WHERE: Davos, Switzerland
WHEN: January 4 – 9, 2010
WHAT: Running with gravity
WHO: MEN – Halfpipe 6-star, Slopestyle 5-star
WOMEN – Halfpipe 6-star
Iouri Podladtchikov has taken victory in a spectacular halfpipe final at the O'Neill Evolution in Davos.
"I feel better now than I did at the end of my run," said Iouri on receiving his prize money.
Despite nailing a run of a frontside 540, backside 900, frontside 1080 and a cab double cork 1080, Iouri arrived at the bottom of the halfpipe in frustration.
"I was so angry. I think I was still really angry from screwing up my first and second run, that I didn't really realise that I had just landed that third run," he said. "It was kind of special that I took all my stuff off angrily and then saw my score."
His score of 91.33 was more than deserved, and with it he pushed fellow Swiss countryman Markus Keller into second position.
However, Markus was the winner of the Swatch Highest Air prize of $5,000 for his 4.2m defiance of gravity.
"The scary part is actually the in-run," said Markus. "The part in the air is actually the part where you get to enjoy it! I was first trying an air to fakie," he said. "but after all the other riders started to go for a highest air as well I had to change to a frontside air."
Rounding off the top three is last year's Swatch TTR World Champion as well as last year's O'Neill Evolution quarterpipe winner, Peetu Piiroinen.
With the riders pushing each other – as well as the limits of snowboarding – it was a close and exciting final to entertain the crowds gathered at the bottom of the Jakobshorn.
"We really pushed each other out there," said Markus Keller. "It was getting closer and closer run after run. Iouri beat me on his last run but he was the only one allowed to do that!" Markus joked.
Markus claimed second place with his first run of the finals – a Cab 720, frontside 900, backside 900 and McTwist.
"Actually Christian Haller was allowed to beat me too," said Markus. "Our goal was to get three Swiss guys on the podium. That would have been cool. Especially because this feels like my home event as I went to school here," he said.
However Finnish rider Peetu Piiroinen had something to say to that – in the form of a frontside 720, a cab double cork 1080, a frontside air, a backside rodeo 720 and an alley oop 540.
"I am really happy," said the Finn who now moves up into second position on the Swatch TTR World Tour with this result. "This is the first time that I have made a double cork in a contest. I've been practicing a lot. I am going to use the double cork from now on. These days you have to do a double cork."
With the slopestyle finals tomorrow, Peetu has the opportunity to take the Swatch TTR World Tour lead ahead of Marko Grilc. "I think I can try to defend the number one ranking this year," said Peetu. "I am definitely going to go for it."
Slopestyle semi finals start tomorrow January 9 at 10.30am.
Watch the LIVE WEBCAST at www.oneill.com/evolution from 10.30am.