Words: T Bird
Photos: Adam Moran
Captions: Pat Bridges
Before we get into all this snowboarding stuff that I’m sure you clicked to this page to read, let me start off by stating one overriding and paramount theme that I will be referencing throughout my tenure across the pond. I love Europe. I mean, I fucking LOVE Europe. The coffee, the food, the locals, the culture, it’s just so refreshing. It’s as if everyone over here is just enough disconnected to truly enjoy the fine fruits of what lay in front of them. And this isn’t pointed directly toward any single aspect of everyday life. It’s just a general statement. And the on-hill. Oh, the on-hill. I’ve never seen a general assembly of human beings who truly appreciate the alpine culture. Want a beer before 10 o’clock in the morning? Drink one. Wanna smoke on the chairlift? Light it up. Do you desire to snowboard in nothing but pants and a CamelBak full of piping hot alcoholic cider? By all means sir, go ahead. There’s just something about this place, well, many things about this place, that make it so very enjoyable. But I digress.
The 2011 European Open slopestyle went down today, and it was one of the most enjoyable slope contests I’ve had the pleasure of watching (and this only partly because we were in Europe). The women went first, with six chicks advancing on to the finals to stand atop an innovative course containing a stairset jib with a box and a rail hugging its sides, a metal ball jib for handplanting, bonking, or airing over, a metal pipe set atop a banked wall, a matching down-flat-down box and rail into a quarterpipe, and yes, there was a jump line too. Three of them. And they got progressively bigger, as most of them do in contests like these. The six women got after it all morning, but in the end, three prevailed to hoist massive, oversized European trophies over their heads at the day’s end. Aspen/Snowmass’s Jordie Karlinski is the first I will mention. She got third, and rode impressively. Linking the rail section into the jump line, her riding spoke beyond her age, and she garnered her first major TTR podium. Second place went to Swiss rider Sina Candrian (for the third year in a row, mind you). Her front seven on the final booter (I hate the word “booter”) was deemed the best trick of the day from the women’s field and there’s no way I would disagree with that. Had she pulled out “the 9” I’m sure she would’ve taken the top spot away from…………
Jamie Anderson. Surprise, surprise. Possibly the most consistent contest-riding female who has ever lived put down a run that couldn’t be topped. Back three, front three, back 180; that’s all it took, though style, fluidity and consistency put her over the top.
And on to the men…
Ten finalists strapped in above the exact same course as the women, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t one of the more impressive displays of contest riding I’ve seen in my years as a snowboard enthusiast, and more currently, as a hack writer. Christian Haller, Roger Kleivdal, Sven Thorgren, and a slew of other Euros (whom I like even more now because they’re European) rode well, but didn’t have what it took to crack the top three. Of note is that North American contest cyborgs (not robots. Machines covered in human flesh) Mark McMorris and Sebastién Toutant fell on all three of their runs (seriously, they did) and failed to podium. Quite unusual, if I do say so myself. However, Granite State native Chas Guldemond garnered his third top three in as many contest appearances this season with a third place finish that involved two double corks and a 1260. He spun more than a mildly pudgy Portland hipster on an exercise bike. It was dizzying, but when the snow settled, Chas got third place. Coppertone coverboy Peetu Piiroinen was looking to repeat his dominance here last year (he won both the slope and pipe events), but came up one spot short, though his run contained a back rodeo nine, a double cork back ten, and a slew of rail tricks above the jump line. Peetu is good, there’s no arguing that, but not as good today as………
Roope Tonteri. I know, right? Who the shit is that? Well, he’s a Euro (and I was pleased that a Euro won, because I LOVE Euros). Technically, he’s Scandanavian, but I’m considering them as such. This kid came out of nowhere and put down one of the most amazing slope runs I’ve ever witnessed. I’d mention his rail tricks, but it was his jump line that left me relatively speechless. Cab nine, double cork back twelve, and Cab 1440. Seriously. I know some of you are sitting at home wondering how in the hell a 1440 can look good, but this one did. I swear. Somehow, it didn’t look forced, and it was insane. Also of note is the fact that the judges awarded him the three best tricks of the day. Yes, his jump tricks. In the end, he beat Peetu by less that a point and sprayed champagne all over the damn place at the awards ceremony. Did you know that in Europe, they even give champagne (not the non-alcoholic bubbly garbage) to the under 21 year olds? Yes, that’s right, because in Europe, the drinking age is 18-ish. God, I love Europe. Stay tuned for pipe finals tomorrow. I’m gonna go aprés. God, the après is good here.