It's honestly like winter never really left. The first event of the Swatch TTR World Tour just invaded Whistler, BC over the first weekend of July and the riders already set the bar at a ridiculous level.
The 5Star Billabong Ante Up Big Air event saw what we all could expect to see - 1260s and double corks up the wazoo. With major talent like Chas Guldemond, Eric Willett, Seb Toots, and Seppe Smits all going for the win, the motivation to go big was apparent. Eric Willett ended up in the top spot, followed by Sebastien Toutant, and Dash Kamp in third.
Full TTR recap below:
Whistler, B.C. Canada, July 1, 2011: American rider, Eric Willett, took the first 5Star Big Air title of the 2011/12 TTR World Tour season at the second annual Billabong Ante Up competition held atop Whistler Mountain in Canada. The sun was hidden behind the clouds for most of the day, but riders put on a great performance for the crowd of spectators at the top of the mountain where Sebastien Toutant (CAN) came in a close second behind Willett and Dash Kamp (USA) took home third place.
The Ante Up started out with a qualifying round of 30 snowboarders in the early afternoon that was whittled down to 10 men for the finals. The start list was packed full of riders who are usually super consistent on big air kickers like Seppe Smits (BEL), Chas Guldemond (USA), Gjermund Braaten (NOR) and Roope Tonteri (FIN) but they just couldn't seem to put their landing gear down on the 90-foot gap jump. This opened the door for Eric Willett who took numerous podium spots at Big Air and Slopestyle competitions last season and for Sebastien Toutant who won the Ante Up last year. Eric Willett landed a smooth switch backside double cork 1260 to take $20,000 USD for his win today. Sebastien Toutant was awarded $12,500 USD for landing a Cab double cork 1260 and Dash Kamp walked away with a cool $8,000 for his backside double cork 1080.
Willett is already looking forward to the Southern Hemisphere leg of the tour and had this to say about his win: "I'm stoked. It's always weird to come out here in July and do a competition in the middle of summer, but it's really fun and crucial to come out for the start of the season and get those points especially with the new ranking system to get the big air points. I'm pumped to head down to New Zealand with this confidence booster."
All 32 riders who competed at the Ante Up earned ranking points that will count towards the all-new TTR Big Air Tour Ranking list and will also count towards the TTR Overall Tour Ranking list, as well.
With the 5Star Ante Up wrapped up and winter on the rise in the Southern Hemisphere, riders will soon make the trek down to New Zealand for the 5Star Burton New Zealand Open where the first slopestyle and halfpipe results will be registered for the TTR Slopestyle Tour Ranking list and the TTR Halfpipe Tour Ranking list. Riders will also have the opportunity to hit the 4Star Billabong Bro Down (ss), also taking place in New Zealand, and the 4Star Stylewars (ss) event going down in Australia. Keep up-to-date on all TTR World Snowboard Tour happenings at www.ttrworldtour.com.
Wet, soggy, and utterly terrible weather set the scene for the men's and women's slopestyle finals at the 6 star TTR Burton US Open at Stratton Mountain in Vermont.
The rain Gods took pleasure in relieving themselves all over the course today, making conditions slushy, mushy and sopping wet. Visibility was the biggest factor of the day with some riders opting to charge the course without goggles.
Speed was surprisingly not an issue, but the rain riddled course made simple transitions between features hard to navigate, which claimed several top riders early in the game.
This event marked the last TTR slopestyle event of the season, and buku bucks were on the line, so everyone soldiered on and tried to slay the course despite the slop.
Kicking things off were the women who suited up in Gor-Tex gear and took to the course. Kjersti Buaas, from Norway, was the first drop and set the bar for the ladies by proving she wasn't going down without a fight.
Buaas was a little squirrelly through the jumps, but managed to get her tricks around and scored a 74.5 which earned her fourth place.
Seventeen year old Silje Nordendal, also out of Norway, came out swinging and nabbed the third place spot for her technical rail tricks and boosty backside 180s.
This was the first big podium for the young ripper and she's definitely one to keep your eye on in the future.
Jamie Anderson, earned the overall TTR title based on her first place finish in slope semis yesterday, but had to settle for second place in finals today.
Anderson was keeping it cool and landed all of her runs, safely scooping up an extra $10,000 dollars for her finish today. Jamie walks away from Vermont a mellow $60,000 richer for her efforts today and throughout the season. Can you say baller?
Enni Rukajärvi of Finland snapped up the first place finish with a run that was smooth, solid, and technically advanced. She threw a massive cab 5 on the 'Bring It Home Daddy 'O Jump' at the bottom of the course that was super impressive and helped her earn a solid 86.5 making her the proud winner of $20,000.
Switching over to the men's side of things, the dudes were charging through the sloppy course, seemingly undeterred by the pissing rain.
Eric Willett of Breckenridge, Colorado was in it to win it and stomped a massive run that included a double underflip, a double cork, and backside 10. This run earned him a score of 90.4 which was a full three points higher than second place finisher, Mark McMorris.
