The slopestyle course at this year's European Open, had a bit of a twist, well, more like a halfpipe right in the middle. The course started off with a spine fitted with a log goalpost and a barrel jib, then it went into a wallride, a down box or downrail, and then into a two-hitter pipe. This top portion of the course counted for a full half of the points scored, the lower three jumps counted for the other half. Obviously, those riders who excelled in both pipe and slopestyle did the best in the course.
It was a long day for the riders, it started with 7:45 a.m. practice (keep in mind that there's some jetlag involved in hoping a flight to Switzerland straight from Vermont), then practice led to semi-finals in the morning, course maintenance, more practice, and then 3 full runs of finals in the afternoon. The finals for the 16 men and 8 women alternated with only the best of the three runs counted. Despite the long hours, the riders were at 100%.
Danny Davis sets a course to victory. PHOTO: Christy Chaloux
Roxy rider Lisa Wiik came up through the open qualifiers with consistently strong runs just edging out second place finisher, and hometown hero Sina Candrian by .16 of a point—a super victory for the longtime competitor. All three of the girls on the podium were killing it on the advanced course today. Lisa front 180 nosebonked the barrel, to a half Cab on the wallride, to a nosepress down the box, McTwisting through the pipe, and then going backside Indy 5, front 3 stale, to back three over the large kickers. Sina threw a bonk on the barrel, to a 180 down the wall, backside boardslide down the box, backside to frontside 5s in the pipe, front 5 on the first kicker, Cab 5, to the only nine of the women's event on the last kicker. Sina plans on riding at the U.S. Open and the Roxy Chicken Jam this winter, so you might get a chance to see her for yourself. Kjersti Buass came in a solid third.
The men's finals were gripping, well actually the final runs of the men's finals were gripping. For the first two-thirds of the contest, Shaun White was winning by a landslide, but everything changed in the final run. Danny Davis started off with a sweet backside 3 handplant on the barrel, to an alleyoop rock n roll combo on the wallride, switch backside lipslide down the box, and into the pipe with a switch backside 7 to a back seven—these calculated combos up top boosted his score before he even dropped into the jumps, but once he did, he went switch back 9, front 10, to a Cab 9. Zowee! That got him into first ahead of Shaun who still had his final run to go. Peetu followed up Danny with a backside 360 bonk on the barrel to frontside air onto the wallride, followed by a nosepress to revert on the downbox—cab 7 to front 7 in the pipe, and then Cab 9, backside Rodeo 9, to Cab 10 on the last hit—not enough to take out Danny, but enough to put him in second. Shaun came out on his final run and got a good start at the top, but uncharacteristically fell on one of the jumps, and the rest is Euro Open history. Not a bad podium to end with, this is Danny’s second fist place finish in a major comp this winter including his first place finish in the Breckenridge Dew Tour Superpipe.
I asked around at the end whether the riders liked this new pipe in the middle of the slopestyle course setup—well, the answer is kind of obvious, the ones who ride pipe did, the ones who don't ride pipe didn't. Danny Davis said he really liked it, but felt for the riders who weren't expecting to have to pull out their pipe skills in the park. As far as spectating went, it added another really cool element to the slopestyle course and sort of packed in the action. I give it a couple of thumbs up, but maybe the riders just need a heads up in advance in the future. What do you think of it?
Women's Slopestyle Finals Results
1 Wiik, Lisa (NOR) ROXY 75.83
2 Candrian, Sina (SUI) BURTON 75.67
3 Oestgaard Buaas, Kjersti (NOR) 72.67
4. Silvia Mittermueller (GER)
5. Cheryl Maas (NED)
6. Sarka Pancochova (CZE)
7. Silje Norendal (NOR)
8. Julia Baumgartner (AUT)
Men's Slopestyle Finals Results
1 Davis, Danny (USA) Burton 91.17
2 Piiroinen, Peetu (FIN) Burton 90.83
3 White, Shaun (USA) Burton 90.33
4. Chas Guldemond (USA) DC, 84.17
5. Mathieu Crepel (FRA) Quiksilver, 82.67
6. Antti Autti (FIN) Flow, 78.83
7. Stale Sandbech (NOR) Oakley, 77
8. Markku Koski, (FIN) ThirtyTwo, 71.83