TTR World Snowboard Tour

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World Records, Heavy Slams And The Origins Of Quarterpipe


Stoked crowds, electric atmosphere and snowboarding superstars – Swatch TTR Quarterpipe events deliver it all. The 6Star Billabong Air & Style, in Innsbruck, Austria is one of the most prestigious TTR contests, drawing the worlds premier transition specialists together to push the level of Quarterpipe riding to new realms. Terje Haakonsen (NOR), Peetu Piiroinen (FIN) and Jack Mitrani (USA) will all be atop of the Bergisel Ski Jump, all of them capable of soaring to victory on January 31st, 2009. Quarterpipe riding takes a lot of skill, a death wish and ideal conditions. When these boxes are ticked, world records will be broken and new heights reached.Quarterpipe riding has come a long way since Ingemar Backman (SWE) stomped his groundbreaking Method Air in Riksgransen, Sweden, on a slushy spring day back in 1996. Although, not strictly a Quarterpipe contest, this moment planted the seed for Swatch TTR Quarterpipe contests to grow into what they are today. Between 1996 and 2001, Quarterpipe building took on a whole new meaning as shapers worked tirelessly to build the ultimate transition. The progression culminated in 2001, when Heikki Sorsa (FIN) opened the minds of riders everywhere, flying 9.3m at the Arctic Challenge.Fast-forward to 2009 where Claes HEgstrEm, shaper of the worlds best Quarterpipes, utilizes laser measuring, GPS and mathematically calculated gradients to provide riders with the best transitions possible. Using science to achieve maximum speed and height with the smallest amount of G-force ensures the riders in 2009 have got the chance to break the 10m mark. It has certainly come a long way from those sketchy man made jumps.The sacred 9.8m world record Air is the one everyone is waiting to see broken. Terje Haakonsen (NOR) claimed it from Sorsa, during the 2007 Arctic Challenge and the record was very nearly taken by Jack Mitrani last year. Unfortunately, Jack wiped out hard on the landing in a bone crunching slam. In 2009, Jacks back on the Swatch TTR Tour, ready to push it again at the Billabong Air & Style, Im pretty sure I was so scared before that my balls shrunk to the size of raisins, Ill have to get a ball pump and go for it again. If I can get close to it, Im going to be like, yeah…Lets do it.As Jack points out, Quarterpipes definitely create a sense of fear. How could someone not be scared when dropping into a steep icy slope and charging at a 10m near vertical wall? World No. 6 Risto Mattila (FIN) describes it like this, I think Quarterpipe is the scariest competition for sure. You have to really concentrate and really be on it. When you start riding down a slope and you know you are going close to 100 km/h you have to lock your feet and keep your body stiff. Otherwise, you are going to end up on the coping, Ive tried that. It is not fun.Currently, Claes HEgstrEm and his shaping crew are putting the finishing touches on the 10m Quarterpipe in the Bergisel. The stadium is sold out and all the riders have arrived in Innsbruck. The Billabong Air & Style 09 is going to blow minds. Will Innsbruck see a new world record set? What direction will Quarterpipe riding take this season? The 2009 6Star Billabong Air & Style will be broadcasted live on, from 16:30h GMT, January 31st, 2009.Stay tuned to and be ready to witness history.