopters variations were being thrown around and the judges this time around were the riders themselves. In the end the W went to Robbie Walker, he earned it for sure. Claudia Fliri claimed top spot for the ladies over the sixty-foot kicker with a sick front seven and a sick poked out front three stale. Claudia walked away 4k richer and Robbie took home 9k, not too shabby! Big shout to Andy Finch too for his massive one-footers over the kicker, he was going off.
The pipe finals are getting underway today, and we’ll have the results soon.