Words & Photos: Ed
A glorious sunny week of competition came to a fitting end today, as the men's and women's halfpipe final took place at the 2012 Burton European Open in Laax. With softening walls and a big crowd soaking up some rays, the riders put on a wicked show, led by the favourites Iouri 'iPod' Podlatchikov and Kelly Clark – who'd won an astonishing thirteen consecutive events prior to this final.
It was therefore no surprise to see the women's go to the script, with Clark's amplitude and technical spins in a different league to the rest of the field. Gretchen Bleiler, though, put up a good fight until she came a cropper going for a backside 9 - hooking up on the landing and slamming badly. Her previous run was still good enough to land her in second and everyone was relieved to see her gorgeous smile return for the prize-giving ceremony ($8000 will always help with that eh!).
In the men's event, Danny Davis found himself as the only American in the final, but did a good job of representing his homeland through some of the steeziest runs of the day and a long-haired, bearded look straight outta Woodstock. His amiable attitude during the regular TV interviews also helped establish him as a crowd favourite, though they reserved the biggest cheer of the day for Mr Podlatchikov, who despite that distinctly Russian name has been representing his adopted home of Switzerland for several years. iPod duly obliged the fans with a banging second run, notching up a score of 88.9 and outing Davis (as it were!). Since no one had topped it when he dropped in last for his final run, he was able to go for the victory lap - chucking in a particularly tasty method and slashing the last hit. Class.
$15,000 dollars richer, iPod will presumably be tempted to put the cash towards a new sports car to go with his Porsche. Though if the rumours are true, he'd be advised not to repeat his recent stunt of getting busted at a petrol station in the middle of the night, filling up naked. Yes, naked.
Burton have just announced they've extending their deal with Laax for another three years, but we gotta say they'll be hard pushed to top this sun-drenched thirteenth edition. Enjoy the photo gallery and see you next year, earthlings.
BURTON EUROPEAN OPEN 2012 HALFPIPE RESULTS
1. Iouri Podlatchikov (SUI)
2. Danny Davis (USA)
3. Ryo Aono (JAP)
1. Kelly Clark (USA)
2. Gretchen Bleiler (USA)
3.Yuki Furihata (JAP)
MINI CREATIVE USE OF SPACE AWARD ($5000)
Men - Christian Haller
Women - Cilka Sadar