Words by Cédric Doerig
Photos by Oliver Maccabez
Today was the day. After two days of qualifications and an awesome crossover session last night, it was time to get down to business. The weather was beautiful here on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland, ideal for the crowd (and photos), but not so ideal for the snow, which got a bit wet and heavy. Still, that didn’t bother the eight finalists too much, as they were still up for some fun on the slope.
The final was structured as a jam session, with each rider having four runs to impress the judges. At least one jump had to be judged on style and another on technicality. There was no starting order and the riders were free to choose which category they wanted to be judged in before each jump, with the best jump from each category making the final score.
For those who may not have caught the first two articles, here is today’s starting list:
1) Fridtjof Fredricsson (NOR)
2) Laurent Favre (FRA)
3) Elias Ambühl (SUI)
4) Jon Olsson (SWE)
5) Andreas Hatveit (NOR)
6) TJ Schiller (CAN)
7) Sammy Carlson (USA)
8) Tom Wallisch (USA)
Fridtjof Fredricsson opened the session with a cork 720 bow and arrow, judged in the style category. Laurent Favre then dropped in with a switch 540 shifty to double grab, which followed up by a double cork safety to japan from Jon Olsson. Andreas Hatveit followed Jon’s lead and threw down a double cork 1080, after which we saw the same trick with a mute grab from Sammy Carlson. But before Sammy’s run, TJ Schiller opened his runs in the finals with a stylish flat 540 bow and arrow. Now that all the riders had done their first run, we took a peak at the big screen showing us that Andreas Hatveit was in the lead.
Flatspin 540 from Wallisch
Sammy’s double cork 10 mute…so nice!
Here’s the leaderboard after the first jump:
1) Andreas Hatveit (NOR)
2) Sammy Carlson (USA)
3) Tom Wallisch (USA)
4) Elias Ambühl (SUI)
Already the second run was up with Fridtjof Fredricsson dropping in for a 1080 high mute, followed by Laurent Favre’s well-known switch 720 screamin seamen. Elias was most definitely on top of his game today, as he proved with a very smooth switch double cork 1080 high mute, which got him to the top of the board, but not for long, as Andreas Hatveit followed it up with a cork 720 double nose grab and took the lead in his turn. TJ was really motivated by now and launched the first double cork 1260 of the day, which he didn’t land too smoothly. But as he told Nico Zacek, it wasn’t going to be the last time he’d try it. Sammy Carlson followed with a flat 540 japan to shifty, which allowed him to take the lead. Tom Wallisch thendropped in for a bio 900 mute to shifty, which brought us to the point where all the riders had done two runs each.
Fridtjof Fredricsson in a 1080 High Mute
Laurent Favre and his own special grab of the weekend, the Screamin Seamen
Andreas Hatveit, cork 720 double grab
A quick glance over to the screen shows us:
1. Sammy Carlson (USA)
2. Andreas Hatveit (NOR)
3. Elias Ambühl (SUI)
4. Tom Wallisch (USA)
From this point on, the riders really took to the concept of no starting order. TJ attempted his double cork 1260 twice more but unfortunately fell on both of them. Laurent Favre had another go at a switch 540 shifty to double grab as well as the switch 720 screamin seamen, but it didn’t go over as well as the first one. Fridtjof Fredricsson was also into the 1260 rotations, although with a mute grab, but his attempts also ended with falls. Elias Ambühl took a stab at TJ’s signature trick – the flat 540 bow and arrow – and Andreas Hatveit showed us a cork 720 true tail. Sammy Carlson varied his 540 a bit with a japan to mute, and after TJ’s last run, Nico Zacek announced the end of the finals. This of course upset Tom Wallisch, who was on top of the in run, ready for is fourth and final run. Once this was done, we got the final results:
Elias Ambühl and his flatspin 5 bow’n’arrow
Sammy Carlson throws down a stylish 540 japan to mute
TJ Schiller gave it his all but didn’t land his double cork 1260 mute
1) Sammy Carlson (USA) - 186.25
2) Elias Ambühl (SUI) - 173.75
3) Andreas Hatveit (NOR) - 170.75
4) Jon Olsson (SWE) - 168.75
5) Tom Wallisch (USA) - 168.00
6) Fridtjof Fredricsson (NOR) - 160.50
7) Laurent Favre (FRA) - 153.00
8) TJ Schiller (CAN) - 100.75
After some time chilling in the riders lounge, it was time for the four superfinalists to head up to the top of the in run for the last time this weekend. The superfinals were broadcasted live on Swiss national television and all across the world in over 180 countries, so the pressure was on. But then again, it didn’t take long to make out a winner with a two run format where only the best run counts. The superfinals were only judged in the technical category, so there was no more worrying about combining two categories, just simple, straightforward skiing.
Jon Olsson went first with a double cork 1080 cannonball, followed by Andreas Hatveit’s double cork 1080 double high mute. Elias Ambühl dropped in switch for his double cork 1080 double grab and Sammy Carlson took the lead immediately after his double cork 1080 mute.
Jon Olsson and his weird double cork 1080 cannonball
Andreas Hatveit, double cork 10, double high mute
Here’s the ranking after the first run of Superfinals:
1) Sammy Carlson (USA)
2) Andreas Hatveit (NOR)
3) Jon Olsson (SWE)
4) Elias Ambühl (SUI)
The second run didn’t go very well for Jon and Andreas, with Jon falling on the landing and Andreas barely avoiding the same fate. However Elias landed an amazing switch double cork 1080 and stomped the other two down as he took second place. At this point it was clear: Sammy Carlson was the winner of the 2009 freestyle.champ title in freeski. He therefore took it easy on his final jump before joining the others at the bottom of the slope.
Elias took second place with this incredible switch double cork 1080 double grab…
…and first place went to our new freestyle.champ, Sammy Carlson, here in his winning trick; double cork 10 mute
1) Sammy Carlson (USA) - 95.50
2) Elias Ambühl (SUI) - 94.50
3) Andreas Hatveit (NOR) - 91.50
40 Jon Olsson (SWE) - 85.25
Sammy starts the interviews
The boys didn’t win, but were still very happy to ride in the superfinals
Before we conclude our time at the 2009 edition of Freestyle.ch here in Zurich, let’s take a look at what went down in the superfinals of the other sports.
1) Eero Ettala (FIN)
2) Sebastien Toutant (CAN)
3) Christian Haller (SUI)
4) Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI)
1) Paul-Luc Ronchetti (GBR)
2) Daniel Mayer (USA)
3) Jürgen Horrwarth (GER)
4) Sandro Dias (BRA)
1) Dany Torres (ESP)
2) Charles Pagès (FRA)
3) Mathieu Rebeaud (SUI)
4) Daisuke Suzuki (JPN)
That’s all from Freestyle.ch Zurich, but stay tuned for a bit more coverage as we’ll be dropping video interviews with some of the riders in the next few days. Plus, Freestyle.ch Berlin is just around the corner and will basically be a rematch, since the starting list looks exactly the same except for Richard Permin replacing Laurent Favre. So stay tuned…