The Stockholm podium:
1. Stefan Gimpl (AUT)
2. Marko Grilc (SLO)
3. Gjermund Braaten (NOR)
Who can stop "the machine"? After having won the first two big airs of the 2010 LG Snowboard FIS World Cup in London and Barcelona, Stefan Gimpl has also clinched the fourth edition of the LG Winterjam in Stockholm. In front of 20.000 spectators, the Austrian veteran not only extended his winning streak to three but also celebrated his fifth triumph in row -- counted over the current and the last season. With a score of 50.8 points he relegated Slovenia's Marko Grilc, who was his only threat in today's final, to the second rank (50.5). All other riders struggled with the conditions making several mistakes; one of them was Gjermund Braaten (NOR) who rounded out the podium as third (38.5).
That he would put another victory to his belt was a huge surprise for Stefan Gimpl today who had never jumped on the podium at one of the three events held so far in Stockholm. Until today, his best result was a fourth rank achieved in 2008. Due to this, he also had intimated two weeks ago, after he had won in Barcelona, that he wasn't expecting much at the season's third big air. And also today, the 30-years-old could hardly believe his luck: "I don't understand it. I don't know why I'm on a roll. Especially as I'm always so nervous on top of the start that I can hardly stand. But when I'm in the in-run everything is blown off."
A little bit later, after his stylish "Cab 900" and "Frontside 900" had secured his career's ninth World Cup triumph, the 2009 World Championships Bronze medallist was able to analyse the competition: "I started pretty laidback. I mean, there aren't that many finals left for me so I try to enjoy all of them. In addition, the conditions proved advantageous. It was how I like it: a steep kicker and a soft landing."
Conditions, which were too tough for almost everybody in the final of the best ten riders. The only one besides Gimpl who kept a clean slate was Marko Grilc. And also he underlined that the soft snow played into his hands. "When the conditions are getting rough, it's challenging. And I like this. This is fun."
No wonder that the Slovenian rider was pretty pleased with his result, although he just missed his career's first World Cup victory by four tenth: "It's not easy for the judges. Therefore, I'm stoked that I landed my tricks ("Backside 1080 Double Cork" and "Frontside 900").
Maybe his time comes at the season's fourth big air which will take place for the first time ever on Asian ground. Seoul, Korea, will host the next ramp show on December 13th. Another rider who will give it another go in Korea is Gian-Luca Cavigelli. The young Swiss talent is Gimpl's strongest pursuer in the World Cup ranking with a deficit of 900 points. Today, due to mistakes in his first two jumps he had to be content with the fourth rank.
The LG Snowboard FIS World Cup will take a break next weekend. The next competition is a Parallel Giant Slalom in Limone Piemonte, Italy, where the race boarders will taste real snow for the first time this winter on December 6th.