The first round of qualifying is wrapped up, and the results are in. Skiunion was on hand to witness the whole schabang, and all of us are in agreement on one thing – thank fook none of us are judges!
As always Freestyle.CH marks the beginning of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season, and it is generally a good place to get a feel for what the riders have been working on over the summer, and it looks like double corks have been high on most riders priorities, with the possible exception of Lolo Favre, who showed off his own unique talents – but we’ll get to that later.
After an hour or so of warm up while the motocross and skate boys did their thing it was time for the skiers to entertain the now massive crowd that had gathered on the side of Lake Zurich. The comp has one of the best formats around for a big air, with riders getting two runs, one for style and one for technicality, before a final jump, in which they can improve on one of their two first attempts. The great thing about this format is the crowd get a lot more variety than your standard big air, and more to the point it gives the judges an easier time as well, which they needed, because the level here was ridiculous (to be honest we found it pretty hard separating the top 6 or 7 let alone the top 4).
First up, the style round. Local boy, Andri Ambühl kicked proceedings off with a text-book switch 7 octo. If you had to sum this round up in a word, it would probably be steez. Underflips, flat spins, corks, and rodeos were all thrown down, accompanied with various grabs. TJ pulled his bow and arrow like he was shooting for the moon, Hatveit pretty much pulled his ski off with a nose grab, Russ Henshaw grabbed his double japan like a ninja, and… well watch the video and you’ll get the idea.
On to the tech round, and here double corks rained from the skies. Elias Ambühl impressed the judges with his switch double cork 10, and TJ’s double cork was faultless. In fact, from where I was standing (about 5 ft from the kicker) it was all pretty much faultless. The final round, a mixture of style and tech, saw the riders improve on their previous jumps. Andri mixed it up with a switch 12, and Laurent Favre pulled a ridiculous switch cork 7 with one of his freaky screamin’ semen grabs (is it called the death grab? If it isn’t it bloody should be!) with a tasty shifty to round it off. In the end it seemed that the judges felt his grab made up for the lack of spin over the other riders and he bagged the 4th qualifying spot. As in all comps some viewed the judges decision as controversial – should a tech grab beat a tech spin? The answer can never be clear, but at the end of the day, can anyone else but Lolo do that kind of shit..? I’m sure they’ll be plenty of opinions here.
So that’s it for the first qualifying round. We’ll be back tomorrow with the second qualifier, catch you then.
More freestyle-ch Ski >>
1 Schiller, TJ ( CAN) 156.00
2 Hatveit, Andreas (NOR) 150.00
3 Ambühl, Elias (SUI) 148.25
4 Favre, Laurent (FRA) 147.50
5 Harlaut, Henrik (SWE) 142.75
6 Brown, Bobby (USA) 139.75
7 Henshaw, Russell (AUS) 133.75
8 Ambühl, Andri (SUI) 133.50
9 Misof, Martin (AUT) 114.50
10 West, Colby (USA) 114.25
For more info see www.freestyle.ch