Another day, another contest ... but the 10th Annual Burton European Open isn't just any contest and Laax isn't just any old venue. TWS arrived here with a slew of American riders on the circuit traveling from the finals at the Dew Tour at Mount Snow straight into the semi-finals at the Euro Open the following day. Unlike the Dew tour though, this Laax pipe is a monster 22-foot Super (duper?) pipe and the setting, high in the Swiss Alps, is next level. No one is immune to the epic views all around. It's a damn nice place to grab an espresso and watch some pipe riding.
So, while we arrived yesterday, this contest has been on since last Wednesday, because as the name implies--it's an open event and everyone gets a chance to compete. The event started with Juniors fourteen and under riders competing in this same 22-foot pipe and Superpark with Roxy rider Emma Bernard taking it for the girls pipe and Ty Walker taking first in the girls slopestyle. Swiss rider Patrick Burgener swept the juniors event with a first place win in both pipe and slopestyle.
The juniors event was followed by open qualifiers for the main event--it's anyone and everyone's chance to earn a spot to compete against the best of the best. In slopestyle it was Stale Sandbech and Lonnie Kauk taking the first and second open spots in qualifiers and ten more men taking up the remaining spots. In women's slopestyle, Lisa Wiik and Cilka Sadar took the top two of the six open spots.
The following day, eleven pipe riders qualifed for the open spots including Finnish rider Ilkka-Eemeli Laari and Norwegian Stale Sandbech again! The thirteen open women's spots were gobbled up by Lesley McKenna, Cilka Sadar, Lisa Wiik, and Sarka Pancochova among others.
Which catches us up to yesterdays pipe semi-finals, which saw a few of the same names qualifying for the 16 open spots in mens and 8 in womens. The women's division was absent some of the big names riders with the exception of Kelly Clark who posted an almost ten point lead in front of second place finisher Linn Haug--basically dominating the field with back to back fives way out and a stylish front seven. (On a down note, Jamie Anderson flew out of the pipe onto the deck and got herself a bit of a hip hematoma, possibly taking her out of the competition circuit for a week or two, and definitely taking the strongest contender out of tomorrow's Slopestyle finals.)
The results were:
1 Clark, Kelly (USA) Burton 91.17
2 Haug, Linn (NOR) Burton 82.33
3 Sadar, Cilka (SLO) Burton 79.50
4 Thost, Nicola (GER) Burton 74.67
5 Pancochova, Sarka (CZE) Bern Unlimited 72.50
6 Ligocka, Paulina (POL) Roxy 68.50
7 Wiik, Lisa (NOR) Roxy 68.33
8 Oestgaard Buaas, Kjersti (NOR) Roxy 66.67
The men excelled in the 22-foot beast, with Shaun White and Kevin Pearce battling it out in separate heats for the top qualifying position--with Kevin just pulling ahead of Shaun, which sets us up for a fun finals today. Shaun combed up a front five to back five, front 10 to Cab 10, finishing with a front 7 to a Haakon flip. Kevin threw a few straight airs in his run, he started with a big ol' frontside air, a McTwist Japan to frontside 720, to a Cab 1080, to front 900, and ending with a huge Indy. The judges were down for it. The results were:
1. Pearce, Kevin (USA) Burton 95.00
2. White, Shaun (USA) Burton 91.83
3. Haller, Christian (SUI) Burton 89.33
4. Malin, Markus (FIN) Thirty Two 84.17
5. Schmidt, Christophe (GER) Head 80.67
6. Piiroinen, Peetu (FIN) Burton 77.67
7. Podladtchikov, Iouri (SUI) Volcom 77.50
8. Burgener, Patrick (SUI) Nitro 76.50
9. Kleivdal, Roger (NOR) Sweet 73.83
10. Aguirre, Mason (USA) Burton 73.00
11. Crepel, Mathieu (FRA) Quiksilver 72.83
12. Koski, Markku (FIN) Thirty Two 72.50
13. Davis, Danny (USA) Burton 72.17
14. Stewart, Ben (NZL) O'Neill 70.50
15. Simmen, Gian (SUI) O'Neill 70.50
16. Hast, Miikka (FIN) Protest 68.83
Check back later today for the final pipe results.