Winter X-Games: Elias Ambühl represents Europe with pride

In an incredible Big Air final Elias Ambühl claimed an outstanding third-place-finish at the X-Games in Aspen. The youngest skier in the competition was the European pride in arguably one of greatest displays of freestyle skiing ever.

Jossi Wells in Aspen.  Copyright: Flip McCririck/Shazamm/ESPNThis season the Winter X-Games held the first real Big Air competition in years. The organisers couldnʼt have taken a better decision, as an evening of world premiere tricks and unprecedented skiing performances proved to an overwhelmed audience.

It all began with two qualifying jam sessions of five riders each, in which Elias Ambühl and his team mate Jossi Wells made the final round, both showing perfect Switch Double Cork 1080s and Double Cork 1260s. The young Swiss edged out Andreas Håtveit in the process, who had been a favourite before the event following his awesome performance in Slopestyle qualifications a day earlier. The outstanding moment of qualifications was Bobby Brownʼs Switch Double Misty 1260°, however, a premiere in the world of competitive freeskiing.

It was nothing compared to what was following in the finals, though. In their first runs everybody brought to perfection what can now be considered standard tricks: Dub 1080s and 1260s, both switch and forward, leading to tight scores within all five competitors.

Only Bobby Brown separated himself with another delivery of his original Switch Double Misty 1260°. The perfection of the jump earned him the first “50”, the perfect score. It was Jossi Wells to finally start the freestyle revolution. In his fourth run he upped his game with a Switch Double Cork 1440°, cleanly landing another world premiere trick. This propelled him into second place and set the tone for the rest of the session.

Next was TJ Schiller. His Double Cork 1620°, of course another world premiere, also earned him a perfect score, getting him even close to Bobby Brown. But the American had an answer, as he added another 180° to his new signature trick. A perfectly stomped Switch Double Misty 1440° scored another “50”, giving him the perfect score of 100 points for the competition and the lead for good.

But the contest was not over yet. Elias Ambühl, only 17 years old and the only European in the final, proved that the progression of freeskiing is a world-wide phenomenon and far from reaching its limits just yet. The youngster tried a Switch Double Cork 1440° for the first time in his life at the last run of the competition, and stomped it! This outstanding performance propelled him past Jossi Wells and Russ Henshaw, who had been sitting tied in third place before, by one little point. A night of skiing perfection had come to an end, but the progression of freeskiing might just have started, and Elias Ambühl is the most promising prospect for the future.

Bene Mayr from Germany.  Copyright: Tom Bause

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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.

Nine Knights 2009 in Oberstdorf, Germany.  Copyright: Christoph Schoech

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