The O’Neill Evolution Men’s Slopestyle qualifications produced a day of spectacular action and provided a taste of what’s to come on Saturday when the finals get underway.
And it was two young Americans who made their mark at this stage of the 6Star Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour event.
Winning the first heat with a score of 91.77 was the 23 year old American Eric Willett with a Switch Back 10 Double Cork off the jump and a Switch Boardslide Cab, 270 out from the up-pole.
“I was stoked that I got to go in the first heat,” said Eric. “The jump was good and the landing was nice. It’s a really well built jump.”
Winning the second heat with the second highest score of the day – 90.53 - was another American, 17 year old Scott Moline.
“It’s great to have two Americans at the top of the qualifications!” said Eric.
Scott pulled out an impressive Switch Back 10 Double – a trick he learnt just two days ago - before a Front Blunt 450 out from what he calls ‘the Cannon Rail’.
“I’m stoked. It gave me a lot of confidence just knowing that the judges liked what i did,” said Scott.
But if you think that’s all these boys have – think again.
“I actually learnt a new trick yesterday,” said Eric. But I will keep it to myself until the finals!”
“This is the first time I’ve learnt a trick in the middle of competition,” he said. “But the jump is perfect and there’s such a great level of riding with friends like Mark (McMorris) and Seb (Toots) to push yourself.”
Add to that last year’s Slopestyle winner Marko Grilc arriving into town today and it’s guaranteed to be an exciting finals night on Saturday evening.
“It’s cool to come back to a place where you have good memories,” said Marko. “The set up looks really good. The jump looks even better than last year so I’m actully really excited to ride. It should be fun!”
MEN AND WOMEN’S HALFPIPE FINALS TOMORROW JAN 7th
9:00 9:45 HP Training Men & Women
10:00 12:00 HP Men Semi Final - 30 riders x 2 runs
12:10 12:20 HP Training Women
12:20 13:00 HP Women Final Runs 1 & 2 - 10 riders x 2 runs
13:10 13:25 HP Women Finals 3 rd run - 10 riders x 1 run
13:30 14:30 HP Men Finals - 10 riders x 3 runs
14:30 14:45 HP Prizegiving Women & Men