Vikings invade the Session |

Vikings invade the Session

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado
SPO Honda Sesssion Slopestyle 03 TS 02-09-08

VAIL ” Their helmets were without horns, and instead of boats, they traveled on boards, but a pair of Vikings invaded the Session slopestyle event Saturday night in Vail.

Andreas Wiig, the 2007 Session winner, out-dueled fellow Norwegian Torstein Horgmo in a dizzying display at the base of Golden Peak. American Chas Guldemond placed third and landed his first 1440 revolution.

After each winning an event at this year’s Winter X Games ” Wiig won slopestyle and Horgmo won the big air ” the riders put down what were by far the top two runs of the night. Wiig’s score of 94 on his second-to-last run was just enough to move ahead of Horgmo, who had earned a 93 on his third run.

“It feels twice as good to win for the second year in a row,” Wiig said. “I wasn’t expecting to get it this year. I wasn’t feeling that good in the beginning and was stoked once I got one or two runs down. But Torstein may as well have been the winner.”

The usually unflappable Wiig, nicknamed Mandreas for his large build, had a slow start, while Horgmo looked like he was going to run away with the crown.

For his first run on a course that featured four incrementally larger jumps, Horgmo threw down a cab 900 (where you start with your opposite foot forward), a frontside 1080 and a backside 900 and finished with a switch backside 1080. Two runs later, Horgmo outdid himself with a similar run that finished off with a switch backside 1260 and then got tons of air off of the giant hip in the terrain park.

On his winning run, Wiig impressed the judges with movement on another axis, as he started with a backside rodeo (backflip) 900 and then went into a cab 1080, moved to a cab 900 and finished with a frontside 180 before launching off the hip in the terrain park.

“I think maybe the rodeo changes it up a bit and it stands out,” said Wiig, who won $35,000. “It’s always tough going up against Torstein ” he’s an amazing rider.”

Horgmo wasn’t disappointed with second ($25,000) by any means.

“It’s been a long night ” one of the funnest ones of my whole life,” he said. “Everyone was throwing it down. Andreas threw it down the hardest, and I’m stoked for him.”

On his second-to-last run, Horgmo reaggravated his bruised ribs ” an injury he incurred three days before winning gold at the X Games.

“I just powered through that one,” he said. “I healed up for a bit. … It’s a bit painful now, but it’s all good. My stokedness is rising above that.”

When asked about Horgmo’s ribs, Wiig said, “He’s a Viking for sure.”

When he looks back on this year’s slopestyle, Guldemond probably won’t talk about his opening run, the one that put him in third place and earned him $15,000. And he won’t really talk about how his final run started. But Guldemond will remember what happened on the final jump of this year’s slopestyle competition.

After an early bobble, Guldemond moved through the middle section of the course and had his eyes on the 80-foot jump to the right of the giant crowd.

“I told the guys up at top that I would definitely go for it since I snaked in front of them before the last run,” Guldemond said.

With plenty of speed, Guldemond came flying over the hump in a helicopter-like fashion and completed four full rotations before touching the snow again.

“I know (1260s) are kind of normal for me now,” Guldemond said. “It’s just a little harder to spin (the 1440). You come around and hope to land. It’s just one of those things ” you throw it hard and hope to land.

“I’ve never landed that before. It’s good to land in a contest.”

On Friday, the versatile Guldemond won the rail jam.

“What a great weekend. I’m kind of wobbly,” he said after collecting his award and stepping off the stage.

When Wiig accepted his award, the affable Viking looted as only he knows how ” in reverse fashion. Wiig gave away his competition goggles and pairs of gloves to fans. Had it not been cold out, he might have given the shirt off his back.

Aussie Robbie Walker placed fourth, while American Lonnie Kauk was fifth. … Although he didn’t participate in the slopestyle finals, Canada’s TJ Schneider did dominate the competition in “Guitar Hero.” … The Vail Valley Foundation, which puts on the Session, presented SOS Outreach with a $60,000 check Saturday night. … The Session finishes up today with a public rails session at 11 a.m.

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