Sam “Leopardhead” Pilgrim took the win at the Adidas Slopestyle event in Saalbach, I wasn’t there myself but apparently Leopardhead rolled in and immediately did a flip 1-foot X-up on the roll-in jump. He stuck the landing and instantly went into a 360 off of the landing of the first obstacle then kept his run going by tailwhipping the Nacho step-down gap, following it with some impressive style over the Alm hip. Sam continued to slay the course, 360ing down the big step-up/step-down box, then ended his run with a flip on the first big dirt jump, followed by an absolutely flawless double tailwhip.
Here’s the official word from the press release:
The riders were fighting the weather all week, until noon today when the skies cleared and the sun shone down on the big mountain course. Everything dried up and practice began, with the level being pushed higher and higher over the practice session, leading right into the qualifying and coming to a crescendo in the final runs. The hill was packed with screaming spectators, and the world’s best Slopestyle riders did not disappoint.
Riders were given two runs to qualify for the final, which trimmed the field of fifty riders down to the top fifteen riders of the day. Every rider did their best to put together runs that were packed with stylish tricks and huge hits.
Once the judges determined which riders would advance, the finals began with a crisp scent of anticipation in the air. Everyone was expecting the riders to unleash some additional lines that they might have thought of after the first two rounds of qualifying. Each rider that rolled out of the start ramp did just that, raising the bar to a point where everyone needed to pull out something new to make a dent in the final scoring.
Photo:Markus Greber Pretzel flipping the Macho drop.
Timo Pritzel (GER) was one standout in the finals, flipping the “Macho” kicker line, which was only used for some straight airs and X-ups prior to his jump. He stomped the 16 metre long flip, but wasn’t able to stay on course on the run-out on his first attempt. During his second run of the finals, Timo stomped the flip again and was able to continue riding. He had a crash later in his second run, but everyone was more than happy to let Timo claim his massive flip step-down.
All of the riders in the final showed a wide variety of style as they interpreted the course in their own ways. Riders like Pierre-Edouard Ferry (FRA) were hitting the big lines with good style and dialled tricks. Ferry launched the Macho line in his last run as well, stretching out a tuck no-hander over the six meter gap. Other guys like Christopher Hatton (FRA) and Jakub Vencl (CZE) were dissecting the course with their technical styles, finding ways to incorporate extra tricks into their runs.
By the second round of the finals, the level was so high that that pressure was really on for the top riders. After Pierre put down his best run, it was freeride newcomer Martin Söderström’s (SWE) turn to make his presence known. He stomped a super clean run littered with tailwhips and 360s, and mixed his technical style with smooth riding to totally shut down the last two jumps. Söderström threw down a perfect superwhip, with his long legs stretched out as far as they could possibly go. He capped his run off with a textbook 360 tailwhip on the last jump, to the delight of the crowd in Saalbach.
Sam Pilgrim (GBR) was the last rider to ride the adidas Slopestyle course, and he did it after watching nearly all of his competitors from the Hot Seat. Marching up the course, the anxious crowd was curious to see if Pilgrim would be able to best Söderström’s leading run.
2008 adidas Slopestyle results:
1. Sam Pilgrim (GBR) 23.00
2. Martin Söderström (SWE) 22.30
3. Pierre-Edouard Ferry (GER) 21.80
4. Lance McDermott (GBR) 19.90
5. Christopher Hatton (FRA) 19.10
6. Jakub Vencl (CZE) 18.90
7. Amir Kabbani (GER) 18.20
8. Niki Leitner (AUT) 18.10
9. Marius Hoppensack (GER) 17.70
10. Phil Sundbaum (USA) 16.80
Sam Pilgrim wins the Adidas Slopestyle