Photos: Pablo Azocar
The first TTR 5-star slopestyle event of the season took place yesterday at the Burton New Zealand Open 2011. Unlike last year’s event, the bad weather stayed away and Cardrona was bathed in sunlight when the riders headed out. The mens’ and women’s fields took it in turns to tackle the sizeable course in a best-of-3-runs format.
After the girls’ first run, only Jamie Anderson and Kjersti Buaas had put in a solid performance, taking enough speed off the first jump to ensure there’d be no coming up short on the rest. The same can’t be said for Silje Norendal who, despite going for her frontside rodeo 720, smashed the knuckle hard. In the end Jamie took another deserving win, the standout trick on her run bering a super-smooth switch backside 540. Kjersti and the USA’s Jordie Karlinski rounded out the podium.
The guys’ event was dominated by Canadian slopestyle wizards Mark McMorris and Sebastien Toutant. Despite being best of buds, their rivalry was intense and in the end they were separated by less than half a point. Seb looked gutted to have finished 2nd, and he’s not the only one who’ll be thinking that his second run deserved more. Norway’s Stale Sandbech took third, which he must be stoked about – there’s no shame in finishing behind those two!
31-year-old Shelly Gottleib was the only Kiwi in either field, and came close to being the first girl to land a double backflip in competition! Her first attempt would have been stuck had in not been for a slight roatation, but a lack of speed on the second attempt meant she caught her nose on the knuckle and was lucky to escape with just a few bumps and bruises.
Tonight the men’s halfpipe semis will be going down from 10.30pm onwards. Watch the live feed right here on Whitelines.com.