Fresh from earning a silver medal in Slopestyle at Winter X Games 15, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris stormed to victory at the Billabong Air & Style contest over the weekend in Innsbruck, Austria.
In his first-ever outing at the famed snowboard contest, 17-year-old McMorris triumphed over many of the sport’s biggest names to take his place as the winner of the legendary event in the Tyrol region of Austria.
Pushing 2009-10 double TTR World Champion Peetu Piroiinen (FIN) into second place, McMorris landed a Cab 1260 Double Cork to clinch the win in front of more than 11,000 spectators at the Bergisel Stadium. The victory puts the young Canadian in fifth place overall in the TTR world rankings.
"It was really loud and exciting." –Mark McMorris
“It was my first time at Air & Style Innsbruck,” said a relaxed McMorris after the contest, still high on the electric atmosphere of the headline European event. “I didn’t really know what to expect and then Saturday night came around and the whole crowd showed up. It was like 11,000 people in a super small area so it was really loud and exciting.”
Pushing the Progression of Snowboarding
Event founder Andrew Hourmont agreed the 2011 contest was bigger and better than ever, with its combination of thrilling snowboarding action and live music from global acts like punk-rock outfit Pennywise. “It is hard to believe, but the riders pushed the level even further compared to last year and the Air & Style in Beijing,” said Hourmont. “Once again, snowboarding history was written.”
2010 winner Marko Grilc (SLO) received a surprise blow from Sweden’s Nils Arvidsson, who ended his hopes of a second win in Round Two, leaving the contest open for the fresh talent to emerge. Fellow Canadian pro rider Sebastien Toutant also participated in the contest, but was knocked out early on by American Sage Kotsenburg, who dropped the first ever Cab 1440 Double Cork in a contest.
"To win a 6Star TTR event in Europe is really good for me." –McMorris
“It was a little scary in the second round as Sage took out Seb Toots in the first round and then I had to go head-to-head with him,” explained McMorris. “Sage was the one I was most worried about. In the Final Four, we have three runs and the best one counted. On my first run, I did a Cab 12 Double Cork, and a Backside Double 12 Cork on the third. I dropped first, so I got to watch the rest of the contest. It’s pretty cool, and to be there with the support from the crowd, it’s a big deal.”
Anything Can Happen
McMorris says his plan for the next few months is to have fun and do as well as he can in each event, riding high on his recent successes, but he won’t be resting on his laurels as the standard among the riders is continually raised. “Everybody is so good these days that really anything can happen. I did the best trick I could do and I was worried when every rider was dropping, as they all had the potential to beat that trick,” he adds.
Taking the strong start to 2011 in stride, McMorris is also very happy to be trekking the globe as part of his day job. “I like to ride in Colorado and Livigno in Italy is pretty cool, too,” he says. “I really like the crowds and the history of the Innsbruck event is great. So many legends have won there and now to have won there myself is really cool. To win a 6Star TTR event in Europe is really good for me.”