Words by Dan Eros
Photos by Dan Eros & Sarah Richards
After an outstanding booter session on Sunday, the Tignes Airwaves wrapped up the freestyle portion of the event with the pipe comp Monday night. The team battle format was set to continue with North America (yes, mainly Canadians, but who's counting) versus the Euros.
Team North America
A few seasons ago most Euro riders would have looked to North America for perfect parks and pipes, but Tignes has shown for the last few years that's no longer true, and once again the "demi-tube" was looking good.
Expectations were high after the technical levels and style on display for the big air session, but unfortunately injuries decimated the North American team forcing TJ Schiller, Josh Bibby, Ian Cosco and 2008 Airwaves pipe winner Mike Riddle to pull out.
From that point on, the comp wasn't really a comp but did offer the crowd a chance to witness some solid runs all around and gave the Euros (yes, mainly Frenchies, but we're still not counting) a chance to show off on home ground. AJ Kemppainen threw some insane spins on all axes, and Kevin Rolland went big on both runs and got both the biggest cheers of the night and an eyeful on the podium for his trouble.
Props to Thomas Krief and Xavier Bertoni for also going big and Dane Tudor for repping North America with the frontflip drop-ins.
The Euros took the night with a final score of 13-5, but a real competition wasn't really in the cards. Despite the injury issue though, the team format was a solid idea that kept things fresh, and the organizers deserved better luck for their efforts. Still, at least declaring a winner was an excuse for the usual Tignes podium hottie to make an appearance.
Kevin Rolland gets an eyeful after leading Team Europe to victory.