Scotty James and Valentino Guseli Dominate Laax Open

One for the books and Australia's finest take halfpipe snowboarding to the next level...

Words: Alex Kruse

Guten Tag digital snowboarders! If you didn’t stay up to watch the halfpipe finals last night let me catch you up. It was one for the record books! We are seeing triples from multiple riders, the first ever 1620 from our very own Val, and Scotty’s iconic McTwist Bring Back! This has to be one of the best pipe contests that has ever gone down. This is in stark contrast to last year where the weather cancelled finals and gifted us with one of the sickest viral videos of Valentino and Kaishu Hirano absolutely boosting out of the pipe for a non-judged fun run. I secretly wished we could have just repeated that but watching the very best throw down in the pipe is equally as good.

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Recap of the Laax Open Men’s Slopestyle Finals

  1. Scotty James
  2. Valentino Guselli
  3. Ruka Hirano

What a nail biter of an event. The podium results were very much up in the air until the last run as Lilkey Taki was going for back to back triples. He only landed the NBD earlier this week and the tension was palpable. He nearly landed them on the first run and unfortunately had to pull out on his second run after not having the speed. This left Scotty in first place with his insane victory lap and one of the biggest first hits of the night to a switch McTwist Pull Back! This trick is a thing of beauty and was well rewarded. It is great to see snowboarding progress into more creative tricks and not just more spins.

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Scotty’s winning run is what you have come to expect. It started with that McTwist Pull Back and continued with precise execution all the way down the pipe. Val took 2nd after landing the first ever 1620 in competition! The crowd was screaming only slightly louder than I was at home. Unfortunately the rest of the run still wasn’t enough to take out Scotty. Ruka Hirano came in 3rd going absolutely massive on every hit and was able to just push out Chase Blackwell who had an equally impressive run. It’s also worth noting Ayumo triple corked straight into one of the heaviest runs of the night but butt checked his last hit. Had he landed clean it could have been a different looking podium.

Recap of the Laax Open Women’s Slopestyle Finals

  1. Mitsuki Ono
  2. Bea Kim
  3. Ruki Tomita

The women were going absolutely huge. Not to be left behind by the likes of Kaishu and Val, women were exploding out of the camera frame. Chloe had some of the biggest hits of the night but unfortunately she couldn’t finish a complete run and had to settle for 4th. The whole final was very quick as there were 3 riders injured during practice before finals. This included Maddie Meastro, Sena Tomita, and Gaon Choi (up and comer who is biting at Chloe’s heels). This only left 5 competitors to fight it out. Mitsuki Ono was in tears at the end having just won back to back Laax Opens. Her Front 9 tail with some serious amplitude was what pushed her beyond the competition.

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Looking forward, we have X Games coming up next week. This has always been my favourite pipe contest to watch but it will be hard to beat what just went down tonight.


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