Day two at the European Freeski Open had its ups and downs. The ups being some great open qualifying superpipe action went off, and the downside being the weather condition throughout the day. 46 men were cut down to 32 and 16 women were cut down to a measly 6. The usually sunny and beautiful halfpipe at Laax today, was covered in intermittent fog (more covered than not) and was peppered with wind at the end of the day. Nonetheless, the show must go on and after a few pesky course holds, the event was on its way.
It’s no secret that open halfpipe events see a large gap in the talent level from top to bottom and today was no different. Justin Dorey and Walter Wood took each of the two giant heats, Walter spinning both 900s and a nice air to fakie, while Justin opted with the back-to-back flairs and a nice switch 900. Relative newcomers to the halfpipe scene Noah Bowma, Gus Kenworthy and Matt Duhamel all put the hammer down in one of their runs to qualify handily.
While most of the big names here are pre-qualiied, guys like Byron Wells, Tyler Peterson, and Loic Collomb-Patton were put through ringer today and as expected, pulled through unscathed. Most of the qualified names are established up and coming pipe riders or unknown Europeans here for a shot at the title, as it now sits unclaimed due to Matt Philippi’s injury. And two such riders? Joss Christensen and Brian Kish. We’ll see if Kish brings out his alley oop 900 tail gun on Saturday’s competition.
With the qualifying heats (and the fog) behind us, we can look forward to Saturday’s Semi-finals and finals competition, here in Laax at the European Freeski Open, presented by Swatch.