The seventeen year Canadian sensation recently landed the first ever 1440 triple cork, forever etching himself into the ever evolving history of snowboarding. McMorris was smart not to try that behemoth of a trick today, but did bust out a cab double cork 10, which helped him earn a 87.80 and $10,000.
Rounding out the top three was Chas Guldemond who laid down a fiery third run despite the dismal conditions.
Guldemond came out of the gate in a fury and landed a run that consisted of a huge backside dub cork 10, and a menacing cab dub 10 on the bottom jump. The judges were far from generous with his score and only awarded Chas a 87.20.
There was lots of grumbling that this was super low for the caliber of the run, but Chas didn't seem to mind and was stoked to earn an extra $5,000 for his third place finish.
Today's contest marked the end of the slopestyle portion of this season's TTR series. Congrats to all the riders for coming out and sending it in the slush.
There's still lots of excitement to be had in both the Rail Jam and halfpipe sectors at the 29th Burton US Open in soggy Stratton, VT, so stay tuned- we'll bring you all the action.
Who said semi-finals were boring?
The 29th annual Burton US Open started firing today at Stratton Mountain, VT with chilly temps and icy conditions. Slopestyle heavy hitters dropped in on the course for semi-finals - with 10 men and 6 women advancing to finals, Friday March 11th.
The usual crowd wasn't seen in the men's results with 2011 TTR champ Peetu Piiroinen and current TTR second seed Seppe Smits not making the cut for finals. Apparently they already think they are winning at life and didn't feel the need to claim another contest. Also - Sage Kotsenburg failed to make it the contest due to food poisoning.
However, Eric Willett, Mark McMorris, and Chas Guldemond all brought their A-game and laid it down in the Green Mountain State. Willett qualified first with a prime first run made up of a 270 to boardslide, backside tailslide 450 out, Cab double cork 9, tailslide 270 out, frontside 9 tailgrab, and a switch backside double cork 1080.
The ladies semi-finals ended with a little bit more of a bang with Jamie Anderson clinching the TTR champ title once and for all by qualifying in first place. Anderson accumulated the most TTR points for the season - beating out halfpipe phenomenon Kelly Clark who had a small chance to nab the title depending on the outcome of the U.S. Open. The two are no doubt leading the pack in their respected disciplines, though, Jamie had one hell of a contest season and pulled it together for the win this time.
Spencer O' Brien, Silje Norendal, Enni Rukajarvi, Jordie Karlinski, and Kjersti Buaas will also be riding for the win in slope finals in a couple days.
Seems to be kicking off to an interesting start - halfpipe semi-finals will be going down tomorrow March 10. Stay tuned for more recaps and results.
Photo courtesy of Burton, Shem Roose
The third and final stop of the 2010-11 Winter Dew Tour went down under sunny skies at Snowbasin today and was capped off with banger slopestyle finals. The setup was looking better than ever and the riders were putting it all on the table with the finals stock full of double cork spins.
With the tour leader, Torstein Horgmo, dropping last for the second run, the competition was kicked up a notch. Eric Willett slayed the course and stomped everything with style - nailing a solid switch back 12 double cork to front 10 double cork to score a 97.25. That immediately threw him to the top spot and it was a chase after Willett from there on out. Mark McMorris also pulled out a killer run to place second with spins and gaps on the jibs paired with a double cork 10 and 12. It seems as though the 1260 is the new method - everyone's got their own.
Last to attack the slopestyle course was your favorite Norwegian, Torstein Horgmo. Sitting in tenth place prior to his second run, his work was undoubtedly cut out for him but he delivered as usual. Horgmo had style and variation however, had a few slip ups that couldn't get him the number one spot, finishing up in the third place position. What's third place when you're the Dew Tour champ, though? He scored enough points to secure his title and he was stoked.
On the ladies side, 34-year-old veteran competitor Janna Weatherby earned a 96.00 knocking out the young guns that have been dominating. Her winning run was polished with a cab 540, backside 3, and numerous 50-50s on the rails. Dew Tour leader and slopestyle buff Jamie Anderson came in close behind Weatherby with a 95.00 which ultimately held her lead and won her second consecutive Winter Dew Tour Slopestyle Champ title. Third place went to Canadian Spencer O'Brien who was riding well the entire contest with a 91.75.
This concluding Dew Tour event without a doubt showcased the impressive level of riding that the competitors are at and also how massive the pool of talent actually is. Congratulations to the winners - see you next year.
Have you ever wondered what it feels like to slay the slopestyle course or boost off the big air booter at the Winter X Games? Of course we all have, but will we ever actually get to feel those intense feelings? The answer is probably not, unless we're an up and coming grom or a seasoned pro that's been there and done that.
If those scenarios don't quite fit your life, then there's still hope for you to feel those feelings. Eric Willett from Breckenridge, Colorado takes you as close to the X Games course as possible. He straps on a Go Pro camera and sends it over the massive jumps and creases the most difficult rails, all while filming himself and putting you into the action.
Check out the videos of Eric stomping the course and putting down bangers on the Big Air jump. If these videos don't get you amped to ride, then maybe you should pick up a new hobby.
Slope course with Eric Willett
Big Air Booter with Eric Willett.