The Burton European Open (BEO) has kicked off with the Junior Slopestyle and Halfpipe in Laax Switzerland. These groms are nipping at the heels of the adult riders, every year their forgiving bodies allowing them to repeatedly try tricks whereby the older riders get broke.
As per usual, the Laax shapers built a gem of a slopestyle course which allowed all manner of tricks. 12 year old Ty Walker (US) and 13 year old David Hablützel (SWZ) won the girls and boys slopestyle respectively. David's run was well varied with a nosepress nosegrab on the box, a method air off the up rail, a rock-n-roll to fakie on the jib tube, a 50-50 nosepress on the downbox, followed by a backside 540 truckdriver on the quarter and a backside 540, a switch backside 540 and a frontside 720 truckdriver on the kickers, not bad by any standards and most impressively pulling BS, FS and SWBS spins in a single run, definitely no mean feat. Props also have to go out to 9 year old Chloe Kim from the US who being the youngest rider of the day was also the only one to get inverted with a front flip on the quarter.
A small British contingent also headed out and did the UK proud, with Katie Omerod claiming a fourth place finish in the girl's slopestyle, narrowly missing out on a podium spot. The British boys stepped up too - Lewis Courtier-Jones took 8th place in the slopestyle, while little Jake Terry and Rowan Coultas, who are 11 and 12 respectively, came 29th and 22nd.
The halfpipe competition got under way on Sunday in perfect bluebird conditions. US riders took both girls and boys events, 9 year old Chloe Kim the girls and 12 year old Seamus O'Conner the boys, confirming the US as the halfpipe riders to beat, check out Danny Davis and Shaun White olympic qualifying runs for more evidence. It's amazing to think that any 9 year old can pull this run; BS 540, FS 540, barrel roll, FS 360 and cab 360, but Kim managed it just fine to grab gold
Katie Omerond once again showed that Brits can be up there with the best, repeating her impressive slopestyle feat with a fourth place in the pipe comp. Lewis Courtier-Jones finished an impressive 9th in a field packed with international talent, while young Messrs Coultas and Terry made it into the top 30.
The BEO carries on all week so be sure to keep checking Whitelines.com for updates