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 . world ski news
23 March 2011 - 19:22
Louie Vito Wins Men`s Snowboard SuperPipe, Sarah Burke wins WXE Women`s Ski SuperPipe
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Jamie Anderson wins WXE Snowboard Slopestyle

WINTER X GAMES EUROPE. The weather gods smiled on Women's Snowboard Slopestyle Friday morning, blessing the ladies with the first sunny sky seen in a competition at 2011 Winter X Europe. In what appears to be either a French tradition, or maybe even a European one, spectators armed with wine and baguettes lined the hill next to the slope course to cheer on one of the most exciting women's slopestyle competitions we've seen in a long time.


The clouds parted for Jamie Anderson's winning run (Photo: Vianney Tisseau/ESPN Images)

We counted five 720s and one backside 9 in Friday's comp. Silver medal winner Silje Norendal's 720 was a frontside rodeo, clean and, if I may editorialize for a bit here, awesome. Bronze medalist Enni Rukajärvi pulled a cab 7.

Defending gold medalist Jenny Jones also pulled a front 7, but she came into the comp with an injury sustained in practice at the U.S. Open last week and couldn't quite hold it together for an entire run. She came in eighth place, but her British fan base at the bottom of the course didn't care. On the applause meter, she scored gold.

In the end it was the ever-stylish Jamie Anderson who came out on top. Anderson's run didn't include a 720, but it did include a super solid line through the jib section and what is now becoming her trademark trick: the switch backside 540. In the end, it's her style and consistency through the slope course that puts her at the top of the podium again and again. She just looks comfortable. It's a pleasure to watch.

"The riding today was so great. The girls were all riding so good," said Anderson. "I was so stoked it really inspired me. I wanted to do some bigger runs but unfortunately I couldn't get my back 5 down, but I landed my mellower run first and it ended up scoring well, so I think maybe just having clean style all the way through is what worked for me today. I'm tired, I'm excited to go rest from contests for a little bit."

By Melissa Larsen
ESPN Action Sports
March 18, 2011, 4:49 PM ET

***

Chas Guldemond wins Winter X Europe Slope

On a day that finally saw blue skies after nearly a week of stormy, sticky weather, the men of snowboard slopestyle were actually able to see where they were going on a course that has been the cause of much consternation throughout the event. Deciding collectively that the weather and course conditions were not conducive to the kind of high-level riding that they have come to expect from themselves and each other, the slopestyle competitors chose to forgo the elimination round Thursday in favor of a "super final" Friday.


We Are Snowboarding mastermind Chas Guldemond on his way to posting the highest score ever in Winter X slope (Photo: Vianney Tisseau/ESPN Images)

Finals usually run with eight riders getting three runs each. Instead all 23 snowboarders got two chances to go for Winter X Gold.

"I think it worked out really well, and I'm proud of the riders for making that decision," said Chas Guldemond, who captured the gold medal. "We only had two runs, but at least everybody didn't get knocked out yesterday because the weather was bad. It gave everybody the chance to put down their best run."

Guldemond's best run ended up earning him the highest score any slope rider in any X event has ever earned: a 99.33 for a backside 270 on the down rail to double back rodeo to cab 270 to back lip fakie to a cab double cork 12 and back double 10 over the last two kickers.

Until Guldemond's second run, Winter X 15 gold medalist Sebastien Toutant had been sitting in what seemed like an untouchable first place. His back lip to frontside 10 double cork to front board 450 out to cab 270 to fakie to cab 9 double cork and back 10 double cork earned him a score of 98 -- one point higher than the record breaking 97 he earned in the qualifiers at Winter X 15.

"Honestly, I don't know what to say," Guldemond said. "Both Eric [Willet] and I didn't think it was possible to beat a 98. I'm so stoked."

Toutant was gracious in defeat. "The course was really tricky. Nobody really tried anything in practice, but as soon as the contest started it was insane," he said. "I'm stoked. I didn't ever think I could put that run down."

"It's awesome to see that we can still progress even when the courses aren't top notch," said Eric Willett, the Winter X 2010 gold medalist who came in third this time around. "I'm happy we put on a good show and everyone threw down."

By Melissa Larsen
ESPN Action Sports
March 18, 2011, 7:27 PM ET

***

Sarah Burke wins WXE Women's Ski SuperPipe

At the top of her third and final run in Friday's Women's Ski Superpipe at Winter X Europe, Canadian Sarah Burke called her dad. "I was a little nervous," said Burke, who was in sixth place after her second run. "So I called him and he said, 'You can do it.'"


Top thee in Women's Ski Superpipe: Sarah Burke, Anais Caradeux, Devin Logan (Photo: Megan Michelson/ESPN Images)

Sure enough, she did. On her last run, she stuck a cork 900 and an alley-oop flatspin 540, the latter of which was landed for the first time in a women's ski pipe contest. The run earned her a score of 95.33, the highest women's skiing SuperPipe score at an X event, and the gold medal -- her fifth gold at an X SuperPipe event, including her win at WX15 in Aspen. After hearing her winning score, she called her dad to tell him the good news.

