Norwegian riders swept the podium at the Oakley & Shaun White Air & Style, a 6Star TTR Big Air event in Beijing on Saturday, with Ulrik Badertscher on top, ahead of Torstein Horgmo and Stale Sandbech. Swedish rider Nils Arvidsson just missed the podium as the fourth place finisher in the four-man Super Final, which event announcers dubbed a "Scandinavian invasion."
This is Badertscher's first 6Star win. He beat out fellow Norwegian rider Gjermund Braaten in semifinals and ousted event favorite Sebastian Toutant in head-to-head matchups. In one of the biggest surprises of the day, Toutant washed out on all three of his finals runs. Badertscher picked up Red Bull Best Trick honors with a score of 97.00 on his third semifinal run for what the announcers were calling a double "winger" flip 1260, but appears to be the double backside rodeo 1260 he was rumored to have, but never pulled off in a contest last season. There is some debate over whether it's a true backside double rodeo 12 or an off-axis double 1260. Either way, the spin is counterintuitive and it's a trick no one has seen before -- and whatever it is, Badertscher appears to have it dialed now as he landed it again in the Super Final for a score of 91.67, beating out Horgmo's Cab double cork (88.33) and Sandbech's backside 1440 (81.67). As the winner of the event, he also nabbed an invitation to the World Snowboarding Championships in Oslo Feb 12-19.
Horgmo, the triple cork innovator who won Winter X Big Air gold in 2011 with a triple flip and broken ribs, is a podium threat in any competition. He appeared confident and relaxed in Beijing, beating Sage Kotsenburg in semifinals before moving on to topple Mikkel Bang in the head-to-head finals with a massive Cab double cork 1080 Indy and the night's second highest score (94.00), entering the Super Final behind Badertscher. Horgmo is now ranked 12th overall and 12th in Big Air on the TTR World Snowboard Tour.
Sandbech, who was an alternate in Beijing last year, beat Canadian rider Mark McMorris in semifinals before going on to top Eric Willet, the lone American in finals competition, with a backside 1440 to advance to the Super Final. After knocking German rider Ethan Morgan off in Semifinals, Arvidsson beat Belgian rider Seppe Smits in the head-to-head finals with a backside 1440.
Sandbech is now the current overall TTR points leader. Badertscher is now currently in fifth place overall on the TTR World Snowboard Tour, behind Sandbech, Roope Tonteri, Seppe Smits, and Benji Farrow, and in fifth place in TTR Big Air competition, behind Tonteri, Eric Willett, Toutant, and Arvidsson.