Words & photos by Jeff Schmuck

The second to last day of the sixth annual European Open just concluded with men's and women's slopestyle finals, and what a day it was here in Laax, Switzerland.

With more stellar weather shining down on the vast terrain surrounding the pristine and unique slopestyle course, and a throng of determined athletes that included some of the biggest names in slopestyle along with some hungry, hungry European up and comers, the stage was set early for another amazing day of competition.

Andri Ambuhl

Gaute Silseth

Up first was the men's semi-finals, where the 38 athletes who qualified on Wednesday along with pre-qualified riders Jossi Wells and Elias Ambuhl squared off against each other in a spring time battle for one of the 12 sought after spots in finals.

Byron Wells, Jeremy Pancras, Elias Ambuhl & Roy Kittler

Making the most of their two runs (where the best one counted) and moving on to the big show later in the afternoon were Fridtjof Fredricsson, Oscar Scherlin, Joss Christensen, Jeremy Pancras, Byron Wells, Antti Ollila, Kim Boberg, Lauri Kivari, Roy Kittler, Oscar Wester, and to no one's surprise, Elias Ambuhl and Jossi Wells, all of whom taught the course and curious one-piece and furry hat wearing onlookers a lesson on what freeskiing is all about.

Byron Wells

Elias Ambuhl

Fridtjof Fredricsson

Joss Christensen

Following the men 10 lovely ladies took to the course to duke it out for one of the six spots in finals, and although the hard working event organizers and park crew here in Laax went out of their way to accommodate them by constructing separate take-off's on each of the jumps, the majority of the girls sacked up and sent it off the big sides with many impressive tricks. In the end, Marine Tripier Mondancin, Emilie Cruz, Caja Schopf, Emma Dahlstrom, Maria Bagge and Katie Summerhayes got the nod from the judges for their time to shine in an exciting final consisting of more than a few relative newcomers, as many of the usual suspects are not in attendance.

Emma Dahlstrom

After a short break for lunch and some training sessions, it was time for finals, where the men and women's runs were intertwined, with the ladies first run kicking things off, followed by the men's first run, and then back to the ladies and then the men again for their second and final crack at it.

Taking sixth place amongst the girls was Emilie Cruz, who had a spot of trouble on each of her runs, followed by Marine Tripier Mondancin in fifth and Caja Schopf in fourth, who put down a nice 3 and 7 during her first run.

Emilie Cruz

Grabbing the third spot on the podium was England's Katie Summerhayes, who has already been making some waves this winter and continued to do so today with a stylish switch 5, 7 and 9 on the jumps.

Katie Summerhayes

In second was Maria Bagge, who put down a 270 on, switch-up, 270 out on the down box followed by a switch 5 to another 5 and a switch 3 at the bottom with some solid grabs to boot.

Maria Bagge

And planting herself on top of the steps was Sweden's Emma Dahlstrom, who put it all together with some of the biggest airs of the day with a switch 5 to huge cork 7 to 5 down in booter town.

Emma Dahlstrom

On the men's side of things, Kim Boberg ended up in 12th after bobbling on both of his runs, followed by Lauri Kivari in 11th and Jossi Wells in 10th, who was skiing extremely well today and took first place in semi-finals but had some trouble on both of his runs during his switch right 10. Here's hoping we get to see Jossi back on the box soon, perhaps even as early as tomorrow during superpipe finals.

Kim Boberg

Lauri Kivari

Jossi Wells

In ninth was Antti Ollila, who seems to ski more and more impressively each and every time he clicks into his bindings, followed by Fridtjof Fredricsson in eighth, who unleashed an absolutely perfect dub cork 10 on the second jump along with a smooth switch 9 on the first and a sick as a dog switch 10 on the last.

Antti Ollila

Fridtjof Fredricsson

Taking seventh was Byron Wells, who continued the slopestyle mission he's been on as of late with one of the cleanest and biggest switch dub 9's in the business, while one of the top qualifiers, Jeremy Pancras, scored sixth with a switch 9 to dub 10 to flatspin 9.

Byron Wells

Jeremy Pancras

Fifth place went to Joss Christensen, who laid out a steezy dub 12 to switch right 10 to switch double 10, thus continuing to have himself quite the season, while Oscar Wester (Jacob's younger and identical looking brother) just missed the podium in fourth, but prompted much chatter about when we'll get to see him compete against his big bro after putting down a killer run that consisted of a flatspin 10 to double flatspin 9 to switch 10.

