On Saturday, August 25, The Garnier Fructis Australian Open 2007 concluded at Perisher Blue ski resort with the men’s and women’s semifinal and final halfpipe competitions taking place. US Olympians Kelly Clark and Andy Finch both rode away with top honors and $5000 in this year’s second event of the Burton Global Open Series.
The warm day made for challenging pipe conditions, causing course officials to revise the schedule and combine the semifinal and final competitions. The field of 16 female and 40 male semifinalists each took two runs, the top 8 women and 16 men were then given one additional run. Final results were based on the best run of the three.
Kelly Clark’s first run of the day impressed the judges with huge amplitude and clean rotations. Clark, a 2002 Olympic Gold Medalist, started out with a huge frontside air that was followed by an equally large method. She then spun a frontside 540, which was followed by a backside mute grab, after that a frontside 720 and she ended with a Cab 360. Her score for that run held off the competition for the remainder of semis and finals, as Kelly took first place in the women’s halfpipe. “The pipe was challenging,” said Clark, the current TTR ranking leader. “But, I knew what I wanted to do and landed my tricks on my first run. I was stoked to win, for sure.”
Andy Finch was equally as stoked with his second run, which landed him first place in the men’s halfpipe competition. Finch, an Olympian in the 2006 Games, began his run with an enormous Heave-Ho, followed by a front 1080, into a Cab 720, to a backside Alley-oop 360, and finished with an Alley-oop Rodeo 360. Finch was so secure with his run that he utilized his last drop for a victory lap of straight airs. “It felt good to win, but it felt even better to do those straight airs,” said Finch. “I had a great day, being out here with the boys was a blast. I’m super psyched right now!”
On Friday, August 24, the slopestyle semifinal and finals took place. For much of the day, fellow DC team riders, Torstein Horgmo and Chas Guldemond battled it out head to head. But edging out Horgmo with his last run of the day was Guldemond who started things off with a Cab 270 on 270 off the rail, followed by a frontside boardslide 270, Cab 540 melon, backside rodeo 540 on the step-up to a Cab 900 nose grab, finishing off with a monstrous backside 1260 nosegrab. “We’re good buddies, but the battle will continue,” said Guldemond of Horgmo. “I was fired up [that I won] that’s for sure.”
In the women’s event, 17 year-old Jamie Anderson won first place with a run that began with a boardslide on the rail, tailslide on the box, then spun a frontside 360 on the first hit, followed by a backside 180, into a Cab 540 melon grab, and finished with a frontside 180. “I felt like I was riding better in practice, but I still stuck all my landings during the competition,” said Anderson. “I was surprised but happy that I won. It’s great!”
With the Australian Open finished, it’s on to the inaugural Canadian Open, taking place from December 3-9 at CODA’s Canada Olympic Park. Currently, Mason Aguirre (USA) and Elizabeth Beerman (USA) are in the lead for the $100,000 Burton Global Open Series Championship title.
Friday was another picturesque day at Perisher Blue ski resort for the 3rd day of the Garnier Fructis Australian Open 2007. The morning started out with a Halfpipe Junior Jam hosted by the Dingo, a field of 10 boys and 3 girls dropped in, vying for trophies and Playstations. The boys went first, and it was the 13 year-old Canadian, Harrison Gray that won with a solid run that started with a killer front 9 melon, followed by a backside crail, frontside air, backside Japan air, back-to-back 5’s, finishing with an air to fakie. Australia’s own Lauren Staveley took first for the girls with a run that started off with an indy, followed by a method, into an indy, followed by a front 3, cab 3, and finished with an air to fakie. Attention then turned to the slopestyle course where the men’s Semi-Finals were just beginning to get underway.
The field of 42 men was to be boiled down to only 16 who would move on to the afternoon’s finals. The vibe was laid back at the top of the course, the guys were cheering and pumping each other up, learning new handshakes, and –oh yeah– seriously throwing down. Mason Aguirre sat in 3rd place going into the finals with a winning run that started with a frontside boardslide 270 on the rail, followed by a nosepress to tail tap to fakie on the box. Aguirre then landed a Cab 5 backside grab off the first kicker, to a front 3 shifty on the step-up, into a back 7 melon, and finished with a sick front 7 truck driver. At the end of Semis Chas Guldemond from Truckee, CA was in second place due to a solid run that started on the first rail with a switch 270 on 270 off, a boardslide 270 out on the box, followed by a crazy Cab off-axis 5, followed by a backside 5 rodeo, to a Cab 9, finishing with a HUGE back 7. But it was Torstein Horgmo out of Norway that took the top spot in the men’s Semi-Final Slopestyle competition with a switch boardslide 270 out followed by a Cab boardslide to fakie on the box. Torstein stuck a back 5 double grab off the first kicker, followed by a switch back 7 on the step-up, a switch back 9 and finished with a front 10 mute.
