Rider: Jonaven Morre  /  Photographer: Jeff Patterson  /  Location: Revelstoke, Canada

The Swatch TTR 5-Star Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open is set to rock Japan from February 26th to March 2nd 2008 at the Alts Bandai resort in Fukushima. Some of the world’s best snowboarders including Shaun White, Antti Autti, Jamie Anderson and Torah Bright will be making the long trip to compete in Halfpipe and Slopestyle formats for two batches of 850 TTR Ranking points and over $125,000 in prize money.

While the TTR points distribution may not be as high as a 6-Star event, the Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open still provides riders with a much needed boost. The Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour will see the next ranking update after the Slopestyle competition which is immediately followed by a Superpipe show down the following day.

The women’s field will see the most change in Japan as the current TTR top four female riders fight with slopestyle skills to become the new TTR World No.1, even if just for a day. Current tour leader Jamie Anderson (USA), Kelly Clark (USA) who finished 2nd in last year’s Nippon Open Slopestyle, 06/07 TTR Tour Champion Torah Bright (AUS) and 6-Star Burton European Open Slopestyle No.2 Jenny Jones (GBR) all have opportunities to take tour lead following the slopestyle battle. This will set things up for an enthralling Superpipe competition as the women once again compete for vital ranking points in the chase to be tour champ.

There are plenty of other female riders who will be looking to move up in the TTR rankings. Swiss rider Sina Candrian could move up into the TTR Top 5, and Claudia Fliri (AUT) who finished 3rd in the Slopestyle at the recent 6-Star Roxy Chicken Jam in Kaprun, will be seeking out a spot in the TTR Top 10.

The men’s field will see lots of movers and shakers in the lower rankings. TTR World No.15 Antti Autti from Finland, and TTR World No.18 Mikkel Bang form Norway will both be after Swatch TTR World No.7 at the Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open Slopestyle. All heads will be turned towards US rider and 06/07 Tour Champion Shaun White who, along with Takaharu Nakai from Japan, will be after TTR World No.33. Fumiyuki Murakami, also from Japan, will be competing for a spot in the TTR Top 50 while Janne Korpi (FIN), who finished 5th in the Slopestyle of last year’s Nippon Open, eyes a spot in the TTR Top 15.

Current TTR World No.3 Peetu Piiroinen (Fin) will maintain his current tour position after the Slopestyle. But things will come down to the 5-Star Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open Superpipe throw down where we could see some bigger changes in the rankings.

The Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open is sure to be an event of mega proportions as many of the best TTR riders clash and compete for Japanese glory and inch one step closer to the $250,000 end-of–season Swatch TTR Tour Prize purse. The Nippon Open is one of Japan’s most popular snowboarding events, drawing over 40,000 spectators from around the world. International viewers however, can catch live webcasts of the semi-finals and finals at go211. Stay tuned to the TTR website for more updates.

Seeded Riders For Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open:

Men: Antti Autti SS/HP FIN Atsushi Ishikawa SS JPN Charles Reid SS/HP CAN Daisuke Murakami HP JPN Dome Narita HP JPN Fumiyuki Murakami SP JPN Janne Korpi SS/HP FIN Kazuhiro Kokubo SS/HP JPN Kazuumi Fuijita HP JPN Keiji Okamoto SP JPN Keir Dillon HP USA Keito Kumazaki HP JPN Kiichiro Kazumi SS JPN Kodai Watanabe HP JPN Kohei Kudo HP JPN Masaaki Hagiwara SS JPN Mikkel Bang SS NOR Mutsuo Yamaguchi SS JPN Nick Hyne SS NZE Peetu Piiroinen SS FIN Rikuya Narita HP JPN Ryo Aono HP JPN Ryuta Saito HP JPN Shaun White SS/HP USA Shota Suzuki SS JPN Tadashi Fuse SS JPN Takaharu Nakai SS/HP JPN Takahiro Ishihara HP JPN Takayuki Nishizawa HP JPN Teddy Koo SS JPN Tomoyoa Fujina HP JPN

Women: Akiko Miwa HP JPN Clair Bidez HP USA Claudia Fliri SS AUT Emily Thomas SS AUS Gretchen Bleiler SS/HP USA Hannah Teter HP USA Izumi Amaike SS JPN Jamie Anderson SS/HP USA Jenny Jones SS GBR Kelly Clark SS/HP USA Manuela Laura Pesko HP SUI Masako Takehashi HP JPN Elena Hight HP USA Tina Ramholt SP SUI Shiho Nakashima HP JPN Sina Candrian SS/HP SUI Soko Yamaoka HP JPN Tania Detomas SS ITA Torah Bright SS/HP AUS Yayoi Tamura HP JPN