Keith Stubbs from the Toyota Big Air in Sapporo

Tue 01 March 11

Last Saturday was the 15th annual Toyota Big Air in Sapporo, Japan. The likes of Sebastian Totaunt, Chas Guldemond and Peetu Piiroinen featured in a stellar lineup, and WSG writer Keith Stubbs and videographer Sam Lynch saw it unfold

Keith Stubbs from the Toyota Big Air in Sapporo

Keith Stubbs from the Toyota Big Air in Sapporo © Photo: Keith Stubbs

An epic end to a fun road trip…

Last Saturday was the 15th annual Toyota Big Air in Sapporo, Japan. Myself and videographer Sam Lynch scored a few press passes for the event, and managed to squeeze it in on the last night of our Hokkaido road trip.

Now I understand why so many Japanese big air comps make it in to snowboard movies (‘The White Album’ and ‘91 Words for Snow’, to name two). The fans get so into it, it’s unreal. The front rows fill up with screaming teenage girls like it’s a Miley Cirus concert. Combine that with Japanese hip hop artists, impressive fireworks, some pretty funny in-between entertainment features, and a selection of the best riders in the world… need I say more?

top of the stand, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
top of the stand, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

This year’s Toyota Big Air went off massively. It was a clear, cold night, so the in-run was fast and riders were landing really deep – definitely a contrast to last year’s comp where the falling slushy snow made it hard to reach the knuckle and you needed knee-length gum boots to stop your feet from getting soaked.

Two Japanese rider’s made it through to the quarters, up against some of the biggest names on the TTR tour. Young guns like Sebastian Totaunt, Gjermund Bratten and Mark McMorris were out to prove themselves against the likes of Chas Guldemond and last year’s winner Peetu Piiroinen.

Seb Toots double cork in the finals, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Seb Toots double cork in the finals, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

The doubles started coming out in the quarters with Seb Toots absolutely stomping his double backside rodeos. McMorris had the doubles going on as well and knocked out local rider Keito Kumazaki with a nice back-10 double cork against Kumazaki’s switch double roadys – a little controversial possibly???

The quarters also saw a few flat spins, with Seppe Smitts throwing back-10s and Chas killing it with his backside 1260s. Guldemond vs Pironian was definitely the big match up, but Chas’ back-12s were too much for Peetu’s double cork 10s, knocking last year’s winner out a bit earlier than expected.

Chas continued all the way to the finals with his 1260s, stomping every single one like he had legs of steel. He met Seb Toots in the final and continued to dominate, even attempting a 1440 on his last hit of the night, which he just butt-checked on – super close!

Chas back 12 in the finals, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Chas back 12 in the finals, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

The best part of the night for me wasn’t the crazy Japanese enthusiasm or Chas’ epic 12s, but it the way Chas continually acknowledged the Japanese audience and their customs by bowing JP-style to the crowd on almost every run, check the pics…

Fireworks JP style, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Fireworks JP style, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

Quarter finals, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Quarter finals, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

The entertainment, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
The entertainment, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

Chas claiming victory, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Chas claiming victory, Toyota Big Air 2011 in Sapporo
Photo: Keith Stubbs

Snow-search Japan 250px with IPPY logo

So if you’ve never been to a snowboard comp in Japan before, put it on your to-do list now.  In fact, if you haven’t ridden in Japan yet, that should come first. Check out the award-winning Snow-search Japan guidebook for the low-down on riding in Japan.

By Keith Stubbs.

Thanks for Chris Chan in Niseko for sorting out the press passes.

 

Full Results 

 


QUALIFICATION
1/4 FINAL 1/2 FINAL FINAL
RANK BIB STANCE NAME NAT SPONSORS 1ST
RUN
2ND
RUN
BEST
POINT
1ST
RUN
2ND
RUN
BEST
POINT
1ST
RUN
2ND
RUN
BEST
POINT
1ST
RUN
2ND
RUN
BEST
POINT
 
01 06 G Chas GULDEMOND USA ROCKSTAR 091 242 242 093 278 278 261 227 261 268 098 268
02 12 G Sebastien TOUTANT CAN O’NEILL, RIDE, OAKLEY, RED BULL 100 285 285 280 084 280 282 103 282 091 092 092
03 13 R Mark McMORRIS CAN BURTON, RED BULL 099 269 269 112 261 261 096 234 234 vs. C. GULDEMOND
03 03 G Seppe SMITS BEL BURTON, RED BULL 259 108 259 109 263 263 101 227 227 vs. S. TOUTANT
05 01 G Peetu PIIROINEN FIN NIKE6.0, BURTON, ANON, TOYOTA 277 200 277 276 156 276 vs. C. GULDEMOND
05 15 R Kazushige FUJITA JPN HEAD 219 095 219 111 249 249 vs. S. TOUTANT  
05 10 R Keito KUMAZAKI JPN SALOMON, BONFIRE 254 050 254 090 245 245 vs. M. McMORRIS  
05 07 G Gjermund BRAATEN NOR NIKE6.0, MONSTER, NITRO 244 262 262 102 102 102 vs. S. SMITS  
09 04 G Ryota TAKAHASHI JPN OAKLEY, CAPITA 106 216 216  
10 16 R Ayumu NEDEFUJI JPN YONEX 213 089 213  
11 08 R Daisuke MURAKAMI JPN K2, PHENIX 202 087 202  
12 05 R Antti AUTTI FIN BILLABONG, GIRO 085 092 092  
13 14 R Atsushi ISHIKAWA JPN FLOW, QUIKSILVER 090 032 090  
14 09 R Asato YOSHIDA JPN YONEX 075 060 075  
15 02 G Hiroumi FUJIMOTO JPN SALOMON, REVOLT 068 034 068  
  11 G Sage KOTSENBURG USA NIKE6.0 DNS   DNS

 

For more information visit www.toyota-bigair.jp/2011

 

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