Spring sessions always rule, and the Burton & San Miguel Total Fight Masters of Freestyle held in the Andorran resort of Grandvalira was no exception this year, offering the highest quality of riding, burning sunshine, fresh snow and a cheering crowd to keep spirits high. The Coliflor Freestyle shapers spent the previous week carving magic into the slopestyle’s five modules, starting with a 10 metre long rail followed by an impressive San Miguel look alike 2 metres by 4,5 metres “can” and polished off by 3 massive crowd pleaser kickers.
Big tricks ruled the day, with only 16 riders out of the original 31 qualifying through to the second round. The Norwegian Team Burton rider Kim Rune Hansen, who recently came second in the Quaterpipe World championships, dominated the first round with a Switch FS Boardslide on the first rail, followed by a Switch 50 to BS 180 Out on the San Miguel “can” and neatly polished off with a perfect FS 7 Melon on the first kicker, a super stylish BS 5 Mute on the second and a Switch FS 9 on the last.
To go through to the next round, each rider was paired against another, with only one rider per pair making it through. The pairings were as follows: Kim Rune Hansen (1st) against Spaniard Carles Turner (16th), Finnish rider Valtteri Paunonen (2nd) against the Norwegian Joachim Krogstie (15th), Finn Hanri Lakkonen (3rd) against the Argentinean Santi Gamen who actually hurt himself and chose to be paired against the Spaniard Albert Piñol (14th), Finnish rider Ville Paumola (4th) against the Spaniard Isaac Vergés (13th), German rider Patrick Cinca (5th) against the Argentinean Facundo Vial (12th), Finn Roni Rintale (6th) against the Argentinean rider Nico Fuentes (11th), Finnish rider Ville Uotila (7th) against the Argentinean rider Mattias Schmitt (10th) and finally the Finnish rider Nuutti Niemela (8th) was paired against his fellow countryman Tommi Rokolampi (9th).
After an intense battle on the slopes only 8 riders were left to compete for the finals, with Kim Rune Hansen (1st) seeming to lead the pack with a Switch FS Slide followed by a 50/50 and a BS 7 Tailgrab, BS Rodeo Mute finished and a Switch BS Melon on the last three kickers. For this round, Hansen was paired against Patrick Cinca (8th), Nuutti Niemela (2nd) against Ville Uotila (7th), Hanri Lakkonen (3rd) against Ville Paumola (6th) and Valtteri Paunonen (4th) was paired against the Argentinean rider and Grandvalira local Nico Fuentes (5th).
Knowing that they had nothing left to lose to get to the finals, the remaining 8 riders pulled out their best tricks, Nuuti Niemela especially surprised everyone with his inspired BS Double Cork on the last kicker, effectively eliminating the undefeated champion of the last few Total Fight’s, Ville Uotila.
The finals of any competition are the real nail biters, and the 2012 Total Fight was no exception, with three Finnish riders, Paumola, Niemela, Paunonen and one German, Cinca, preparing to fight it out on the grounds of the scorching El Tarter Snowpark.
Each rider had three chances to outshine each other, and the crowd wasn’t complaining, but it was finally the Finnish rider Nuutti Niemela who stole the day with a spectacular FS Lipslide on the rail, followed by a 50 to 180 out on the San Miguel “can”, a Cab 9 Stalefish on the first kicker, an FS 10 on the second and a BS Doble Cork 12 on the last kicker. There was simply no doubt, Nuutti Niemela is 2012’s new king of the Total Fight Masters of Freestyle.
Nuutti Niemela, one of the top 8 world slopestyle riders told us: “I love this event, it’s one of my favourites. I’m so stoked with my round, the Slopestyle was so good and you had to get lots of speed to do good tricks. I’m really happy to be here”.
Ville Paumola came second, followed by Patrick Cinca and Valtteri Paunonen in fourth position.
For this edition of the Total Fight, the riders split 14.000 Euros between them, 7000 for the first, 4000 for the second, 2000 for the third and 1000 for the fourth.