Peetu Piiroinen wins Arctic Challenge and TTR title

Glen Bisset

Peetu Piiroinen: Scanner on a contest-sweeping mission.

Finnish contest killer Peetu Piiroinen did it again today, taking first place at the 2010 Oakley Arctic Challenge in Olso, Norway. The win on the slopestyle course at Tryvann Vinterpark also puts the Olympic Silver Medalist at the top of the global TTR rankings, earning him the overall TTR crown for the second time in his short career. Norwegians Torstein Horgmo and Mikkel Bang took second and third place, respectively.

With a run that included a switch cab 270 to fakie on the top rail, frontside 540 melon on the canon rail, backside 1080 late cork, backside rodeo 720 and a huge frontside crail on the hip, Piiroinen demonstrated the same buttery flow mixed with technical perfection that won him a silver medal in Vancouver two weeks ago.

"I'm feeling pretty good. Today was a good day and this was a good weekend. I got the TTR title for second time and my first win at the Arctic Challenge. It's been great season for me with the Olympics and everything. It's really hard to believe," said Piiroinen summing up his banner year after the win today.

Matt Murray

The 21-year-old Piiroinen landed on the podium at every 6-star TTR event so far this year. At TAC, he landed at the top of it.

Despite moving into the record books as the first person to win two TTR titles -- and back-to-back titles at that -- Piiroinen kept it characteristically humble. "I didn't think I had a chance to win with so many of the top American riders being here, not to mention Norwegians like Torstein and Mikkel. It just feels so good."

Arctic Challenge founder Terje Haakonsen aplauded the win, "Peetu was the fastest and he has technical difficulty, so it's well deserved for him to win. He is always a contender." On Torstein Horgmo's second place finish, Haakonsen said, "With Torstein, everyone knows his slopestyle riding is solid and good. He got some flat light in the final but he pulled it together on his last run. It's always good to see a local up there. Mark McMorris rode insane, too. As far as I'm concerned, he should have been on the podium."

With the quarterpipe gone this year, the slopestyle format was a change that Haakonsen had mixed feelings about. "I hadn't thought much about it, but it was good to see the slope riders and get their input. Overall I think most slopestyle is too stale and could be a lot more fun and more rad with gnarly options and ways to separate yourself from the group." In typical Haakonsen style, he plans to use the Arctic Challenge to help push more progression into slopestyle, "If we get to build out the arena we will do slopestyle again, but only if we can build it permanently in the summer so we can get way more creative." But TAC won't be a slopestyle-only event if Haakonsen has his way, "We want to do halfpipe again for sure, we just have to get these Norwegian politicians off their butts."

Piiroinen will accept his second sack of cash in the amount of $50,000 at the conclusion of the U.S. Open in Stratton, Vt. on March 21. What's he going to do with it? "I haven't decided what to spend it on," he said, "I'll probably just save it for the future." Ahh, the words of a mogul in the making.

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