Petja Piiroinen 2011 Big Air World Champion

16 January 2011 07:48

Petja Piiroinen has clinched the first title of the 9th FIS Snowboard World Championships in La Molina and Spain 2011.

The 19 years-old ripper edged of equal on points Zach Stone (CAN) and Seppe Smits (BEL) to second and third respectively thus following the long tradition of strong Finnish performances at World Championship’s big air decision.

Piiroinen became the fourth rider of his home country to bring home Gold in five big air World’s contests held so far. In 2003 (Kreischberg, AUT), it was Risto Mattila who had secured the first ever title, followed by Antti Autti in 2005 (Whistler, CAN) and Markku Koski (Gangwon, 2009).

Top guns founder

Only Frenchman Mathieu Crepel had managed to break in this phalanx. In addition, it also had seemed that 26-years-old Crepel was ready for his second big air title. Crepel had dominated the high class finals with the highest score in the first two runs having nailed an incredible sw backside 1080 double cork.

But at the first ever indoor World Championships event held in the Palau Sant Jordi watched by 8,400 spectators the top aspirant for Gold dashed against his nerves, just like several others.

While the double World Champion of 2007 missed to stick a safe trick with his fs 1080, also Gian-Luca Cavigelli (SUI) and 2010 Air & Style winner Marko Grilc (SLO), who sat on second and third rank after the first two runs, bailed their last jumps leaving the door wide open for the reigning FIS Junior World Champion.

Piiroinen, who sticked a fs 1080 tail and a bs 900 double cork, earned a total of 51.7 points thus wrapping up an incredible weekend for his family as older brother Peetu, the 2010 Vancouver halfpipe silver medallist, won the Burton European Open Slopestyle in Switzerland.

“I’m so stoked. It’s unbelievable,” Piiroinen said. “I didn’t expect this in the beginning, just thought of that in the finals. I felt pretty good with the jump. It was an amazing contest.”

Close battle for second

Runner-up Zach Stone of Collingwood, Ontario, became the first Canadian to win a medal in the big air discipline at FIS World Championships.

Stone tied for second with Seppe Smits of Belgium scoring 48.9 points, but Stone was awarded the silver medal due to the tie-breaker rule which rewards the highest second-best score of the three runs.

The 19-years-old kid, who had stomped a backside 1260 double cork and a backside 1080 double cork, said: “Today was a super cool day. I came out here expecting to make the finals, which was my goal. That was a pretty good achievement and I’m stoked. It means a lot, obviously, it’s the World champs.

Final results: