A true sensational Halfpipe final was laid down today in Laax, Switzerland. Current World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe Champions Iouri Podladtchikov and Kelly Clark were surprisingly beaten, by 16-year-old Arielle Gold (USA) and Japanese wunderkind Ayumu Hirano, 14. "I was very happy with my run today. I had good results at every World Snowboard Tour event this season, and am trying to keep this level -- maybe winning the Halfpipe Tour Championship, hopefully...", said a content and slightly shy Ayumu.
Under challenging weather conditions the Women's final was the start of today's competition. Among the 6 finalists we saw only one Swiss name, Ursina Haller, the rest of the field was all American. Arielle stole the show, throwing down a Method Air, to Frontside 540 with Stalefish Grab, into a Backside 540 Mute Grab -- Frontside 720 Indy Grab, rounding it off with a Cab 900 Mute Grab; leaving leading lady Kelly Clark in second place. Kelly attempted to beat Arielle's second run score but fell after her first trick, a Frontside 900. Ellery Hollingsworth landed her first 6Star podium spot, very satisfied with this result. Arielle's response to her win today: "I am so stoked, it is my first 6Star title, I didn't expect it. When we started today, the conditions were pretty hard...But I am super satisfied, I can't believe it!"
Ayumu's winning run consisted of a stylish and huge Method Air, into a Frontside 1080 Tail Grab -- a Cab 1080 Nose Grab and Double Cork 1080 Double Grab finishing of with a Haakon Flip 720. Smooth style was certainly a winning factor. Ayumu makes everything look easy and experienced, yet it is only his second season competing on the 6Star events.
The Burton European Open will see one more day of contest tomorrow; it is time for the Junior league to show how they will be challenging the establishment next season. The Juniors can collect World Snowboard Tour ranking points on the 3Star level.
With his 3rd place result, Scotty Lago moved in to 1st place on the World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe ranking in Laax today. He is closely followed by fellow Americans Luke Mitrani and Greg Bretz. Scotty commented: "It was probably the best I could do in the Halfpipe today, with it being rather slow...Thank god I put down one of my better runs. It will come in handy, cause I'm in the hunt for those World Snowboard Tour points. Happy to be leading!" Ayumu Hirano climbed up into the 4th spot with his win, and there is more to be expected from this 14-year-old sensation from Japan. The Men's Halfpipe Championship will be hard to predict this season, it will all come down to Halfpipe podium spots on the 2 upcoming 6Star Men's competitions at the Burton US Open and the Tour finale in Oslo, The Arctic Challenge.
The Women's World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe Champion will be crowned at the Burton US Open in Vail, Colorado in two weeks, and it will be a tight battle between current leader Kelly Clark and second placed Arielle Gold. With her podium spot, Ellery Hollingsworth climbed into the top 10 of the Halfpipe rankings. This season's favourite Elena Hight, who missed the podium in Laax, will also throw everything in the mix to become the next World Tour Champion.