The pick of the crop of freeskiers braved the rainy weather conditions for the seventh edition of the Grandvalira Total Fight Masters of Freestyle, southern Europe’s most exciting Freestyle event. All the skiers showed off their incredible skill on the El Tarter snowpark slopestyle, but it was the Finnish rider, Kalle Leinonen, who grabbed the crown with a Switch Bio 9 Critical on the big air, followed by Rodeo 5 critical to japan on the transfer and finished off with a Switch Unnatural 7 Mute, making him the undisputed winner of the competition.
Spirits were high amongst the crowds of locals and ski fanatics who made their way up to the park after a heavy night of partying to the sounds of the San Miguel Night Music Total Fight concert the night before. The spectators cheered and showed their unwavering support to the riders hailing from countries such as Finland, Austria, Andorra, and Spain. Leinonen was accompanied on the podium by fellow finn Verneri Hannula in second place and local Andorran Albert Martinez in third place.
Amazing Park, amazing tricks:
In the last few weeks, the Coliflor Freestyle team of shapers have been working day and night to create the spectacular lines that are now such a customary feature of the Total Fight. The 47 riders who signed up to the competition this year had a choice of 2 lines, the first, the Big Jump, was by far the hardest line with a 20 metre Big Jump, followed by a very technical 18-metre transfer and polished off by a rail. The second and central line was both spectacular and technical, combining big jumps with jibbing. The line started at the level of the half pipe, although the latter wasn’t visible since the shapers filled it with snow for the competition and instead it became a spectacular gap to box. Next on the line was a stunner of a kicker, all of 16 metres, but it didn’t quite do justice to the all imposing kicker that followed it, a monster that kicked the riders up into the air and allowed them to pull their best tricks. This impressive run was finished by another 16-metre kicker and finally a gnarly, technical rail.
The freeskiers really had to pull out all the stops since their chances of getting into the final depended on the quality and creativity of their tricks. After only two rounds, the judges picked the 13 best riders to go onto the next phase. Those picked were: Finn Kalle Leinonen, Spaniard Jaume Puigdengoles, Andorran Scotty Arnold, Andorran Albert Martinez, Austrian Flo Wieser, Spaniard Borja Fernández, Finn Verneri Hannula, Austrian Tobias Gratz, Andorran Toni Riberaigua, Frenchman Hugo Can, Spaniard Pello Osoro, Swiss Manuel Manka and finally the Spaniard Marcos Parera.
A breathtaking final
Nerves were starting to fray as the last remaining riders fought it out tooth and nail for the title of master of Freestyle. The quality and level of riding reached astounding levels in the last parts of the competition, but it was clear from early on that Kalle Leinonen would be crowned winner. With consistently impressive tricks landed to perfection, Leinonen was steadily winning the hearts of the judges and the public, who followed his every line with oooh’s and aahhh’s. Meanwhile fellow finn Verneri Hannula gave Leinonen a good run for his money, but couldn’t quite beat his winning run: Switch Bio 9 Critical on the Big Air, followed by a Rodeo 5 critical to japan on the transfer and finished with Switch Unnatural 7 Mute.
FINAL CLASSIFICATION TOTAL FIGHT 2011 SKI
1 – Kalle Leinonen (FIN – 4Front)
2 – Verneri Hannula (FIN – Atomic)
3 – Albert Martínez (AND – )
4 – Toni Riberaigua (AND – Head)
5 – Jaume Puigdengoles (SPAIN – Grandvalira)
6 – Scotty Jordan (AND – Atomic)
7 – Flo Wieser (AUT – Völkl)
8 – Tobias Gratz (AUT – Atomic)
9 – Borja Fernández (SPAIN – Salomon)
10 – Marcos Parera (SPAIN – Atomic)
11 – Pello Osoro (SPAIN – Armada)
12 – Hugo Can (FRA – )
13 – Manuel Manka (SUI – Völkl)