Finns Win Again In Sapporo

Another contest, another snowstorm. The unstoppable Finns, Antti Autti and Risto Mattila, charged through the blinding snow to take the top two spots in the men’s halfpipe at the FIS World Cup in Sapporo, Japan. And Hannah Teter was back to her winning ways with another victory herself. Dumping conditions and a super slow halfpipe made visibility and speed the top two issues of the day, but it didn’t stop the undeniable favorites from topping the podium.

Autti has won all five World Cups he has entered this season, and his domination doesn’t seem to be in jeopardy in the near future. Xaver Hoffmann of Germany finished in third for the men while Soko Yamaoko of Japan took second and Aussie tranny slayer Torah Bright took third in the ladies department.

Despite the glue-filled pipe and sideways snow, Autti dropped smooth runs of the large variety–two big straight airs to a ridiculous FS corked 7 nose, to cab 7, to FS 9er. Hannah got back to her Teter roots and just went way bigger than the other ladies to lockdown the win and take the 8 grrr home to Vermont.

It could have been a different story if mother nature would have provided some nice weather. Xaver Hoffman was spinning clean Cab 1260s two days before in practice but didn’t have the speed in the finals. And if you saw Autti’s runs at the Mammoth Vans Triple Crown that included insane combos of 7s, 9s, and 10s, you know he has more in his bag to bring.

The 2003 US Open runner-up, Kazuhiro Kokubo, was Japan’s top finisher in fifth and X Games champ, Steven Fisher, was the best of the U.S. with sixth. The claim of the week award, however, definitely goes to Japan’s Domu Narita decked out in head to toe yellow from his helmet and goggles all the way down. He rocked a hefty pre-claim on the drop in to an unprecedented post-run claim that seemed to go on forever. Claims could soon be heading the way of the NFL touchdown dance–maybe the Superpipe Shuffle, confetti in the pockets, pyrotechnics, cheerleaders … you never know, but we’ll be laughing.