By Nick Lipton – Snow and wind crippled the Snowboard Slopestyle Open Qualifier today, but before nature’s turn for the worst Iceland’s Halldór Helgason squeezed in a doublecork 1080 during the days most memorable run. Halldór’s run took first place while an international smorgasbord of snowboarders snatched up the remaining prelim spots.
A windless and mostly clear morning gave way to a small scale blizzard just in time for round two. Many of the prelim qualifiers took advantage of the early morning calm, but Marius Otterstad and Tim Humphreys did their dirt during the worst of it. While Tim landed himself in 5th place for big spins and solid rail skills, his first run score of 8.67 had announcer Preston Strout laughing. To add to the laughter Marius Otterstad (9th place) landed four Rodeo’s off three jumps. Do the math, Marius landed a double Rodeo off the third jump, a trick he, “…just learned.” The prior Rodeos were backside and switch backside, not the easiest combo when the snow is flying sideways.
Ian Thorley Hitting The Big Kicker
Stef Zeestraten and Nick Julius qualified for the prelim in 2nd and 3rd respectively. Nick’s second run ended miserably, but he locked into a memorable front board coming into the course, and landed a terrifyingly tall double-grab Rodeo over the first jump. Nick’s Rodeo could have been in slow-motion, it was a thing of beauty.
Superstar Heikki Sorsa landed in 4th, even after turning his second run into a joke. The Finnish talent linked switch backside nine, frontside seven, backside nine in his first run, but hazardous conditions turned his second run into a rouge adventure both on and off the course, laughter ensued.
Jason Dubois Slope OQ
Ulrik Badertscher came in 6th, even though he only took one run. Ulrik had 6th sealed by his second run, and having watched countless weather related slams Ulrik decided to go joy riding rather than risk injury.
Hometown hero Nate Kern will be riding in tomorrow’s prelims. Nate’s the only Breckenridge loc’ to place, although local boy Jake Black didn’t do too shabby finishing in 13th place, seven spots ahead of Omatic Pro/Breckenridge Team Rider Josh Sherman.
Sage Kostenburg Over The Toyota Truck
While these nine are sure to compete in tomorrow’s prelim, Australian heart throb Robbie Walker (10th) and Park City’s Sage Kotsenburg (11th) could also qualify if any pre-qualified riders were to ditch out on the Dew.
Not competing tomorrow, Seth Hill had his bell rung real well after coming up five feet short during an especially windy moment of competition. Ian “Double Flip” Thorley completed a full run during the worst of the storm, ironic considering a botched first run switch Rodeo had Ian’s limp body sliding down a jump landing. Two of tomorrow’s pre-qualified riders, Andreas Wigg and Torstein Horgmo, took practice runs during the Open Qualifier, wait for the insane trick lists those two come up with.
Ian Thorley Gap To Rail
Tomorrow the dozen or so pre-qualified athletes, including Mason Aguirre, Mikkel Bang and Chaz Guldemond, will battle it out with today’s qualifiers for the few spots available in Sunday’s final. Tomorrow the weather should be improved, the course should be faster, and the level of riding should be incomprehensible.
Snowboard Slopstyle Top 12
1) Halldór Helgason
2) Stef Zeestraten
3) Nick julius
4) Heikki Sorsa
5) Tim Humphreys
6) Ulrik Badertscher
7) Seppe Smits
8) Nate Kern
9) Marius Otterstad
10) Robbie Walker
11) Sage Kotsenburg
12) Jason Dubois