Words By Mattias Fredriksson
Photos by Daniel Rönnbäck
With a few days perspective on the 2011 edition of Jon Olsson Invitational in Åre, Sweden we are looking back to the most progressive big air events of all time.
Already on the first training day early last week, Russ Henshaw and McRae Williams landed triples. It was on! Once again shape master David Ny and Jon Olsson himself had built a perfect jump in Åre, and the much talked about triples were not there only for the training sessions. A few days with shitty weather and no training, we woke up to sunny skies on Friday morning. Later that day Russ Henshaw got historical when he landed the first ever triple cork in a comp. Then McRae Williams landed the first ever switch triple cork and finally Elias Ambühl dialed in a super clean triple cork 1440 mute, which put him in first place in the qualifier.
His first big break. Ole Christian Mustad in 2nd place at JOI.
The finals of JOI went down Saturday night during one of the biggest holidays in Sweden. Easter in Åre means a village packed with people and with great weather; this year's event was a real bomb in front of 6,000 stoked fans.
During the whole night the level of riding was truly amazing. Every one of the 20 finalists were performing very well, killing it, and gave the crowed a sick show. In the end it was five guys who made it to the super final; Elias Ambühl, Alex Schlopy, Russ Henshaw, Andreas Håtveit and Ole Christian Mustad from Norway (who qualified for the event via video qualification).
The crowd on the Vattenfall VIP bridge gets a nice view of Russ Henshaw.
Alex started out trying a triple cork 1980! Insane. However, he crashed and could not continue to the finals – 5th place. Russ, who skied great during the training, could not land anything perfect in the final and finshed 4th. Andreas Håtveit stomped a double cork 10 with an octo grab and finished 3rd. His fellow Norwegian Ole Christian Musad was the biggest suprise in the final. He landed a very nice double cork 12 mute and with his 2nd place finish he was the most happy runner up of all time. Ole has won several comps this winter, but to become 2nd in the most progressive comp of all time was for sure his biggest achievement in his young career.
The man in Åre on Saturday was Elias Ambühl from Switzerland. In all his three final runs, he landed triple cork 1440's with mute grab! Not 100 percent on the first one, but the other ones just as smooth as butter. It was truly amazing. Elias did his triple cork 1440 mute as good as his dub 10s!
Elias popping the first bottle of the night, the first of a 150-bottle-afterparty at Bygget.
The closing party at Bygget last night was not lame either. Jon Olsson, who got eliminated early on in the big air event and instead skied on alpine skis in the parallell slalom comp with his brother, ordered 150 bottles of champange and handed them out to all the riders, blond girls and some random people with cameras. The place was packed and nobody wanted to stop partying. Thanks for a great week everyone, see you next year!