Finland's Roope Tonteri continued his dominant tear at the FIS Snowboard World Championships Saturday night. After his gold-medal slopestyle assault on Friday at Stoneham, Quebec, the 20-year-old also jumped on the top podium spot in Big Air, besting Sweden's Niklas Mattson, who claimed second, and Seppe Smits of Belgium, who rounded out the podium in third.
Down in the historic district of old Quebec City, below Autoroute Dufferin-Montmorency, a massive crowd cheered as riders duked it out in all-or-nothing one-hitter fashion in the middle of a winter storm. After Friday's semi-finals went down in freezer-like qualifier conditions, heavy snow and wind made for a blustery showdown when finals got underway Saturday. The tricks were big all night, with riders pumping out every 1080 and double cork in the books. Anticipation of seeing a triple cork was high, and plenty of fans made their wishes heard by shouting from the peanut gallery, but conditions weren't quite ideal to pull out snowboarding's marquee trump.
Up against 12 riders, Tonteri stomped a relatively safe (by big air standards) but unbelievably huge Cab 1080 to lock up the top spot.
"I don't know what to say," Tonteri said. "I just tried to land my tricks like in the slopestyle. And this is what I got." Coming back from injuries that have kept him sidelined for a couple of months, Mattson grabbed the night's second spot with a backside 1080 double cork and a frontside 1080 double cork.
"I'm super stoked to be on the podium," Mattson said. "I haven't done those tricks since I injured my right meniscus last September."
Spinning faster than any human can keep tabs on, Smits also posted some big tricks in the finals, stomping a squeaky clean backside 1080 double cork and Cab 1260. Smits was the number one qualifier the day before, and carried that momentum into the finals.
The crowd was whipped into a frenzy whenever Canada's homegrown hero Mark McMorris dropped in. Try as he might, though, his double cork 1260 just wouldn't come together as he wanted, leaving him unable to crack the podium. Another home hopeful, Michael Roy, managed fifth while McMorris placed sixth.
The FIS Snowboard World Championships heads into the final day Sunday as the men's and ladies halfpipe finals take place back at Stoneham.
FIS World Championships: Men's Big Air Finals