The fifth annual “White Style presented by Kona” winter slopestyle competition held last Friday with more than 2,000 spectators attending. The White Style course, designed and built by Kona Clump team rider Grant “Chooper” Fielder, was built entirely out of snow and featured different elements such as an igloo at the start with a small drop, a set of two doubles, followed by a pair of fruit bowl combinations with a 15 foot drop with a huge double at the finish. From the last gap, some riders reached air up to 25 feet. Highlights will be uploaded to www.watch26.tv soon.
The first training session of the event was held on Thursday, showing that the riders were already quite comfortable with the course. This showed thru more on Friday. Some riders even changed from their small travel full suspension bikes to hardtails which gives proof of the smooth course despite all the air time.
The qualifications on Friday evening were dominated by Swedish rider Martin Soederstroem (technical and clean riding including double tailwhips), Yannick Graneri form France (showing the biggest backflips in a contest to date), American Cam McCaul (showing off great style with a big bag of tricks), Canadian Darren “The Claw” Berrecloth (performing 360 look downs at his best). Rounding out the qualifying top eight were: Linus Sjoeholm from Sweden, Amir Kabbani from Germany, Sam Pilgrim from Great Britain, and Jamie Goldman from the United States.
Onto the finals it was a different story. Martin Soeerstroem, could not finish his run due to a technical issue. On his second run he crashed hard while trying to pull a double tailwhip after overshooting the 40 foot gap. His finals performance landed him in 11th place. Jamie Goldman showed a huge backflip off the big fruit bowl, but unfortunately for him, he slipped from his pedals landing a backflip superman at the last double putting him in a 7th place finish. Cam McCaul, Darren Berrecloth and Amir Kabbani each showed clean runs that featured backflip tailwhips, super seaters, opposite 360s, 360 x-ups and backflips but none of them would finish in the top three. Instead that honor went to the countries of France, Sweden, and Great Britain.
Yannick Granieri caught the most air in Leogang with huge 360s, backflips and tailwhips in his first run. He could have finished in first place had he landed his 360 tailwhip drop in his second run. Unforutnately he over rotated and missed the following jumps. At the end he finished third, starting off his year with a top three performance on his new bike.
Linus Sjoeholm, Martin Soederstoem’s riding partner, was the big surprise of the event. He put together a cleanly executed run that impressed spectators and judges alike. 360 at the starting drop, double tailwhip at the first double, superman at the second jump, backflip off the fruit bowl, barspin into the 2nd fruit bowl, tailwhipping the big drop and finishing his run with with a flipwhip at the last double. His performance garnered him a second place finish and cash prize of 1,000 euros.
The man of the event was Sam Pilgrim. His run featured a tailwhip at the start, frontflip at the first double, backflip no hander at the second, 360 x-up out of the fruit bowl, tuck nohander and backflip at the 2nd fruit bowl and a backflip table at the last jump. When approached for a quote about his performance and 1,800 euro cash prize he proclaimed,” I will spend all the money on sweets, for real! Crashing on the snow is not that funny, because it’s much harder than you might think. It took me a bit to cope with it when I competed the first time at the White Style, but man, it was fun this year and Chopper did a really good job, big respect!”
For the rest of the results , three riders from North America finished in the top ten: Darren Berrecloth fifth place, Cam McCaul sixth place and Jamie Goldman seventh. Two of Great Britain’s well known faces: Sam Reynolds and Grant Fiedler came in eight and ninth place respectively. The top 12 were: 1 -Sam Pilgrim (Diamondback – GBR), 2 – Linus Sjoholm (Scott – SWE), 3 – Yannick Graneri (Commencal – FRA), 4 – Amir Kabbani (Mongoose – GER), 5 – Darren Berrecloth (Specialized – CAN), 6 – Cameron McCaul (Trek – USA), 7 – Jamie Goldman (Santa Cruz – USA), 8 – Sam Reynolds (DMR – GBR), 9 – Grant Fiedler (Kona – GBR), 10 – Niki Leitner (YT Industries – AUT), 11 – Martin Soderstrom (NS Bikes – SWE), 12 – Jakub Venci (AGang – CZE).
Fans can view the entire event online at www.servustv.com and on digital satellite receiver. It will also be broadcast on March 6th at 11:30 pm CET. For more information on the Whte Style event partners Kona, CamelBak, Bikepark Leogang and ONE BIG PARK, check out – www.konaworld.com, www.camelbak.com, www.onebigpark.at and www.bikepark-leogang.com