The Billabong Air & Style was in Innsbruck, the spiritual home of the tour, over the weekend. The competition took place in the Bergisel Stadium in front of 11,000 fans and is based on a knock-out system with riders competing in a one-on-one format with the biggest, cleanest trick winning.
The competition has three main stages, last mont'hs Beijing tournament, this week's Innsbruck round and finishes in Munich. The Air & Style is also renowned for competition firsts including the likes of Mikel Bang's double cork and Travis Rice's double-rodeo late 180. With a big ticket to live up to this year's competition didn't fail to impress.
A whole host of the TTR's top riders and a couple of former Olympians turned up including Peetu Piiroinen, Antti Autti, Scotty Lago, Mark Grilc and the winner of last month's competition Seb Toutant. The elimination-style rounds led the usual surprises and some huge early tricks going down including another competition first when Sage Kotsenburg landed a cab 1440 double cork.
The early rounds saw Scotty Lago and Seb Toutant knocked out quicker than expected, though TTR champion, and current leader, Peetu Piiroinen, wowed his way into the final taking second place in a perfectly executed 1080 double cork. The Finnish snowboarder was pleased with the result: "This event exceeded all my expectations, I would not have thought I could make [the] top three as I have had a small injury with my rib. I got good TTR points today and being number one at this point is great. My toughest competitors to watch out for are definitely Seb Toots, Iouri Podladtchikov and Mark McMorris."
The surprise winner was was on Canada's rising stars, as Mark McMorris added a 6 star TTR win to an already impressive season. The teenage riders got the 11,000 crowd going with his perfect cab 1260 double cork.
British snowboarder Jamie Nicholls also added to what is turning out to be a great season with third place in the rookies competition and leaves him in a great position midway through the season. With Aimee Fuller due to compete in the Arctic challenge and both expected at the Burton European Open alongside Jenny Jones, British snowboarding is looking in good shape.
Written by Stephen Adam