The usual suspects, Staale Sandbech & Jamie Anderson, won the first slopestyle contest of the season
The second annual Burton ‘High Fives’ presented by MINI snowboarding competition continued today with slopestyle finals at Cardrona Alpine Resort in Wanaka. First place in the slopestyle finals and walking away US $10,000 richer each, were Stale Sandbech (NOR) and Jamie Anderson (USA). Today was also one of the first events this year to see Olympic hopefuls go head to head on their way to Sochi, where slopestyle will be featured for the first time as a new Olympic discipline.
Sixty of the top snowboarders in the world have experienced a snowboarding event like no other in New Zealand this week as the Burton High Fives combined classic snowboarding events with fun kiwi-inspired off-snow team challenges. The first two days of the event saw the riders taking part in a variety of these wild off-hill challenges but today the action was back on snow under blue skies at Cardrona Alpine Resort’s world-class slopestyle course. After a morning practice session for both men and women the Burton High Fives Slopestyle Finals got under way with the best of three runs format, which allowed for an exciting competition. While strong winds threatened to deter riders, they got into competition mode and many improved their scores with each successive run.
Jamie Anderson (USA) stomped a victorious second run to score 85.20 with a backside tailslide, 50/50 on the closeout rail, 50/50 on the rainbow, backside 180 mute, Cab 540 melon, and backside 540 indy. Burton rider Enni Rukajärvi (FIN), who had been in the lead until Jamie’s fierce run, ended up in second place with 79.20, and Silje Norendal (NOR) came in third with a score of 69.20. Jamie said:
My run was pretty good, but a bit sketchy. I went with an easier run – you have to play it out moment by moment. I fell on my first run, but I was glad to land my second, especially in these conditions.
It was no surprise to see Stale Sandbech (NOR), who placed third at last year’s Burton High Fives slopestyle, come out on top in the men’s competition. He nailed his second run to score 94.60 with a run that included a halfcab 50-50 180 out, hardway 270 on boardslide, boardslide 270 out, frontside 900 double cork indy, Cab 1260 stale, backside 1080 double cork stale. Coming through strong on his final run with a 92.40 score and a second place finish was young gun Burton rider, Kyle Mack (USA), followed by Yuki Kadono (JPN) in third with 91.20. Stale's words:
My second run felt really good. I was thinking about that run early on and thought I'd do something mellower because of the conditions – but then I decided to go with my original plan at the last minute and it worked out. It feels good to be on top of the podium. I have pipe tomorrow, but I'll do a little bit of celebrating tonight.
Prize money today totalled US $35,000, with the same amount on the table again for tomorrow’s halfpipe finals. Individual results today also counted towards the overall team award, so these top riders have furthered the cause for their respective teams. Points for the off-snow team challenges, the Nokia photo award, slopestyle and halfpipe will be combined, and the team with the highest total score will walk away with an additional US $10,000 to split between them. After today’s results, Team Road Kill has taken the lead but Team Dream Team and Team Young Pucks are close on their heels and could overtake them following the halfpipe finals.
The Burton High Fives will wrap up tomorrow with the halfpipe finals so be sure to check out the live webcast here, starting at 8:45am New Zealand standard time and 4:45 pm EST (September 12).