Joss Christensen

Oscar Wester

The level of competition today was in a word, flawless, as almost none of the finalists fell on their runs, causing the judges to have a hell of a time figuring out who should take the top three spots and many in attendance to thank their lucky charms it wasn't up to them. But in the end, third place went to Oscar Scherlin, who has been skiing better than ever this year and put his trademark smooth style on full display with a 180 on 360 out of the stall rail followed by some switch-up 270's out on the next two features and a switch 9, double 10 and right cork 9 on the jumps.

Oscar Scherlin

In second was an absolutely elated Roy Kittler, who just a week after getting third at the Austrian Open stepped it up a notch with a quiver of 270 on, 270 off's on the rails and a switch right 10 to switch left 9 to right cork 9 on the bottom half of the course.

Roy Kittler

And although the rest of the field was tight, no one could touch Elias Ambuhl today, who in front of a massive crowd of Swiss fans screaming for their country's biggest freeskiing star absolutely dominated the course and his fellow competitors. Starting with a big 270 disaster onto the first rail and then later being the only person to get inverted off the Volkl Rocker box with an underflip, Ambuhl then roared into the jumps with break neck speed and unleashed a dub 10 high mute to gigantic right 9 to switch double cork 12 on his first run, easily securing the victory by six points and $10,000 in cold hard cash.

Elias Ambuhl

Congratulations to Ambuhl and Dahlstrom, and stay tuned for our last bit of coverage on the sixth annual European Open in Laax, Switzerland, which concludes tomorrow with men's and women's superpipe semi-finals and finals.


Women's Semi-Finals

1) Katie Summerhayes - 81.33

2) Maria Bagge - 77.33

3) Emma Dahlstrom - 74.50


Caja Schöpf - 73.83

5) Emilie Cruz - 72.00


Marine Tripier Mondancin - 71.83


7) Katrien Aerts - 70.00

8) Emma Hogland - 65.67

9) Megane Collomb - 63.67

10) Tanja Gmur - 19.17

Alexanda Nicole - DNS

Eva-Maria Patscheider - DNS

Julia Neumann - DNS

Lena Stoffel - DNS

Virginie Faivre - DNS

Women's Finals

1) Emma Dahlstrom - 82.17

2) Maria Bagge - 79.50

3) Katie Summerhayes - 78.00

4) Caja Schöpf - 70.67

5) Marine Tripier Mondancin - 62.33

6) Emilie Cruz - 47.83

Men's Semi-Finals

1) Jossi Wells - 82.33

2) Oscar Wester - 80.50

3) Elias

Ambühl - 80.33

4) Roy Kittler - 78.83

5) Lauri Kavari - 77.17

6) Kim Boberg - 77.00

7) Antti Ollila - 76.83

8) Byron Wells - 76.00

9) Jeremy Pancras - 75.83

10) Joss Christensen - 74.50

11) Oscar Scherlin - 74.00


Fridtjof Fredricsson - 73.67


13) Maximilliam Smith - 72.83

14) Nicolas Vuignier - 72.00

15) Florian Geyer - 71.83

16) Otso Raisanen - 69.67

17) Jonas Hunziker - 69.67

18) Oystein Braten - 69.67

19) Thomas Kobel - 67.17

20) Jesper Tjader - 66.83

21) Morten Grape - 66.33

22) David Ortlieb - 63.83

23) Victor Berard - 62.00

24) Yannic Lerjen - 61.83

25) Maxime Fornier - 61.17

26) Erik Hughes - 60.83

27) Lucas Hogland - 59.50

28) Cyrill

Hunziker - 59.17

29) Silvan Jager - 58.33

30) Julian Ball - 58.17

31) Sami

Ortlieb - 55.33

32) Laurent Demartin - 53.67

33) Gaute Silseth - 49.50

34) Andri Ambuhl - 42.17

35) Frederick Iliano - 38.83

36) Jaime Puigdengoles - 33.50

37) Tyler Harding - 33.00

38) Niklas Eriksson - 21.17

James Woods - DNS

Alexander Hebbe - DNS

Men's Finals

1) Elias Ambühl - 86.33

2) Roy Kittler - 80.83

3) Oscar Scherlin - 77.33

4) Oscar Wester - 76.00

5) Joss Christensen - 75.83

6) Jeremy Pancras - 75.67

7) Byron Wells - 75.00

8) Fridtjof Fredricsson - 74.17

9) Antti Ollila - 72.50

10) Jossi Wells - 69.50

11) Lauri Kivari - 66.00

12) Kim Boberg- 16.00