Ischgl, Austria and its impressive park setup played host to the 4Star Protest World Rookie Finals on Saturday April 9th, 2011. As the final stop of the World Rookie Tour, the event had attracted the crème de la crème of rookies and groms.
Around sixty competitors of age 18-years old and younger enjoyed a week of springtime park shredding, as well as, side events such as avalanche training. The highlight of the event were the finals on Saturday, which showcased exceptional riding where Emil Andre Ulsletten (NOR) and Katarzyna Rusin (POL) were crowned the 2010/11 WSF World Rookie Champions. The winners took home more prizes than they could carry along with 500 Swatch TTR Ranking points.
The World Rookie Tour has been harnessing young snowboarding talent all season long for many years now with each of the tour stops around the world offering wild cards to go to the final. The philosophy of the event is to give the future stars the opportunity to shine and help their progression by offering wild cards to bigger events and opportunities such as photo and film shoots with pros. The final event setup in Ischgl park was worthy of admiration, which consisted of four sets of massive step-up kickers and a jib/rail section. The sunny day and great riding attracted a big crowd of sunscreen-drenched spectators to support the competition. Winds came into play in the afternoon, which slowed down the riders and caused some nasty slams, but the level of riding remained impressive throughout the day.
Emil Andre Ulsletten from Norway was miles ahead of the pack already in qualifications and he was able to keep up his top notch riding in the two run finals grabbing the coveted rookie title. Among many of the prizes, he also earned himself a wild card to compete at the TTR/WSF World Snowboarding Championships in Oslo 2012. Emil’s winning run included a huge frontside 1080 and a Cab 900 and caught the eye of the judges with his fierce riding and styled tricks. At the prize giving, he was stoked saying; "I feel super good, it has been really fun here in Ischgl. The park was fun, weather nice and we had good riders. I'm in the TTR Top 30 right now and at the start of the season I was in 300 or something, so I have taken a big step this year and maybe bigger next year, I hope. This summer I head down to New Zealand with the Norwegian team and compete at the New Zealand Open." Emil now sits in TTR World No. 29, which has set him in a great position for starting off next season in New Zealand in August. Among the top 10 finishers at the World Rookie Fest, six were Norwegians, including third place, Haavard Bergheim and a fellow Scandinavian, Sweden’s Sven Thorgren, in second place.
Katarzyna Rusin from Poland was able to defend her World Rookie Champ Title from last year. Katarzyna moves up into the TTR World No. 20 spot with her win and is one of the up and coming female riders in Europe who is also planning to head below the equator to start her season early. She said, "It was a great event like every year, its good to see that the level of riding is rising year by year. Next I will head to the European glaciers for some training and then go down with the Polish national team to New Zealand for the New Zealand Open and the Billabong Bro Down." Finishing behind Katarzyna was Italian rookie, Valentina Barengo, in second place and Caroline Höckel from Switzerland in third.
In addition, the groms category, which featured riders born in 1996 or later, showcased some promising young shredders. Fridtjof Saether Tischendorf from Norway and Katerina Vojackova from Czech Republic took the victores both shredding the big kicker line of the snow park.
For more information visit ttrworldtour.com