Freestyle.ch finished this afternoon with Sammy Carlson as the new champion, and once again it was a day of jaw-dropping action. Before we get onto that though, apologies for this belated update, we had to leg it straight after the finals to catch a plane. In fact as I write, photographer, Pally Learmond is snoring in the seat beside me, and by the looks of it dribbling slightly on the woman next to him (I should probably do something about that, but I think it will be more amusing to leave him to it).
Anyway, it’s been the longest day of a long weekend for the riders, but somehow they have continued to push the level. It all started around 2 o’clock, in fact this being Switzerland, I can tell you that it all started at exactly 2.15 as scheduled. The eight qualified riders were to get 4 runs; 2 ‘style’ runs and 2 ‘tech’ runs, with the best of each counting. Riders were free to choose in what order they did their runs, which kept it fresh for the crowd, with double cork 10’s being mixed up with floaty 5’s.
Once again the judges had their work cut out, and it looked like it might take a few crashes in order to pick the top 4 for the final. As it happened there was the odd crash, most surprisingly from TJ (guttingly I had my money on him to win the event), who seemed to be struggling to hold his double cork, we wondered if the fact that this was the first time he’d ridden the kicker in the heat of the day may have played a part in this. Meanwhile Laurent Favre was sticking to his guns, refusing to follow the crowd with all that double cork stuff, and once again pulling out his switch 7 screamin’ semen grab with a nifty shifty at the end just to drive home the already obvious fact that this was indeed a ‘tech’ trick. However on this day Laurent’s insane trickery just couldn’t stand up to the double cork-double grabs that were being thrown down by the top riders. Fredricsson’s corked 10 (which was a thing of beauty by the way) also couldn’t stand up to the double cork onslaught. The fourth rider to be knocked out was Tom Wallisch who had been killing it all weekend, today being no exception, only the other riders were (from the judges point of view), obviously killing it slightly more.
It was good to see big air guru Jon Olsson in the final. This was, he told us, the first time he had done double corks at a city comp…he didn’t really know why, and when pushed for a reason, his response was, “I guess I’m just a big pussy” after which he flew down the run-in and launched a double cork 10 safety to japan. Errrr… yes Jon, we all think you’re a massive pussy! Anyway I won’t bore you with the details of the rest of the semi, but as we went into the finals, everyone agreed the victor wasn’t really obvious, and in fact anyone could have taken it.
The superfinal was a little different to the preceding rounds, with each rider getting only two jumps, both of them in the tech category. Jon started off proceedings with a double cork 10 safety, that had so much style we had to check that this was actually a tech run, and which he also absolutely nailed. Next up Elias Ambühl (who incidentally is someone you wanna watch out for. This kid is a serious contender and has improved unbelievably in the last year) with a switch double cork 10 double mute – are you following this? And before you ask, yes freestyle skiing has gone completely insane.
Next was Andreas Hatveit who threw down a (by now common-place) double cork 10 double mute, and we all looked back up at Sammy Carlson, wondering what kind of shit he was going to pull out of the bag if he was going to take the title…sure enough there was no disappointment. Double corked 10 with a mute that he boned, not once, but twice (once on each cork), and then stomped halfway down the landing. We all waited in bewildered silence… the comp had gotten out of hand, and by now the crowd were under the impression that a double cork was just a pretty standard trick, and anything else was to be met with at best nonchalance, and at worst outright derision.
The second round didn’t really throw up any surprises, Jon pulled out a double cork truck-driver, Elias held his grab for longer, and Andreas pulled out another double cork 10 double grab, but no-one managed to knock Sammy off the top spot. This left him to do a victory lap and a floaty flat 5, which was a good thing, because all the spinning was starting to make people nauseous. At this point, as previously mentioned, we legged it.
As always, Freestyle.ch has set the bench mark for the season, so don’t even think about entering a comp this year unless you can double cork, or want to come up with some grab that will endanger your sex life. Incidentally, in case you hadn’t heard, a snowboarder by the name of Louri Podladtchikov took the Crossover title. Right it looks like we’re coming into land, any minute now that woman’s going to notice the pool of saliva that Pally has kindly left on her shoulder – this is going to be awesome!
More freestyle-ch Ski >>
1 Carlson, Sammy USA 186.25
2 Ambühl, Elias SUI 173.75
3 Hatveit, Andreas NOR 170.75
4 Olsson, Jon SWE 168.75
5 Wallisch, Tom USA 168.00
6 Fredricsson, Fridtjof NOR 160.50
7 Favre, Laurent FRA 153.00
8 Schiller, TJ CAN 100.75
1 Carlson Sammy USA 95.50
2 Ambühl Elias SUI 94.50
3 Hatveit Andreas NOR 91.50
4 Olsson Jon SWE 85.25