Sixteen-year-old Marker Völkl Freeski team member Oystein Braaten took bronze at the tenth annual Austrian Freeski Open in Kaprun.
Over two hundred athletes from all over the world entered into the prestigious competition for the opportunity to ski on the renowned Kitzsteinhorn glacier. Braaten, a young Norway native, was amongst many talented skiers, making his way to Austria. The Freeski Open in the only AFP Gold level slopestyle event in Europe, making it one of the most important and most progressive of the season.
The athletes had plenty of time to set up some impressive tricks on this lengthy course. It included a bonk feature at the top going into a flat-down gap box or a down rail, with both jib features requiring athletes to showcase their creativity. The jibs flowed into a hip gap then a flat barrel rail, directly in front of the onlookers. With the end came the jumps, a poppy 60-foot step over followed by a 70-foot step down with a long landing. Spectators were endlessly entertained all week, cheering on the daring athletes as their flew down the mountain .
Braaten had a rough time in the beginning of the competition, barely making it to the semi finals after opening with some shaky tricks. It was at the next level that he met the fourteen pre-qualified athletes, numerous X Games medalists among them. Braaten rose to the occasion, strongly supported by huge crowds and sailed through the semis flawlessly. The finals went off without a hitch with some remarkable tricks including a 720° tail tap, 450° on to the down box, switch right 720° over the hip, a switch 270° on 810° off the barrel, switch left double 900° finishing off with a double cork 1260°. It was this fantastic run that earned him an 85.75 and secured him the bronze. Andreas Hatveit and Gus Kenworthy took first and second with 91.50 and 94.25 respectively. After this performance, it seems the young Norwegian has a long career ahead of him in the freeski world.