The first decisions at the 4th Orage European Freeski Open by Swatch in LAAX are made: Kaya Turski from Canada and Henrik Harlaut from Sweden are the 2009 Slopestyle Champions after showing amazing performances at the 2200 m high Crap Sogn Gion mountain in LAAX.
Freezing temperatures and cold winds made for difficult conditions for the semifinals in the morning with a mix of invited seeded riders and amateurs from the qualification. For the finals and the best 12 male and 12 female riders, the sun came out and the wind calmed down. The innovative slopestyle-course was perfect consisting of 7 obstacles: The guitar-jib right at the start followed by a mini halfpipe, 3 huge kickers and a c-rail at the end.
The women started things off, throwing down with tricks like switch 7s, 5s and cork 3s. Eventually the winner was decided, and it was Kaya Turski, who came to LAAX for the first time. Keri Herman from the USA came in 2nd. She and the 3rd placed Eva-Maria Patscheider from Austria are both “open-riders”, who had to go through the qualifications to make it to the podium.
In the men’s, Harlaut from Sweden got the highest score from the judges showing a combination over the kickerline with a rightside 720 nose, leftside double cork 1260, switch leftside 9 nose mute. After the prize giving the 18 year old European Freeski Open winner from Are said: “I’m so excited. To win here means a lot to me, now I am one of the best riders in the world. I felt pretty good the whole day, and I am really glad that I landed on top of the podium at this event.” Riding for Amplid 22-year old US American Tom Wallisch was ranked 2nd. His team manager Peter Bauer celebrated some podium places in snowboarding here in Laax himself back in the early 90s and was very proud of his rider. Thomas Dolplads from Norway got 3rd.
Results Slopestyle Finals, March 20, 2009, LAAX:
1. Henrik Harlaut/SWE – Ninthward 81.60
2. Tom Wallisch/USA – Amplid 79.20
3. Thomas Dolplads- Nike 75.20
1. Kaya Turski/CAN – Salomon 81.40
2. Keri Herman/USA – Spyder 72
3. Eva- Maria Patscheider- Atomic 70.20