ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - Earlier this week we put out an article re-capping the Freestyle.ch competition which went down this past weekend in Switzerland. The event was a variety show of action sports, including skateboarders, skiers, snowboarders, and bmx riders. With so many disciplines being featured, the event has taken on multiple meanings. For all you freeskiers out there, Freestyle.ch marks the beginning of the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season, and attracts the biggest names in the sport itching to flex their talents.
The crowds that gathered on Lake Zurich to see what some of freeskiing’s top athletes have put together over the long summer. Judging by the display this past weekend they have been working hard! Atomic was represented by Elias Ambüh, the son of a Swiss National Ski Team champion, Jossi Wells, who is part of one of the craziest freeskiing families in the industry, and Andreas Håtveit who has a catalog of tricks thicker than the phonebook! While they hail from different parts of the globe they all reside on the cutting edge of freeskiing, and have dedicated their lives to progressing the sport.
After a superb qualifier on Saturday, everyone was filled with anticipation by the prospect of the semifinals early on Sunday afternoon. Riders were given 45 minutes to impress the judges, and had to perform one style trick and one technical trick. All of the ATOMIC athletes seemed to hit their form at the right moment, and Andreas Håtveit immediately threw down the gauntlet with his new ‘funky flip’, a switch 180° to barrel role. By following this with a double cork 1080° mute to octo grab his place in the final was all but secure.
Fellow ATOMIC athlete Jossi Wells, a fan favorite, was flawless and stomped his switch double flatspin 1080° and zero spin to ensure his place in the final four. Elias Ambühl meanwhile left himself with a little work to do by crashing his first attempts at a double cork 1440°, but eventually he got the trick nailed, and with his switch 540° japan-nose grab made the cut, along with fellow Swiss, Kai Mahler. With three of the four final spots filled by ATOMIC athletes things were looking good.
With two runs only, ATOMIC athlete Elias Ambühl started the final with a great double cork 1440° high mute. The other riders felt the pressure and all had difficulties. On the second round it was a different story with Elias crashing an attempted double cork 1620°, leaving himself a nervous wait for the other results. Jossi Wells put down his switch double flatspin 1080° and it looked like it could be an all ATOMIC podium when Andreas landed his double cork 1080°, but Swiss rider Kai Mahler used his home advantage and landed his switch double misty 1260°.
After what seemed a lifetime the judges announced the result. It was an ecstatic Elias Ambühl at the top of the podium followed by Kai Mahler, then Jossi Wells, the 2010 AFP world ranking winner, and Andreas Håtveit, the newcomer, in fourth. All in all, it was a fantastic way to kick off the season for the ATOMIC family!
RESULTS FREESTYLE.CH FREESKI BIG AIR
1. Elias Ambühl (SUI)
2. Kai Mahler (SUI)
3. Jossi Wells (NZL)
4. Andreas Håtveit (NOR)
5. Gus Kenworthy (USA)
6. Markus Eder (ITA)
7. Tom Wallisch (USA)
8. Alex Schlopy (USA)