Oslo - March 9th, 2013
At the final men's Halfpipe event of the season, The Arctic Challenge, Peetu Piiroinen was crowned World Snowboard Tour Overall Champion in Oslo Vinterpark today. "It feels so incredible of course that I was still able to win the Overall title after Ståle got it last year. It's just so hard nowadays, because the riding level in both Slope and Pipe is getting higher and higher. It's a lot of work, if you want to be good in both disciplines. Ståle and I had a really good battle, unfortunately he didn't make it to the final here at the Arctic Challenge, it would have been nice to battle it out till the end." Peetu commented on his 4th World Snowboard Tour title.
After a steady season with 7 top 10 results and 2 podium places, Peetu beat his rival Ståle Sandbech, who had trouble with his flow in the first heat of the semi-finals. He couldn't land as clean as we usually see him do in Pipe. Peetu came in 5th overall; he was surpassed by Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI), Chinese surprise Yiwei Zhang (CHN) and World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe Champion Ayumu Hirano (JPN).
As one of the favourites for the Arctic Challenge title, Iouri took the win with his second final run, laying down a Frontside 900 Tail Grab, Backside 900 Mute Grab - Frontside 1080 Tail Grab to Cab 1080 Double Cork Mute Grab and finally a Frontside 1080 Double Cork Truckdriver, scoring 90.28 points. With the last run in reversed order, first placed Iouri had to lay down his last run first, only scoring a 58.85. He followed the competition trying to beat his score from the hot seat.
Iouri commented: "The Arctic Challenge is a contest that I used to wait for, because it's always been in the end of the season and it's always been on a high level; of technical difficulty and also a high level on style. I am very proud that we still represent that today; really represent snowboarding the way that it should be -- for example those big Backside Airs and some really really good grabs that you don't see often, that's important to me. And to be the winner right now is just insane! I'm excited to ride more contests with Ayumu in it; he'll obviously be there in the future. There are not too many riders that have a little bit of skate style. I'm a skater and he's a skater. I really like to watch people that have a little bit of skate style in their riding. So excited about that, and I hope that he'll develop his tricks even more."
Second sensation of the evening was Chinese Yiwei Zhang from Harbin, China. With the next World Championships of Snowboarding moving from Oslo to Yabuli in 2016, Yiwei received a wildcard to ride the Arctic Challenge and fully exploited the opportunity to show his amazing ability here. With a very impressive final run consisting of a huge Backside Air to Frontside 1080 Double Cork Frontside Grab - Cab 1080 Double Cork Stalefish -Double Crippler Frontside Grab, he captivated the Vinterpark crowd.
Landing his final 6Star event on the podium, Ayumu Hirano casually picked up the trophy for his already awarded World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe title, happy as ever.
The World Snowboard Tour 12-13 came to an end here today, but at the same time the 5Star Nescafe Champs marked the first Slopestyle event of the new 2013/14 season. Nescafé Champs 2013 podium:
1. Janne Korpi
2. Spencer Link
3. Scott Moline
1. Ty Walker
2. Jordie Karlinski
3. Phoebe Novelle
Riders have the chance to stock up on World Snowboard Tour points in different disciplines early this season, giving them a head start before a packed winter schedule with the Olympics in Sochi, Russia is on the horizon.
With the 5Star Spring Battle in Flachauwinkl, Austria on next weekend, and the first 6Star event X Games Tignes from 20th till 22nd of March, the best action in snowboarding is guaranteed for spring.