A strong crew of 80 riders from all over the world battled it out today through tough weather and two rounds of competition to kick off the first day of the Nissan X-Trail Asian Open 2009. Snow, flat light and wind were not enough to hold back the most talented riders in the field, who were looking to earn spots in the semi finals this Thursday.
The pre-qualification round in the morning saw all the riders take it to the course, consisting of a street style rail, two big kickers and an up box that gaps to a flat/down box. Combos on the two jumps plus solid control on the top and bottom jibs were the key to high scores, and the judges cut the field in half before rolling into the afternoon for the qualification round.
As the day progressed, the weather got worse but the riding got better and better. It seemed like a battle was being waged between the wind and the snow, and also between the local Japanese crew and a strong contingent of riders from Europe. In the end, it was Petja Piiroinen from Finland who took the top spot in today