[Iouri Podladtchikov. Photo: Thomas Copsey]
“The best pipe contest ever” was bandied around the Crap Sogn Gion a bunch this afternoon, and it wasn’t just idle bants as the Laax Open wrapped up with a superpipe final to end all superpipe finals.
Blue skies? Laser cut pipe? Most of the world’s A-list stunt ditchers? The Laax Open pipe finals ticked a bunch of boxes, and when it came down to business no holds were barred as the men and women put on a stellar display of contemporary pipe riding in this monster of a snow trench.
Yesterday’s men’s slopestyle had an all-Canadian sweep, yet today it was the US riders that were dominant, with nine of the 18 finals spots taken by Donald Trump’s loyal subjects, including both winners Chase Josey and Chloe Kim.
Last year’s winner Arielle Gold (USA; 86.50) and Xuetong Cai (CHN, 85.25) finished as respective second and third in the women’s event while 2015 world champion Scotty James (AUS; 96.50) and 2014 Olympic champion Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI; 91.75) rounded out the men’s podium.
Despite a heavy showing from the rest of the women’s field, and 1080s being thrown around with gay abandon, Chloe Kim was on fire and earned a 90.50 to deservedly take the win and her career’s third in four starts.
Her run was killer: Method to frontside 1080 tail, cab 540 stalefish, switch backside 540 mute and a cab 720 Stalefish to finish things off, and the scary thing is she’s just 16 – Kim is only going to get better.
And not to be outdone in the progressive stakes, the men took their lead from the high standard set by the women and again put on a show that would easily vie for the ‘Best Pipe Comp Laax Has Ever Seen Stakes’.