Finnish snowboarder Roope Tonteri (FIN), 19, has defeated a field of more than 50 international riders to claim the Open Men’s division of the Billabong Slopestyle 4Star TTR World Snowboard Tour event which wrapped up at Snow Park near Lake Wanaka, New Zealand yesterday.
The reigning European Open Champion dominated Qualifying on Friday and then did everything necessary on his first finals run to ensure the top-spot on the podium ahead of the USA’s Sam Hulbert (USA), 2nd, and fellow Fin, Antti Autti (FIN), 3rd.
Tonteri’s winning run included a frontside boardslide to front 360 tail tap, a back 900, a cab 900 and a backside 540 over the final feature dubbed the ‘Monster Volcano’; a channel-gap nipple jump over a giant inflatable Monster Energy can.
The judge’s score of 89.40 (out of 100) saw Tonteri walk away with 500 valuable TTR World Tour ranking p oints, $5,000 in prize money and a swag of prizes that included a state-of-the-art Nex5 Sony Camera.
“It’s been a great day, the weather was great, the course was perfect and it’s nice to be in the final with another Finnish guy (Antti) in the same contest,” said Tonteri.
“I’m going to take things easy now, go riding for the next week and enjoy myself before the next event.”
Hulbert, who last tasted victory in the 2010 Canadian Open Slopestyle, had to settle for second today, the 22 year-old’s best run coming up five points short of Tonteri’s. But as a late arrival, Hulbert considered himself lucky to be in the event at all.
“I actually flew in yesterday (the day before the contest) and had one practice run and then did the contest and made it through so I can’t complain about that,” explained Hulbert.
Hulbert scored 84.60 points for his tailslide 27 0 on the down bar followed by a 50-50 backside 180, a switch backside 900, then backside 720 to frontside 720 over the Monster Volcano.
Third placed Antti Autti (FIN), may only be 26, but joked about being the oldest guy in the finals. Autti decided to enter at the last moment, and found himself on the podium. Autti’s best run consisted of a cab 900 nose grab, to frontside 1080 tail grab to frontside 720 over the Monster Volcano; with the 1080 being the first he’d pulled successfully in competition.
“The young guys are hungry, but I surprised myself, I’m still hungry too! I feel like I’m 16, maybe not my body, but mentally … my mind feels like I’m 16 so it’s good! It’s nice to know I can still keep up with these kids. They’re so freaking hungry,” laughed Autti.
Defending 2010 event champion, Zac Stone (CAN), was among the favourites heading into the final day after stomping some cl ean runs in practice and Qualifying, but the 19 year-old put himself out of contention when it counted most, unable to complete a double cork attempt in the final.
Stone’s 6th place matches his recent result at the 5-Star Billabong Ante Up big competition in July.
Fellow Canadian, Max Parrot (CAN) was also eyeing off a possible podium finish, but didn’t successfully stomp his back-to-back double corks.
Kiwi, Milu Multhaup-Appleton, was the only local rider to qualify for the final, finishing 7th overall on a score of 73.60pts.
“It feels good to be the only Kiwi to make the finals, there’s some really good riders here … pretty inspirational,” said Milu.
Aussie Nick Wood (AUS) was the highest placed Australian, finishing in 10th place.
Two-time TTR World Champion Jamie Anderson left nothing to chance in the Open Women’s, bagging yet another first place Slopestyle finish. Tw enty year-old Anderson is recognised as being at the forefront of women’s slopestyle progression.
After already stomping a winning run with a tailslide to fakie to switch back 180, to frontside 360 melon to backside 360 mute, to stale grab over the Monster Volcano, Anderson stepped it up another notch on her victory lap.
Anderson changed her run and went boardslide to backside 180, to switch backside 540, to backside 360 over the big jump to absolutely dominate.
“To wrap up first place … I couldn’t be more excited,” said Anderson. “I’ve got my awesome new camera, a bunch of rad product and I’m just really excited to start off the season with a win. We have the New Zealand Open coming up next week and hopefully we’ll be shredding some pow in New Zealand.”
Isabel Derungs (SUI) finished 2nd with Jordie Karlinski (USA) in 3rd.
Other Open Women’s highlights in cluded Queralt Castellet’s (ESP) effort to land one of the biggest tricks of the day, the Spanish rider making a commendable attempt at a frontside 720 over the big jump.
Queralt has been proving herself as a force to be reckoned with in the halfpipe and now she has landed the first TTR slopestyle podium of her career.
Sandy Macdonald, IJC Head Judge: “The level of riding was pretty amazing considering these guys haven’t had a lot of time on snow. A lot of competitors have come straight off planes. The conditions were definitely challenging for the finals, the new snow was slow and the wind was variable which is difficult. Consistent wind would have been easier to deal with, but the level was absolutely there,” said Macdonald.
All riders who competed this week at the Billabong Slope Style will all earn points towards the TTR Slopestyle World Tour Ranking list and the TTR Overall World Tour Ranking list.
The TTR World Tour has a fresh ranking system in place for the 2011/12 season, which is designed to recognize the progression and specialization that has grown exponentially in snowboarding over the past 10-years.
The new ranking system features three separate ranking lists for women (Overall, Slopestyle, Halfpipe) and four ranking lists for men (Overall, Slopestyle, Halfpipe and Big Air) that will make for a clear way to follow the different disciplines on the TTR World Tour throughout the season.
All the details surrounding the new ranking system are explained at www.ttrworldtour.com
The Billabong Slopestyle is the second stop on the 201/12 TTR World Tour and is also the first of its kind on the global calendar since the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Executive Board confirmed the discipline for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Billabong Slopestyle, Snow Park, NZ
1st Roope Tonteri (FIN) 89.40pts
2nd Sam Hulbert (USA) 84.60pts
3rd Autti Antti (FIN) 84.20pts
4th Nuutti Niemela (FIN) 80.40pts
5th Simen Neraker (NOR) 76.00pts
6th Zak Stone (CAN) 74.00pts
7th Milu Multhaup-Appleton (NZL) 73.60pts
8th Mexence Parrot (CAN) 71.00pts
9th Saku Tiillikainen (FIN) 64.80pts
10th Nick Wood (AUS) 60.40pts
1st Jamie Anderson (USA) 86.80pts
2nd Isabel Derungs (SUI) 76.60pts
3rd Jordie Karlinski (USA) 73.20pts
1st Tyler Nicholson (CAN) 87.60pts
2nd Seamus O’Connor (IRL) 81.80pts
3rd Michael Ciccarelli (CAN) 76.80pts
1st Indigo Monk (USA) 85.00pts
2nd Zoi Sadowski-Symott (NZL) 56.40pts
The Billabong Slope-style is presented by Sony and made possible with the support of Monster Energy, Sony Ericsson, Snow Park, DaKine, VonZipper