Day 2 - Halfpipe Qualification
Tuesday saw the second day of the Burton Australian Open go down at Perisher Blue Resort, where men’s and women’s halfpipe qualifications took place. Athletes from all over the world were vying for a coveted spot in Thursday’s semi-finals and a chance to grab a piece of the $50,000 AUD prize purse.
The men were first to drop into the pipe this morning under cloudy skies, where 14 men were boiled down to six. Sage Kotsenburg (USA) took the top spot in men’s halfpipe qualifications by putting down a solid run that started off with a frontside 900 melon into a backside 540 mute, followed by a frontside 720 indy, into a switch frontside 720 mute, finishing with a stylish melon to fakie. Aussies Scotty James, Samuel Murphy and Charlie Steinbacher, in addition to Chris Sörman (SWE) and Marco Grilc (SLO) advance on and will be competing against invited riders Mason Aguirre (USA), Danny Davis (USA) and Kevin Pearce (USA), among others.
1 Sage Kotsenburg USA QUIKSILVER 90.00
2 Chris Sörman SWE BURTON 85.17
3 Marko Grilc SLO BURTON 80.17
4 Scott James AUS --- 74.50
5 Samuel Murphy AUS --- 73.67
6 Charlie Steinbacher AUS FORUM 55.67
The women’s field was dominated by Paulina Ligocka (POL) who stuck an extremely strong run, outscoring her nearest competitor by over 20 points. Ligocka, riding in her first competition after an injury set her back last year, proved that she is still a force to be reckoned with. Her second run, which scored her a massive 89.17 points, started off with lofty frontside air, followed by a method air, into a 540 tailgrab, followed by a backside indy, finishing with a 720.
Joining Ligocka will be two Aussies, Erin Tanner and Lauren Staveley who advance on to Thursday’s semis and will take on the likes of NZO halfpipe winner Jamie Anderson (USA) and Olympic gold medalist, Hannah Teter (USA).
“The men and women’s halfpipe qualifiers showed a glimmer of brilliance with the inspired riding of Sage Kotsenburg of the US and young Scott James of Australia leading the way,” said Competition Director, Greg Johnson. “Paulina Ligocka showed that she is back in a big way by locking in the top spot, truly an outstanding effort.”
1 Paulina Ligocka POL BURTON 89.17
2 Erin Tanner AUS BILLABONG 68.33
3 Lauren Staveley AUS --- 47.83
Day 3 - Slopestyle Qualification
Heavy snow resulting in poor visibility tested competitors today during men’s and women’s slopestyle qualifications at Perisher Blue Resort. Riders from all over the world took on the inclement weather during day three of the Burton Australian Open to earn a place in Friday’s slopestyle finals, alongside some of the world’s best snowboarders including Mikkel Bang, Chas Guldemond, Torstein Horgmo, Mason Aguirre, Kimmy Fasani and Jamie Anderson.
The slopestyle course challenged riders with a variety of features including a down rail, battleship rail, three kickers and a wall ride. Top men’s qualifier, Eric Willett (USA) landed a solid run that started off a front lipslide 270 out on the down rail, followed by a 50/50 gap to front 180, 50/50 out on the battleship, into a switch backside 540 mute, followed by backside 720 melon, finishing with a frontside 900 tailgrab.
“Practice was nice yesterday, but the new snow today made the course really slow. It was definitely a challenge, but it was super fun, the course is really nice and the jumps were well built, said Eric Willett. “Speed was kind of an issue but hopefully it won’t be too bad for Friday’s finals.”
Joining Willett in Friday’s slopestyle finals are Jaako Ruha (FIN), Halldor Helgason (ICE), Andreas Monsberger (AUT) and Markus Malin (FIN), in addition to fellow American, Sage Kotsenburg, who placed first in yesterday’s halfpipe qualifications.
1 Eric Willett, USA, VANS, 69.33
2 Jaakko Ruha, FIN, KISSMARK, 66.00
3 Halldor Helgason, ICE, DC, 64.83
4 Markus Malin, FIN, BONFIRE, 64.00
5 Sage Kotsenburg, USA, QUIKSILVER, 62.83
6 Andreas Monsberger, AUT, K2, 61.83
Although the snow continued to fall, the ladies braved the elements and took to the course. Kara Rennie out of Canada earned the top spot for the women in slopestyle quals this afternoon with a run that started off with a 50/50 to backside lipslide on the down rail, followed by a huge straight air on the first kicker, followed by a tailgrab, finishing with another straight air. Laurie Currier and Ashley Wendorf, both out of the US will be competing in Friday’s finals against back-to-back slopestyle X-Games gold medalist and New Zealand Open slopestyle winner, Jamie Anderson.
1 Kara Rennie, CAN, NIKITA, 50.67
2 Laurie Currier, USA, OAKLEY, 46.67
3 Ashley Wendorf, USA, ---, 45.83
Tommorow will see the halfpipe semi's and finals ...