Halfpipe superstars Kelly Clark (USA) and Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) won today’s Burton European Open halfpipe competition, adding another world-class title to their long list of career wins and giving the BEO’s largest halfpipe crowd ever a great show. Both Kelly and Peetu had tough competition in the finals, but their experience and skills paid off in the end, earning them valuable points towards both the BGOS and TTR titles and $15,000 cash each.
Kelly was celebrating her fourth Burton European Open title, an honor only two other riders (Natasza Zurek & Peetu Piiroinen) in BEO history share. “It’s great to win here again,” said Kelly. “I really enjoy the pipe at Laax because I get to push my riding and take it to a new level.”
Kelly’s endless push for progression was contagious in today’s women’s finals, and all the ladies really stepped it up. The original plan was for 20 women to start things off early this morning with halfpipe semi-finals. But fog and low visibility changed all that, so the riders, judges and event organizers decided to skip semis and head straight to finals, giving each of the girls just two runs to earn a spot on the BEO podium. Kelly wasted no time in taking the lead. Her first run won it for her and included a massive frontside 900, backside 540 mute grab, frontside 720 indy grab and a stylish Cab 720. Never satisfied to just sit back and take a mellow victory lap, Kelly took a big risk on her second run, attempting a 1080 on her first hit that she almost stomped. Queralt Castellet from Spain was hot on Kelly’s heels and came in second place with less than one point separating her and Kelly. Queralt’s run was fully loaded with style and technical difficulty. Like Kelly, Queralt started with a super difficult trick – a backside 900, followed by a frontside 540, backside 540 mute grab and ending things with a frontside 720. Yuki Furihata from Japan rounded out the women’s podium, earning third place with an impressive run that included an inverted frontside 720.
The clouds lifted for the men’s finals, and 10 riders had three runs to get their best score. For top halfpipe riders like Iouri, Kazu and Peetu, the first run of the finals ended up being throwaways. By run two, things started to heat up, with Iouri and Kazu putting together solid runs. But it was the riders’ third and final run that determined the podium in the end. At the start of run three, last year’s BEO halfpipe champion Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) was in last place, so he had to drop first. A pro at putting a run together under pressure, Peetu stepped up and stomped a run that put him into first place: a frontside 720 indy grab, Cab double cork 1080 mute grab, frontside air and backside 900 mute grab, ending things with an alley oop rodeo nose grab. After taking over the lead, Peetu had to sit back and see if the rest of the nine riders could top his score. Halfpipe stylemaster and two-time Olympian Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN), who was competing at the Burton European Open for the first time, came closest to beating Peetu. Kazu put together a super stylish run that included a beautiful frontside alley oop, frontside 900 melon grab, McTwist and back-to-back 1080s. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) took the last run of the finals and tried to shake up the podium, but unfortunately fell on his fourth hit and had to stick with his score from his second run.
Peetu has a habit of winning BEO titles, with today’s halfpipe win marking his fourth title at the event. But Peetu’s victory was a surprise to the humble Finn. “I am very surprised to win, I was not expecting this,” said Peetu. “Winning here is what every rider dreams about, although I believe that Ipod's run was much more technical than mine. In any case, the riding level here today was super high and the new guys coming up are really strong… I hope this doesn’t mean that I am getting old!”
After today’s BEO halfpipe finals, there were some big changes in the Swatch TTR World Tour rankings with Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) taking over the tour lead and Jamie Anderson holding on to the World No. 1 position.
With the 12th annual Burton European Open finished, Christian Haller (SUI) and Sina Candrian (SUI) now lead the Burton Global Open Series Championship rankings. Next stop for the Burton Global Open Series is the Canadian Open, taking place from February 1 – 6, 2011 at WinSport Canada’s Canada Olympic Park (COP) in Alberta, Canada.
2011 BEO Women’s Halfpipe Final Results
1. Kelly Clark (USA) BURTON 90.33: $15,000
2. Queralt Castellet (SPAIN) OAKLEY 89.17: $8,000
3. Yuki Furihata Yuki (JPN) BURTON 86.83: $4,000
2011 BEO Men’s Halfpipe Final Results
1. Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) NIKE 6.0 & BURTON 89.45: $15,000
2. Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) BURTON 86.10: $8,000
3. Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI) QUIKSILVER 85.45: $4,000
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