Elias Ambühl wins Austrian Open

The Swiss newcomer shows a perfect run, his brother Andri Ambühl places second in front of Freeskier of the year 2008 Bene Mayr in third. Patrick Hollaus is Austrian Champion.

3rd place for Bene Mayr.  Copyright: Tom BauseYesterday was a worthy Finals’ Day for the seventh edition of the Austrian Freeski Open. Under bright blue skies 30 competitors showcased the highest riding level that could have been witnessed at a freeski contest in Austria. 16-year-old Elias Ambühl simply had a perfect run with an unbelievably clean and stylish Switch Double Corked 1080° Japan.

Says Rafael Regazzoni, the event’s Head Judge from France: ”That was most likely the best double cork 10 that I have ever seen. He couldn‘t have done anything better!“ Patrick Hollaus claimed the title as Austrian Champion. As usual, he impressed with a clean style on the kickers and finished fifth overall.

The men’s finals took off in the morning with two rounds for 30 competitors: the 15 best riders from Wednesday’s qualification plus 15 invited pros. The riding level was incredibly high from the very beginning. Elias Ambühl dropped into the course of two rail set-ups and two kickers as second and put on a huge show: 270° Out at the down rail, 450° Out at the up box, Switch Leftside 720° Nose Grab over the first kicker and then the aforementioned Double Cork to perfection on the final jump. This run set a milestone! The only rider who came close to the leading Swiss in the first round was Bene Mayr from Munich: 270° On 270° Out at the down rail, 270° On 630° Out at the up box and then Switch Rightside 720° Mute followed by Switch Leftside Misty 900° Tail Grab at the kickers. More technical rail tricks, but less air prowess.

In the second heat Andri Ambühl, Elias’ older brother, improved into second place. His run consisted of 270° On Pretzel 270° Out at the down rail, 270° On 270° Out at the up box and Switch Rightside 1080° Mute to Switch Leftside 1080° True Mute and almost clipped the top score, but just missed that little certain something. Otherwise the top spots were unchanged when the 10 best riders had the chance to up their score in the first round of the afternoon’s superfinals. The first to take advantage was Oscar Scherlin, the big favorite since he had won several international contests last year. However, the young Swede just came short of the podium and moved into fourth spot with a Lipslide 270° Backside Out on the down rail, a Cork 630° Out at the up box and a Bio 900° Japan followed by a Switch 1080° True Mute over the kickers.

Another rider to improve was Patrick Hollaus from Pinzgau, who showed a 270° Nose Out at the up box and a super stylish Cork 900° Tail Grab to Switch 1080° True Mute combination on the kicker line. Thus Patrick replaced fellow Austrian Marlon Holzmann in fifth place and already secure the title of Austrian Champion, as only the top four got another chance to improve in the second round of the superfinals. However, as the conditions got more difficult when the lower kicker was shaded in the afternoon, the riders didn’t managed to improve their scores. Notably Beni Mayr and Oscar Scherlin failed with double flip attempts.

The suprising and glorious winner in the end was Elias Ambühl, who expressed his feelings after the prize giving: ”It‘s awesome! This was my first big contest of the season and I immediately finished on the top. Now I hope I can continue like that.“ But not only the young Swiss was happy about the event, the other riders were enthusiastic as well. Said Bene Mayr, fellow team rider of Elias: ”The course and the whole organization of the event have simply been perfect throughout the event. I am really happy with my third place. The Penken Park is my home ground, but I was injured earlier this season and just managed to come back to full force beginning of the week. Elias deserves the victory, his double cork was just amazing!“ Patrick Hollaus, Austrian Champion for the second time in a row, added: ”I am happy that I could defend my title. However, next year it is about time that an Austrian will enter the podium of the Austrian Open once again.“


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