This certainly isn't the first time in Burke's decorated freeskiing career that she's put down a run with new and progressive tricks. "That alley-oop flatspin 5 is a standard trick for the men," judge Evan Raps said. "But we've never seen it in a women's run before. Sarah had a sick run -- and you know she has more than that, too."

But Burke won't take the credit for pushing women's freeskiing forward. "I'm just doing it for myself," she said. "It makes me happy."

France's Anais Caradeux battled through binding issues to land a second-place score of 93.00 with a run that included a 900, a 720 and spins in both directions. American Devin Logan, who broke her hand in the Women's Slopestyle finals on Wednesday and skied the pipe finals with her hand duct taped to her pole, earned third for a run that had a right flair, a leftside 540 tail grab and a 720. "My hand hurts," Logan said. "But when I dropped into the pipe, the adrenaline just took over."

The Women's Superpipe field was plagued by injuries before the contest began. Winter X Europe defending pipe champ Jen Hudak pulled out of the competition due to a dislocated shoulder and knee injury sustained during training Tuesday night, and WX15 silver medalist Brita Sigourney broke her collarbone in four places during training on Wednesday night.

By Megan Michelson
ESPN Action Sports
March 18, 2011, 7:34 PM ET

***

Louie Vito Wins Men's Snowboard SuperPipe

If you ever want to hear an expressive crowd of SuperPipe fans, watch an event at Tignes, France. With every hit of Friday night's final event of the Winter X Games Europe, something between a roar and a sigh went up from the crowd of more than 22,000 people. Even during the first of the rider's three runs, which was effectively nullified by that weird twilight hour that renders the pipe walls invisible, the crowd would not be subdued.

Defending Winter X Europe gold medalist Iouri Podladtchikov was one of the few riders able to hold down a solid first run, throwing down a textbook cab doublecork 1080 to frontside inverted 540 to backside double McTwist 1260 to frontside double cork 1080, finishing up with a switch air to regular.

Podladtchikov declared that he wanted to throw the same run, but do it bigger. And that's what he did for his second run, executing his tricks to near perfection and moving into first place with a score of 90.33.

Then along came Louie Vito. Vito threw a double crippler to Michalchuk to frontside double cork 1080 to cab double cork 1080 to frontside 1080, moving him into first place with a 93.00 score. Vito has included three doubles in his runs for a while now, but Friday night he boosted them just a little bit higher. "I've always had the technical tricks, but haven't had the amplitude," he said, "so I've been working on that. Last year I didn't go as big, and it showed in my score."

Podladtchikov bobbled on his last run, but still received his highest score of the night. Unfortunately, it was not enough to overcome Vito, and Podladtchikov ended the night in second place.

"That was the best run I did all season," said a confused Podladtchikov of his second run, adding with a shrug of the shoulders that he didn't understand how his third run had scored higher. "Of course it's nicer to win gold, but I'm still very excited about today because it was probably the most fun day in my season. Everything worked today and it was a really fun pipe."

"I thought the pipe was good; the riding was great," agreed Vito, who was all smiles after the last rider dropped and his winning score held the top spot. "It's great. This is my first X Games gold medal. So, obviously, I'm stoked."

Equally as stoked was bronze medalist Christian Haller. He stood at the bottom of the halfpipe after his third run (frontside 1080, cab 1080, frontside 900, backside 540, frontside double cork 1080) landed him in third place, shaking his head when anyone congratulated him and naming all the men left to drop who could beat him out of a podium spot.

In the end, no one could. As the cameras descended on Vito, he stood off to the side, looking at the scoreboard with a smile.

ESPN Action Sports
March 18, 2011, 7:15 PM ET


 
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Next:
Jacobellis and Vaultier top qualifiers in 1st sbx of the season`s finals – 24 March 2011 - 11:33
Bulgarian Alex Jekova and US Seth Wescott triumph in Arosa`s first Snowboard Cross – 24 March 2011 - 15:20
Jekova and Pullin victorious in season`s last sbx – 25 March 2011 - 21:16
Queralt Castellet and Iouri Podladtchikov win last snowboard halfpipe event – 27 March 2011 - 10:34
Maegert-Kohli and Prommegger on top of season`s last parallel race – 28 March 2011 - 13:48

Previous:
Clark and Houle Shine Through Difficult Riding Conditions – 23 March 2011 - 19:13
Kaya Turski and Kevin Rolland Win Back-To-Back Winter X Europe Gold – 23 March 2011 - 19:07
Skiers Helping Japan – 22 March 2011 - 15:17
Freeride World Champions Crowned at the Nissan Xtreme Verbier 2011 by Swatch – 20 March 2011 - 18:00
Marit Bjoergen and Petter Northug triumphs at World Cup Final 2011 in Falun – 20 March 2011 - 17:24

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