Where the superpipe finals saw some incredible runs put down by both the men and women. Arielle Gold (USA) and Ayumu Hirano (JPN) are the new BEO Halfpipe Champions.
The BEO Halfpipe finals have tended to provide some of the most memorable riding in this prestigious event's 14-year history and this latest edition was no different. Once again, a sizeable crowd of spectators gathered above and around the 140m-long length of perfectly sculpted snow that is Laax's superpipe and were witness to a stunning array of huge,technical and stylish riding from the 6 girls and 12 guys who'd battled through the semis to reach today's finals.
The women were first to drop and, despite challenging conditions, proved that women's pipe riding continues to step up throughout the three-run final. Back-to-back 720s from the likes of Elena Hight and Serena Shaw were impressive, as was Elena Hight's style, Ellery Hollingsworth's Michaelchuck flips and – naturally – Kelly Clark's monster amplitude. However, turning heads was 16-year-old American Arielle Gold, who took the early lead with a heady cocktail of style, huge hits and tech combos. Although Clark's second run was solid enough to post a 75.03 score it was not enough to top Gold's first leaving Kelly needing to up her game on her lastrun. Arielle turned it up a notch for her final run, improving on her earlier score to tighten her grip on first place, linking a textbook backside air with a super smooth frontside 540 Stale, backside 540, frontside 720 and finishing with a backside 900. Both her trick score and flow score were high, netting a total of 77.73 points and putting pressure on Clark's third and final run. Unfortunately for Kelly, she slammed on the first hit leaving Gold to take the top spot. "This is a huge win for me,” said a clearly delighted Arielle. “I am pretty stoked. It's my first 6Star title, that's crazy!"
After a quick reshape it was time for the men to take centre stage and as if on cue the clouds lifted and the sun beamed down setting the scene for a memorable showdown. With a field comprised of both invited riders and guys who'd fought through the qualification rounds it truly showed what Burton European Open is all about – giving emerging talent like Swiss kids David Hablützel and Lucien Koch a chance to compete against established names like Iouri Podladtchikov, Matt Ladley and Arthur Longo. Huge airtime, insane spins and a peppering of double corks were the order of the day from the get-go. Scotty Lago had the crowd hooting for his unique approach to pipe riding, often triple-poking his spins or double nosegrabbing his frontside 900s that saw him settle into second place after the second run, but he wasbumped down a spot when Iouri Podladtchikov finally managed to put the run he wanted down. But this final was all about 14-year-old Japanese sensation Ayumu Hirano who'd recently announced himself taking silver at the X Games. Though he technically should ride in the Junior category he was going bigger than any of the other riders, and with style for days. His second run consisted of an enormous backside air, frontside 1080 tail grab, Cab 1080 nose grab and a frontside double cork 1080 that earned him an unassailable 87.60 points and his first BEO pipe title. "The conditions were really difficult,” he saidafter the Champagne shower, “but I am very happy that I could show my best riding. I am super stoked"
With the culmination of the seniors' ridingprogramme at the BEO, standings have been juggled on the World Snowboard Tour rankings. Scotty Lago moved in to 1st place on the World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe ranking with Ayumu Hirano climbing up to 4th with his win. The Men’s Halfpipe Championship will all come down to Halfpipe wins in the two upcoming 6Star Men’s competitions at the Burton US Open and Tour finale in Oslo, The Arctic Challenge. The Women’s World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe Champion will be crowned at the Burton US Open in Vail, Colorado, and it will be a tight battle between current leader Kelly Clark and second placed Arielle Gold.
BEO 2013 Results Halfpipe Final Women
1. Arielle Gold, USA, Burton, 77.73
2. Kelly Clark, USA, Burton, 75.03
3. Ellery Hollingsworth, USA, Nike, 62.18
BEO 2013 Results Halfpipe Final Men
1. Ayumu Hirano, JPN, Burton, 87.60
2. Iouri Podladtchikov, SUI, Quiksilver, 87.10
3. Scotty Lago, USA, Flow, 84.05