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Sunday, April 10, 2011
James Woods sweeps Backyard Battle

By John Symms
ESPN Action Sports

James Woods swept the Backyard Battle, a new contest held this week at Andreas Håtveit's home in Sundalen, Norway. The British skier won the rail jam Wednesday, beating out Finnish skier Oskari Raitanen in second and Frenchman Jeremy Pancras in third. On Thursday, Woods took the big air over Norwegians Klaus Finne and Thomas Dolplads, who finished in second and third, respectively.

Just a couple weeks earlier, Woods finished third in the Slopestyle at Winter X Europe, his first time on a Winter X podium. The young Brit was happy to continue his hot streak at the Backyard Battle. "[I'm] really happy, it's brilliant," Woods said after winning the big air. "I was so stoked to be here and be invited. It's been the most fun week."

The rail jam was an eight-man, single elimination tournament. Skiers competed head-to-head in six-minute rounds with the winner determined by votes from three judges. Woods eliminated Finne in the quarterfinals and Pancras in the semifinals to reach the final round, where he faced Oskari Raitanen.

In the final round, Woods relied on technical trick -- 630s off of the flat-to-gap rail and various combinations of 270s, rail transfers and switch ups on the parallel down rails highlighted his runs. It was a close contest with the judges' vote split one to one between Woods and Raitanen. Jossi Wells, who became a judge in the contest after an injury forced him to withdraw from competing, cast the tiebreaking vote in favor of Woods. Pancras beat out Swede Niklas Eriksson in the consolation round to secure third overall.

Woods continued his run at the big air, advancing through Norwegians PC Fosse in the quarterfinals and Dolplads in the semifinals.

The final round set Woods head-to-head with Finne in a best-of-five format. Woods took an early lead, winning the first two jumps with clean double cork 12s. Finne got one back on the next jump with a switch cork 9 shifty after Woods fell attempting a switch 12. Woods won the contest on the fourth jump, landing a cork seven truck driver after Finne faltered attempting a double cork 10. Thomas Dolplads bested Ole Mustad in the consolation round to take third place.

Backyard Battle Rail Jam Podium
  1. James Woods (ENG)
  2. Oskari Raitanen (FIN)
  3. Jeremy Pancras (FRA)

Backyard Battle Big Air Podium
  1. James Woods (ENG)
  2. Klaus Finne (FIN)
  3. Thomas Dolplads (NOR)