The eighth annual Burton New Zealand Open Halfpipe finals took place under blue skies at Cardrona Alpine Resort over the weekend, with Swiss snowboarder Iouri Podladtchikov sealing first place in the men’s event.
Podladtchikov finished the day NZ$6,000 (US$4,250) richer for his efforts, and the win provided a handy addition of points to his 2010–11 Burton Global Open Series tally and Swatch TTR World Rankings (he currrently ranks second in both).
Although the weather was perfect, warm temperatures meant the competition format had to be shortened in order to keep Cardrona’s 22-ft Olympic-sized halfpipe in top shape. All 38 men and 19 women semifinalists went straight into a single final round, with the best of two runs counting for their final ranking.
Podladtchikov pulled out all the stops on his second run with a huge crippler, double McTwist 1260, frontside 1080 tailgrab and Cab 720 for an impressive 93.70 pts. The USA's Louie Vito also had a strong second run to jump up into third place with 88.04 pts. Louie’s run started with a frontside 1080 double-cork, Cab 1080 double-cork, double crippler, backside 900, and frontside corked 900. Coming in second was 14-year-old Taku Hiraoka from Japan. He dominated pre-qualifiers and qualifiers to make his way into the final, where he threw down a backside 540, frontside inverted 720, Cab 1080, and a massive frontside 900 tailgrab.