Unlike other events on the TTR Pros Series calendar, the ‘BILLABONG World Junior Pro’ focuses specifically on competitors aged 19 yrs and under. The event spotlights the world’s most talented Freestyle snowboarders who qualify into the competition via a series of ‘BILLABONG Junior Pro’ and ‘VZ Trials’ events, held throughout the year, worldwide. The event spotlights tomorrows most progressive and influential snowboard talents, and as with all TTR Qualifying and Pro Series Events, enables the winners to receive both event title and a ‘Ticket’ to the TTR season finale’ ‘The Arctic Challenge.’
Les Deux Alpes, France, host of this years BILLABONG World Junior Pro,’ held from 1-5 March, in association with event organizers and TTR industry partner Billabong, welcomed over 40 young riders to their resort for the 3 day competition. With ages ranging from 10-19 yrs, and a nationality mix including Canada, Australia, Norway, Germany, Holland, England, Switzerland, Russia and France the week proved to be a powerful cocktail of entertainment, cutting edge competition and worldly comradeship.
Two days of qualifications, judged by an international panel of senior professional snowboarders, and held at a perfectly designed Slopestyle course, consisting of rails, kickers, a hip and quarterpipe, identified which 12 finalists would compete for the ‘BILLABONG World Junior Pro’ Champion title, ‘Ticket to Ride’ medallion and “Tristan Picot Memorial” trophy.
The Finals, which took place on Friday, and immediately after the finish of the qualifying rounds, was held as a one-hour jam session. During the course of the finals, performance levels were elevated minute by minute, pushing both technical runs and individual showings of style and creativity to explosive and unprecedented levels. With the TTR’s newly identified Norwegian Junior star, Frederik Austbö, taking an early lead on points, it seemed that the remaining podium places were all that was left to fill. But as the hour progressed, new trick combinations were executed, putting pressure on the young Norwegian. And as rookie German rider, Elias Elhardt, took to the slopes the tables turned. With an almost perfectly executed run, Elhardt not only took a clear lead ahead of Austbö, one which he would hold to the very end, but his performance also catapulted the forever smiling German junior into the fulcrum of Professional Freestyle Snowboarding’s spot light.
Elhardt’s highest scoring run, even though fiercely challenged by Austbö, Canadian rider Renault Belisle and Frances Julien Bogoli, would remain the highest scored run of the day. His mix of creativity, power, smoothness, and execution of tricks put him at the top of his peers. Austbö was able to hold second place and the very happy Quebec local Belisle filled the podium with 3rd.
The “Tristan Picot Memorial” trophy, awarded to the most talented competitor of the event, and in memory of deceased professional junior rider Tristan Picot, was given to Julien Bogoli. Bogoli deservedly winning the trophy, excelled throughout both the qualification and final heats, showing both career potential and the appreciative spirit of a great competitor.
The women’s invitational competition, a one hour jam session, held on the same Slopestyle course as the men’s, gave the girls a chance to make the most of the event structure and represent women freestyle snowboarding positively. Australian’s Abby Bright, took honors, riding strongly, utilizing the entire course and setting standards for the rest of the field to follow. Second place went to Sophie Rodriguez (France), with Suray Fernandez (Spain) third.
Results ‘BILLABONG World Junior Pro’
For event images go to: www.billabongjrpro.com
1 .Elias Elhardt GER Rossignol (1 x Ticket To Ride)
2 .Frederik Austbö NOR Gnu/Quiksilver
3. Renault Belisle CAN Oakley
4. Eric Botner NOR Oakley
5. Ryan Tiene AUS Rusty
6. Juuso Laivisto FIN Ride/Smith
7. Julien Bogoli FFRA O’Neill
8. Mathieu Daneau CAN Oakley
9. Iauri Podladtchikov RUS Volcom
10. Tore Holvik NOR Batallion
11. Markus Malin FIN Salomon
12. Clint Allen AUS Billabong
1. Abby Bright AUS Billabong
2. Sophie Rodriguez FRA Billabong
3. Suray Fernandez PA Roxy
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