On the final day of the O'Neill Evolution 2013 in Davos, the competition reached its climax with eight riders battling it out in the 6 Star World Snowboard Tour Big Air.
Maxence Parrot (CAN) stomped the first ever contest-landed Triple Cork on European snow to take out the Big Air Finals just ahead of 15-year-old Kyle Mack (USA), who scored a world first by putting down the first contest-landed Triple Frontside Rodeo.
The first official action came in the form of the Women’s Big Air Finals. While not a points-earning event for the Women, it was Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) who impressed all week and took out the O’Neill Evolution Women’s title with a huge Backside 360 to Lipslide to Front board, edging out an improving Christine Szumovski (AUT). It was left to the ever-stylish Celia Miller (USA) to complete the podium.
After the Women’s Final and in anticipation of the men’s spectacle, Gian Simmen and the ‘Legends Session’, rolled back the years as some of the sport's greatest European icons tore up the Halfpipe in honor of Simmen's final competitive curtain call.
Among the invited riders were Xaver Hoffman (GER), Nici Pederzolli (AUT), Anita Schwaller (SUI), Michi Albin (SUI), Johnny Eisenhut (SUI), Martina Tscharner (SUI), World Snowboard Tour judges Guillaume Morriset (CAN) and Pascal Imhof (SUI), and no less than World Snowboard Tour President, Reto Lamm (SUI). It proved to be a fitting tribute and a final hurrah to Simmen: the man, the myth, the legend.
Firing up the spectators, event speaker, Henry Jackson, summed it up best when he announced, "We need to organise a Legends World Snowboard Tour. Every single person riding in this session has influenced snowboarding in some major way and the riding has been off the hook."
That said, the 6 Star World Snowboard Tour Big Air climax was always going to be the highlight – and it delivered big time. With the rider field whittled down to the Semifinals, only eight riders were left to battle it out for the World Snowboard Tour Big Air points and the lion's share of the US$ 80,000 prize purse.
Sebastien Toutant (CAN), with a Cab 1260 Double Cork Melon to Backside 270 Gap to Out, was unlucky to go out against Kalle Järvilehto (FIN) in the closest of knockout battles to decide the 4-rider Super Final. With only four riders still standing, the level went up yet another notch, reducing the field to just two riders.
In the last bout of the evening, Maxence Parrot clinically stomped the first ever European contest Triple Cork, scoring a seemingly insurmountable 93.40 - the highest score of the event. The 15-year-old uber-ripper-in-waiting dropped into his second of three runs only to suffer the worst slam of the contest following a failed attempt at the unprecedented Frontside Triple Rodeo.
Having witnesses the slam and leading in the scores, Parrot was obliged to drop in first and decided to go for it, nailing his sickest Triple Cork yet before putting down a smooth Boardslide to Backside Lipslide combo in the rail section. Not surprisingly, the crowd went nuts, and the judges delivered him another highest score of the event with a fully-deserved 96.80.
With the contest all but wrapped up by Parrot, Mack picked himself up from his horror slam and dropped into this third and final run. Stomping a never-seen-before-in-contest Triple Rodeo 1440 Indy, the North American went on to Backside Lipslide to Frontside Noseslide to Fakie the rail section. Nervous moments ensued before the judges returned a 95.00 points score, thus awarding Parrot his biggest contest title to date.
Video: Men's Big Air Final:
Women's Big Air Final: