The Men’s and Women’s Slopestyle Finals went off today at the 2014 Burton European Open presented by MINI and with the sun shining and the course in perfect condition it was destined to be an exciting day of snowboarding. By the close of play Swiss ripper Isabel Derungs became the Women’s BEO Slopestyle champ of 2014, while 21-year-old Brage Richenberg from Lillehammer topped an all-Norwegian podium ahead of Alek Oestreng and Mons Røisland in the Men’s.
There were meant to be 6 Women competing in today’s finals, but favourite Enni Rukajärvi was injured in practice, leaving the field wide open. Run 1 saw Merika Enne (FIN) take first place with a good flow score, great rail tricks and a switch back 1, front 5 and Cab 3, but she would be knocked down first by 15-year-old Miyabi Onitsuka of Japan, then Elena Könz of Switzerland and finally by Isabel Derungs in the second round.
The third and final run was executed in reverse order and15-year-old Miyabi Onitsuka, a newcomer to the competition circuit, dialled a beautifully stylish run that left her in first place with only two riders to drop. Local girl Elena Könz was next up but was unable to better her score and remained in 3rd place. Isabel, now in second, had no option but to go all in, hammering a solid show on the rails, switch back 5, huge front 7 and back rodeo that was to unseat Miyabi and earn her the Slopestyle title. “It is super cool to win in my home resort” said Isabel “the BEO is always the highlight of the season”.
After the challenging conditions of yesterday’s Men’s Semi-finals it was decided by the riders and organisers to include the top 16 men in the finals and give each two runs to prove their metal. Kevin Backstrom kicked opened the proceedings with a banging run that would see him maintain the lead until American Sam Hulbert hammered out a Cab 9, switch 9 and front 10 as well as a near perfect rail section to take first place. He in turn was knocked down by Alek Oestreng who put a 12 point lead between him and the rest of the field and then by Brage Richenberg (NOR), who unfurled a winning tech rail set, switch back 12, double back, and front ten off the toes.
Having scrubbed his first run, Seth Hill was the first rider in round 3 to truly upset the rankings, leapfrogging from 15th into 6th place. Then 16-year-old Norwegian Mons Røisland put in a solid rail line, a double backside 10, cab 9 and front double to force Sam Hulbert out of 3rd. The final battle of the contest was now between the 2012 Slopestyle champ Alek Oestreng and Brage Richenberg, who had worked his way through from qualifications to a lead in the Semi-finals. Alek pulled out all the stops, stomping a Cab 180 on back 3 out, back board 270 out, front blunt 450 out, Cab 9, front 10 and back 10 double and flipped Brage into second. But Brage parried with a switch back 270 on 270 out, front blunt 270 out, front 270 on 270 out, two 12s and a double backflip to regain his lead and win the 2014 Men’s Slopestyle title. “I have never been that happy; 3 Norwegians on the Podium, that’s insane” he said surrounded by his Norwegian teammates. “I was very nervous because the riding was very good today”.
After today’s results the World Snowboard Tour Slopestyle rankings still see Enni Rukajärvi in first place followed by Silje Norendal (NOR). After her win at last week’s RedBull Nanshan Open and her 5th place here in Laax, Merica Enne (FIN) has now moved up into 3rd place, while Isabel Derungs moved into the top 10. Brage Richenberg moved into second place on the Slopestyle rankings with his win, and sits behind Stale Sandbech (NOR) still in the number one spot. Seth Hill made his way up into the top 5, followed by Janne Korpi (FIN).
Results Slopestyle Finals Women:
1. Isabel Derungs, SUI, Ride, 83,65
2. Miyabi Onitsuka, JPN, Burton, 78,50
3. Elena Könz, SUI, Voelkl, 77,55
4. Julia Marino, USA, Bern, 67,50
5. Merika Enni, FIN, Battery, 63,05
Results Slopestyle Finals Men:
1. Brage Richenburg, NOR, Nike, 95,00
2. Alek Oestreng, NOR, Burton, 91,50
3. Mons Røisland, NOR, DC, 85,95
4. Sam Hulbert, USA, Smith, 75,90
5. Kevin Backstrom, SWE, Nike, 72,90
6. Jonas Boesiger, SUI, Salomon, 72,75
7. Seth Hill, USA, Sims, 70,80
8. Marcus Kleveland, NOR, Volcom, 70,55
9. Sean Ryan, USA, Stonp, 69,95
10. Morten Kleivdal, NOR, K2, 65,40
11. Chris Tierney, USA, Lib Tech, 64,05
12. Tor Lundstrom, SWE, Bataleon, 61,00
13. Alois Lindmoser, AUT, Burton, 60,55
14. Janne Korpi, FIN, Kissmark, 55,70
15. Leandro Eigensatz, SUI, Salomon, 53,30
16. Carlos Gerber, SUI, K2, 47,45
With Slopestyle wrapped it’s now time to move over to LAAX’s stunning Superpipe for tomorrow’s Men’s and Women’s Finals. Follow the action on the BEO Event App on www.facebook.com/BurtonEurope. Live Webcasts on www.burton.com/BEO.