(LAAX – January 18, 2020) – The LAAX OPEN 2020 ended today with a bang: When daylight disappeared, the long awaited Halfpipe Night Finals went down under floodlight with thousands of spectators lining up along the LAAX Superpipe on Crap Sogn Gion witnessing the world’s best Halfpipe riders live in action. Queralt Castellet (SPA) & Scotty James (AUS) claimed the prestigious LAAX OPEN Halfpipe titles, taking home not only the trophy but also CHF 25.000 each.
Snowflakes were falling when riders were getting ready to drop into the Halfpipe underneath GALAAXY. In the women’s field the only European rider in the finals, Queralt Castellet from Spain, was clearly in the lead after the first run. She started off with a huge Lien Air, a Backside 900 Mute, followed by a Frontside 900 Melon, Air to Fakie, finishing off with a Switch Backside 540 Mute. She was the rider to beat in the 2nd run but none of the other contestants was able to get close to her except the two Chinese riders Xuetong Cai & Jiayu Liu who both had incredible 2nd runs and ended up 2nd and 3rd respectively. Queralt, who finally stands on top of the LAAX OPEN podium after ending up 3rd in 2018 and 2nd in 2019 here in LAAX, was overwhelmed after enjoying her victory lap: “I’m super stoked. A dream came true winning here in LAAX. It’s my favorite place to ride, my favorite pipe to ride. I’m out of words!” Noteworthy is Haruna Matsumoto from Japan who went full risk tonight throwing down a Frontside 1080 which she stomped in her 2nd run. She is the only woman in the World Cup Circuit currently doing this trick.
In the men’s finals all eyes were on last year’s LAAX OPEN Champion Scotty James, who won the last 8 events he entered. And he dominated again. Already with his first run he moved into untouchable territory. The last one to drop in the first round he threw down an incredible run starting off with a Switch Backside 1260 Indy, Cab 1080 Mute, Frontside 900 Nose, Backside Double 1260 Mute and a spectacular Frontside 1440 Stalefish on the last hit. With Scotty being in the lead after Run 1 and Yuto Totsuka sitting in 2nd place with a phenomenal first run including a Frontside Double 1440, which has never been seen before in a pipe comp, their fellow competitors went full risk in the 2nd run to be able to improve their scores. No one was able to top Scotty’s and Yuto’s score, so who would be the riders completing the podium? It was Taylor Gold, who was sitting in 12th position, who was on fire for his second run. After Yuto also Taylor wowed the crowd with a trick, which has never been seen in a Halfpipe comp before, a Double Chuck 1080 Melon to Indy, which catapulted him into 3rd place. Like last year Scotty James was the very last rider to drop enjoying another victory lap. And like in 2019 he decided to give back to the fans with high-fives down the pipe. Scotty said: “I feel absolutely amazing, I knew tonight was gonna be really tough. I knew Yuto was gonna bring it, so I was ready to go for it in the 2nd run if I had to. I didn’t take anything for granted, but it sure is sweet being able to have a victory lap like this. Thanks to everyone coming out, all the people of LAAX, it means the world to me.”
Earlier in the day the very first LAAX OPEN TAG TEAM Crossover Slopestyle Session took place, a new showcase with freeskiers and snowboarders riding the upper section of the course. 6 mixed teams with 3 riders each had to hit the course together and be creative as a team. The true spirit of Freestyle sports was on display, as it was all about having fun riding together with your buddies. Team SERENITY with Fabio Studer (Ski), Maxi Preissinger (Snowboard) and local rider Xeno Lehnherr (Ski) took home the first TAG TEAM title.
Since decades LAAX is all about Freestyle and tonight everyone on the mountain clearly felt that spirit. This is why it is no surprise that LAAX is the favorite resort of so many riders from all across the world. Spectacular riding combined with the party at Hangar up on the mountain followed by even more entertainment in rocksresort with MIA. live in concert – all of this made today a day to remember. See you in 2021 for the next edition of Europe’s premier Snowboarding event!