Burton European Open Laax 2015 – Qualifying Results

Riders on their way up to do battle with the shithouse weather. Photo: Sam McMahon

[series align=’left’]Due to the heavy snow storm currently raging over the Alps, both days of qualifying for the slopestyle and halfpipe finals taking place over the weekend were cut short, not that the riders seemed to mind at all. As we travelled up the lift this morning the whole of the lower half of Laax was littered with top tier professional snowboarders making the most of both the snow and a short break from what’s been a heavy contest season so far in 2015.

As we travelled up the lift this morning the whole of the lower half of Laax was littered with top tier professional snowboarders making the most of the snow

One almost got the vibe that no one really minded if the event could get underway – as Henry Jackson announced over the PA that the slopestyle eliminations had been cancelled again due to poor visibility and a slow course, there was a barely perceptible whoop as half the field headed off for the woods. But once the halfpipe contest got underway, it was clear that it was game on.

It’s brain-bending seeing halfpipe done right up close, even more so when the greybird is so severe that from the top you can’t see the bottom of Laax’s 200 metre pipe, riders were literally vanishing into the mist. Oliver Gittler and Markus Keller were the first two to drop, the latter opting for a 180cm+ swallow tail to see him down, both taking advantage of the Burton‘s Hawaiian-themed event to slash and surf out of the bottom section, and just like that it was game on.

Markus Keller flying the swallow. Photo: Ed Blomfield

The conditions were tricky, but it helped the judges sort the wheat from the chaff, riders like Arthur Longo and Christian Haller were still able to send their hits almost to the moon despite the rapidly powder-full flat bottom. Unfortunately from a packed field only ten riders could progress, but judging by the names of the qualified riders below, Sunday’s finals will be one to watch.

On his way to see the Wizard of Oz, iPod just wanted to find a brain. Photo: Ed Blomfield

Men’s Halfpipe Eliminations Results

Jake Pates
Iouri Podladtchikov
Taylor Gold
Arthur Longo
Tim-Kevin Ravnjak
David Habluetzel
Jan Scherrer
Christian Haller
Ayumu Hirano
Seamus O’Connor

Jake Pates inverting his way to his first place finish in the heats. Photo: Sam McMahon

During the women’s heats the weather came in even harder, meaning that more snow and even colder temps forced all but the hardiest fans away from the viewing area. Still, there was plenty of drama as just after Chloe Kim pipped Kelly Clark to X Games gold last weekend, the pipe veteran bit back and bested the youngster by just over a point.

But by the end of play it was the Spanish Queralt Castellet that qualified in first position. She’s long been tipped to be the next big thing in women’s halfpipe, whether or not that’s true will have to wait until Sunday…

Women’s Halfpipe Eliminations Results

Queralt Castellet
Kelly Clark
Chloe Kim
Nadja Purtschert
Mirabelle Thovex
Holly Crawford

Chloe Kim could only qualify in third, but if the weather clears for Sunday a Burton Open gold could be on the cards. Photo: E Blomfield
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