International and national pro snowboarders and freeskiers were riding at Absolut Park Flachauwinkl for five days to battle it out and film some firstclass runs at Spring Battle — one of the last events on the 2017 contest schedule. Snowboarders Emil Ulsletten and Yuka Fujimori and freeskiers Quinn Wolferman and Sofia Tchernetsky convinced the judges with stylish, technical and clean tricks and finally won their categories.
Norwegian Emil Ulsletten showed an impressive run with a gap boardslide 270 on the double kinked rail, a blunt 270 on the down rail, a frontside 540 frontside grab on the spine, a switch backside triple cork 14 mute grab and a cab 1080 nosegrab on the kickers. Quinn Wolferman from the USA beat his competitors with a transfer 450 270 out on the double kinked rail, a nosebutter 540 in the quarter pipe, a rightside 270 on the down rail, a bio 9 reverse Japan switch right in the spine, a double 9 safety grab and a left double misty 10 safety grab on the kickers. Japanese Yuka Fujimori was far ahead of the other girls with a switch boardslide on the down rail, a noseblunt lipslide on the down rail, an indy air on the spine, a frontside 360 frontside grab and a backside 720 mute grab on the kickers and the 14-year-old Canadian Sofia Tchernetsky was throwing it down, even though she was the only female freeskier to hand in a run. US-American Grant Giller pleased the crowd with a stylish line on a fishtail board.
The slopestyle course featured a double kinked rail, a down rail, a transfer rail, a quarter, a spine, and two kickers this year. The obstacles were demanding and riders kept commenting the sitze of the huge kickers with their 22 and 24 meter tables, but the setup left room for creativity and a lot of airtime for massive corks and spins. The course was supposed to be challenging, because the World Snowboard Tour had upgraded it to a WST Elite Level Event, and in the Association of Freeskiing Professionals it was ranked as an AFP Gold Event. For the contestants, more tour points and a higher price money were on stake this year: 70.000 US-Dollars were distributed to the top four riders in all categories — even though the event felt more like a relaxed jam session with friends than a nerve-wracking contest.
For the third time, Spring Battle went down as a follow cam jam session: This means that riders team up, film each other’s runs as often as they like during the jam sessions, and each hand in the best run for judging at the end of the contest.
"I wanted to come here a long time, but this year is my first time to do Spring Battle, and I’m really happy to be here. The follow cam session is really fun, It’s not like a real contest — I don’t like contests so much, because there is only two runs, but here you can try any trick and have fun at a contest — it’s really nice! ", said Japanese snowboarder Yuka Fujimori excitedly.
Sofia Tchernetsky was equally enthusiastic about the format: "The format is really encouraging, I’ve never done a competition like this — with filming instead of formally two runs and being judged and then finals — you just have to throw it all down for a video and you have so many opportunities to do that and get your best run possible, that’s great."
Swiss freeskier Kai Mahler was taking competing at Spring Battle for the third time in a row. Will he come again? "Definitely. It is always nice, every year. Until now, weather has always been good, at least for a couple of days, and it is sick here."
Belgian snowboarder Seppe Smits, who is on the podium for the seventh time in a row at Spring Battle, tells us why he comes back every year: "I guess the contest here is really fun, and we’re all staying in the chalets as well, so all the riders are just hanging around together. And I don’t feel so much pressure at this contest. For some reason the weather is always nice, so it’s just really fun to end the season with a good contest."
Spring Battle is part of the World Snowboard Tour and the Association of Freeskiing
|Freeski Men||Snowboard Men||Snowboard Women||Freeski Women|
|1||Quinn Wolferman (USA)||Emil Ulsletten (NOR)||Yuka Fujimori (JPN)||Sofia Tchernetsky (CAN)|
|2||Gus Kenworthy (USA)||Brandon Davis (USA)||Tess Coady (AUS)|
|3||Eirik Sateroy (NOR)||Seppe Smits (BEL)||Hanne Eilertsen (NOR)|
|4||Ethan Swadburg (USA)||Kaito Inamura (JPN)||Nora Frisvold (NOR)|
|5||Lyon Farrell (USA)||Noah Wallace (USA)||Andrea Straume (NOR)|