European Freeski Open Slope Qualifiers

European Freeski Open Slope Qualifiers

With events like X Games and the Winter Dew Tour behind us, we now moved across the pond to Europe, a familiar place for the competition scene in March. The comp guys have settled into beautiful Laax, a high alpine resort in Switzerland for the European Open, presented by Swatch. The best from North America have flown over to clash with the best of Europe, in a free-for-all battle for Open glory. Today: Slopestyle Qualifiers.

The day started sunny and beautiful but eventually milked out on us, The course starts off with three separate jib features (1 rail/box combo, 1 flat box, and a wall ride) and then moves into 3 decently sized jumps. Speed consistentcy seemed to be a bit of an issue, but the riders plugged along and put down their stuff for the judges.

All four heat winners, Gus Kenworthy, Pekka Hyysalo, Marksu Eder and Alex Schlopy, predictably put the hammer down on the mellow course, handily taking their respective heats, with Alex Schlopy’s 75.83 nudging out Gus Kenworthy’s 75.00 for today’s top score.

94 men were culled down to a manageable 33 (top eight from each heat and the next highest overall score advancing). Oscar Harlaut, was the lucky winner today, grabbing that all-important 33rd spot. It doesn’t matter if he bobbled today because he’s in the semis and will lay it down tomorrow.

Joss Christensen, McRae Williams, Banks Gilberti, and Tim McChesney were among the qualifying North Americans who made the long trip, only to land in that top 8. And guys like Aleksander Aurdal, Kim Boberg, Simon Ericcson, Friidtjof Fredriccson, James Woods and Jussi Mononen made sure North America didn’t take all the qualifying spots, holding it down for the European contingent. Even the pipe jocks came to play, with Byron Wells, Matt Duhamel, and Mike Riddle qualifying like it was no big deal.

With the speed being inconsistent and the jumps being a little mellower than the last events, stock tricks like 900s, switch 900s, switch right 900s and rodeos were about par for the course. Up top, 270-ing onto the first down bar was also par for the course. However, an unknown rider dropped a switch double front flip, whether he has a death wish or not, it was impressive and out of the ordinary to say the least. The semi-finals and finals sill surely feature a lot more double corks and a lot more spinning on the rails.

The advancing riders from today will take on the invted, pre-qualified athletes in slopestyle semi-finals on Saturday, under the Crap Sogn Gion lift, here at Laax. Guys like Alexis Godbout, Simon Dumont, Russ Henshaw, Jossi Wells and Joe Schuster, have made the trip and will be forces to be reckoned with. See you Saturday on the slopestyle course. For tomorrow, Halfpipe qualifiers.

Heat 1 Qualifying:
1) Gus Kenworthy
2) Byron Wells
3) Antti Ollila
4) Jussi Mononen
5) Brian Kish
6) Andri Ambuhl
7) Espen Bergh
8) Janne Van Enckevort
Heat 2 Qualifing:
1) Markus Eder
2) Joss Christensen
3) Aleksander Aural
4) Julien Lange
5) Jonas Hunziker
6) Mike Riddle
7) Matt Walker
8) Ian Cosco

Heat 3 Qualifying
1) Alex Schlopy
2) McRae Williams
3) Chase Crane
4) Samuel Favret
5) Banks Gilberti
6) James Woods
7) Giullame Sbrava
8) Jöel Mooser
Heat 4 Qualifying
1) Pekka Hyysalo
2) Tim McChesney
3) Smon Ericcson
4) Roy Kittler
5) Kim Boberg
6) Mtt Duhamel
7) Max Smith
8) Fridtjof Fredricsson
Last Chance Qualifier:
Oscar Harlaut
Women’s Qualifying:
1) Emma Dahlstrom
2) Ashley Battersby
3) Katie Summerhayes
4) Lena Stoffel
5) Maria Begge
6) Rosalind Groenewoud
7) Silvia Bertagna
8) Kim Lamarre

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