European Freeski Open by Swatch 2010, and Ashley Battersby and JF Houle are the winners of the “Stair Rail Battle” in LAAX which was held because the slopestyle contest was cancelled because of heavy storms:
After 2 days of qualifications in pipe and park, where 200 riders showed their tricks on Crap Sogn Gion in LAAX, the first decisions at the 5. European Freeski Open by Swatch were expected today. Slopestyle Semifinals and Finals should take place, but due to the wind and wheather conditions the competition had to be cancelled. Heavy storms up to 70 km/h made the course with a length of 500 meters too dangerous, especially the kickerline, which makes 20 m airs possible. The organizers decided not to do the contest to guarantee the security for the riders.
Fortunately an alternative could be organized for the riders coming from all different parts of the world and for a big freeski fan-community. Late afternoon the so called „Stair Rail Battle“ took off down in the valley at the rockresort. Many people were watching this jam session, in which every rider could go over a rail, consisting of a box, a downrail and a kinked rail connected by stairs, as often as he wants. The crowd was excited by a great show taking place for about 2 hours. Five judges observed the performances and gave the titles “Winner of the Stair Rail Battle” at the European Freeski Open by Swatch 2010 to JF Houle from Canada and Ashley Battersby from the USA. The Canadian winner got the most points for his trick combination showing a „nose butter 450 in pretzel 270 out“ at the downrail, which means 5000 US$ prizemoney for him. US-rider Tom Wallisch got 2nd, followed by Samuel Favret from France. US-girl Battersby showed a very stylish „270 in 270 out“ at the downrail and deserved her first victory in LAAX earning 2500 US$. Katie Summerhayes (England) as 2nd and Kaya Turski (Canada), Slopestyle Winner 2009, as 3rd completed the podium.
Tomorrow the Halfpipe Finals will take place at the 5th European Freeski Open by Swatch. International Freeski Stars like Winter Dew Tour Winner Jossi Wells (NZL), X-Games Winners Simon Dumont (USA), Kevin Rolland und Xavier Bertoni (FRA) are looking forward to a perfectly shaped 160m long superpipe. Swiss girl Virginie Faivre hopes to continue her winning series catching her 5th victory in a row here in Laax.