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Big air specialists from around the globe converged on Zurich, Switzerland, over the weekend for the Freestyle.CH contest. The first major contest of the 2010-2011 season made a great kickoff party for Swede Henrik Harlaut who won the freeski event. American wunderkind Tom Wallisch narrowly missed advancing to the finals in that event, but struck gold later in the crossover session, a crowd judged contest with competitors from freeski, snowboard and skate.
Heavy rains through the beginning of the weekend meant an added degree of difficulty. After waiting through a two-hour rain delay, the freeski field struggled to find speed and a sure footing on the rain-soaked approach and landing area. Simon Dumont, Tom Wallisch, Sammy Carlson, Bene Mayr, PK Hunder, Andreas Håtveit, Elias Ambühl and Henrik Harlaut advanced from the qualification round, bringing out their best tricks, despite the tough conditions.
|Henrik Harlaut, champion of the event, impressed during the "Style" part of qualifications with this cork 900 double tail grab.|
|Tom Wallisch receiving the crown for crossover champion, an award given to the crowd favorite from the full event, all sports included.|
On Saturday night, after the completion of the qualification rounds, the top six athletes from each discipline represented at Freestyle.CH (snowboard, skateboard, and freeski), crossed sport lines to compete against each other in the crossover session. With crowd reaction the sole criterion for choosing the crossover session winner, Tom Wallisch proved the value of a good reputation. Throughout the session, competitors executed the most difficult tricks at their disposal. No spinning, flipping double could prove a match, however, for Wallisch and his slow-rotating layout backflips the crowd named him crossover champion, the winner of the crossover session (see also: Travis Rice, Winter X 13 snowboard big air).
The clouds cleared on Sunday for the final round of the freeski big air. Despite the improvement in the weather, negotiating difficult conditions remained a major factor in the contest. With the exception of winner Henrik Harlaut, the final round competitors were visibly having trouble with the landing made so slushy by the heavy rains that pervaded the previous 24 hours. Norwegians PK Hunder and Andreas Håtveit both failed to land cleanly in the finals. The Swiss Ambühl had trouble with the squishy landing initially, but on his final try managed to ride away from a double cork 1080 with a new double-handed grab. The 19-year-old Swede Harlaut looked much less fazed, effortlessly stomping a switch double flatspin 900 for the win.
|Freestyle.CH Freeski Big Air Final Results|
|1||Henrik Harlaut||Å, SWE||93.00|
|2||Elias Ambühl||Masein, CH||91.00|
|3||Andreas Håtveit||Hovet, NOR||68.00|
|4||PK Hunder||Oyer, NOR||18.00|
|View Complete Results »|