Australian Open Slopestyle 2007 runner up Jenny Jones
Photo: Jess Mooney
Then it was time for the ladies to take the course for Women’s Slopestyle Finals. Eleven women were charging hard and fighting for first, results were based on the best score of 3 runs. French Canadian Priscilla Levac put together a solid run on her first drop starting with a boardslide to fakie, followed by a tailslide to fakie on the box, stuck a lofty half Cab, straight-aired the step-up to gain speed for back to back 5’s on the last jumps. She was pleased with her run and decided to forgo her other two opportunities to impress the judges. Her gamble ended up paying off, as she ended up finishing 3rd and taking home $1500. Second place and $3000 went to Jenny Jones, defending champion of the NZO Slopestyle competition. UK’s Jones started with a boardslide on the rail, busted a tailslide to fakie on the box, followed by a half Cab, then landed a backside 3 on the step-up, front 3 mute and finished with a big frontside 5. Jamie Anderson started things off with a boardslide on the rail, tailslide on the box, spun a front 3 on the first hit, followed by a back 180, into a Cab 5 melon, and finished with a front 180. 17 year-old Anderson, from South Lake Tahoe nailed her run and earned herself a smooth $5000.
1 8 Jamie Anderson USA South Lake Tahoe SALOMON 87.25
2 11 Jenny Jones GBR Bristol SALOMON 85.75
3 25 Priscilla Levac CAN Whistler DC 75.75
4 32 Claudia Fliri AUT Kramsach VÖLKL 57.75
5 116 Ali Deane AUS Murrumbeena VONZIPPER 42.75
6 104 Elizabeth Beerman USA Weston GNU 35.75
7 2 Elena Hight USA Zephyr Cove BURTON 34.00
8 68 Gee Cormack AUS Sydney SDS 33.25
9 9 Leanne Pelosi CAN Whistler K2 31.50
10 88 Paulina Ligocka POL Cieszyn BURTON 25.50
11 105 Kimmie Gourlie CAN Fernie SEMANTICS 18.50
The remaining 16 men then assembled at the top of the course for the Men’s Finals. Andy Finch dropped first, who had been riding well all day. The competition was stiff; Louie Vito, Mason Aguirre, Drew Brighton and Logan Short were all putting together solid runs. However, 3rd prize and $1500 went to Burton rider Kazu Kokubo who started off by completely avoiding the first rail by spinning a 3 over it, he then boardslid to fakie on the box, stuck a switch back 5 off the first hit, pulled a back 5 melon off the step-up, busted a Cab 9 mute and finished with a big front 10 tailgrab. Torstein Horgmo, who had been leading the field all day, ended up finishing 2nd and taking home $3000. Horgmo started with a switch back tailslide 270 out, followed by a Cab 270 on 270 off the box, then a backside 5 indy, Cab 7 mute, switch backside 9 and finished with a frontside 9. But, edging out Horgmo with his last run of the day was Chas Guldemond who started things off with a Cab 270 on 270 off the rail, followed by a frontside boardslide 270, Cab 5 melon, backside rodeo 5 on the step-up to a Cab 9 nosegrab, finishing off with the most impressive trick of the day- a monstrous backside 12 nosegrab. Thanks to that run, Guldemond is going home to Truckee $5000 richer.
1 30 Chas Guldemond USA Truckee 1987 DC 96.00
2 23 Torstein Horgmo NOR Trondheim 1987 DC 92.00
3 28 Kazuhiro Kokubo JPN Tokyo 1988 BURTON 85.25
4 12 Andy Finch USA Truckee 1981 RIPCURL 82.25
5 5 Alessandro Boyens GER Saas fee 1981 STATIC 73.50
6 95 Logan Short CAN Whistler 1984 OAKLEY 72.00
7 7 Louie Vito USA Sandy 1988 O-MATIC 70.75
8 55 Mason Aguirre USA Bishop 1987 BURTON 69.25
9 54 Shayne Pospisil USA Manasquan 1985 BILLABONG 64.00
10 87 Jye Kearney AUS Jindabyne 1993 BURTON 61.25
11 4 Jake Koia NZE Arrowtown 1984 OAKLEY 60.75
12 35 Clint Allan AUS Berrara 1986 BILLABONG 59.50
13 232 Drew Brighton USA Park City 1988 HEAD 57.50
14 38 Mitch Brown NZE Mount Maunganui 1987 RIP CURL 57.00
15 34 Rudi Kroell AUT Mayrhofen 1980 ACG/NIKE 56.00
16 73 Michal Ligocki POL Cieszyn 1985 ROSSIGNOL 44.00
Immediately following the Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Finals was the invitational Big Air competition. The top 3 finishers from slopestyle advanced on, Dingo selected the rest of the 9 riders to join in a 45 minute judged jam session. Only a couple of ladies were hitting the gigantic 60 ft jump but Claudia Fliri from Austria impressed everyone with her 7’s. Claudia and Jenny Jones were battling it out head to head, but Fliri ended up winning a big check for $4000. The judges selected 3 of the 10 invited male riders for the finals, which were then rider judged. Aussie boy Robbie Walker ended up winning the Big Air and a big check for $9000.