Russ Henshaw and Virginie Faivre win the Orage Euro Open Slopestyle

Russ Henshaw and Virginie Faivre win the Orage Euro Open Slopestyle

As the weather finally gave us a sunny reprieve for the entirety of a day, the Orage European Freeskiing Open made its way down the home stretch with the mens and womens slopestyle competition. 48 men and 21 women made their way through semi-finals and finals, eventually crowning Australia’s Russ Henshaw and Switzerland’s Virginie Faivre the champions.

The women really threw down on the Laax course, showing the euros what womens slope stkiing is all about. Flips and spins out of the rice bowl was one of many highlights from the day. Kristi Leskinen took her skills as a seasoned competition veteran, throwing her 3s, 5s, and 7s all the way to 3rd place. Anna Segal, known for her slopestyle prowess, used her flatspin to move her above most and into 2nd place. While last year’s champ Virginie Faivre oozed smooth style in her cork 3s and 5s, and her stylie 180 out of the bowl to become crowned champ, once again. Virginie will once again take the biggest check and the sweet smell of victory to home with her tonight.

The mens field, all through semis and finals saw super technical riding up and down the entire roster. When you have riders whose styles are baller, like Henrik Harlaut, AJ Kemppainnen, Tanner Rainville, thrown them in with tech riders like Charles Gagnier, Tom Wallisch and Joe Schuster, finals will definitely be a wild ride and a fun show.

Throngs of locals and tourists gathered to watch the finals, with more right and left -side spinning than you can shake a stick at. The rice bowl saw cork 450s out, flips out, pretzels and switch ups, the judges up top had their work cut out for them. Youngster Phil Casabon took his tech rail skills (see photo), bomber style and big spins all the way to that last podium place. Frequent podium finisher Charles Gagnier did what he does best — big spins with solid grabs, in a manner only Charles can — and took 2nd. But Aussie Russ Henshaw slapped down some pretzel and switch 1080 action to take his first big international podium.

The crowd, super pumped on all the riders, showed their support through the rain, snow and fog (and sunshine) helping create and even better competitive atmosphere. Slopestyle went off without a hitch today, seeing pros and amateurs alike crowned the top finishers. Once again, competition at its finest has been held here in Laax, as the Orage European Freeskiing Open.

Mens Results:
1) Russ Henshaw
2) Charles Gagnier
3) Phil Casabon
4) Anders Backe
5) AJ Kemppainen
6) Henrik Harlaut
7) Pekka Hyysalo
8) Tom Wallisch
9) Tanner Rainville
10) Thomas Dolplads
11) Kim Boberg
12) Joe Schuster

Womens Finals:
1) Virginie Faivre
2) Anna Segal
3) Kristi Leskinen
4) Eveline Bhend
5) Caja Schopf
6) Athena Brownson

Check out the Orage European Freeskiing Open site!

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