Japan has an air of mystery around the islands that collectively make up the country. It could be the spirits in the trees that house the much sought after powder snowboarders are always searching for. However, the mystery of the 2008 Nissan X-Trail Nippon Open so far has been the weather. After a rough couple days of heavy snow and high winds, the sun finally came out today for the Nippon Open ParkStyle finals at ALTS-Bandai resort.
Due to the heavy snowfall and high winds competitors saw early in the week, both the men’s and women’s ParkStyle semifinals and finals were held back-to-back for an action packed day of snowboarding. All riders had three runs to get their best score once they made it to the finals with the women taking the course first.
Great Britain’s Jenny Jones had three solid runs with her final effort securing first place with the run of a 50/50 gap to 50/50 boardslide to fakie off the box into a Cab 540 on the kicker followed by a huge frontside air on the hip. Jamie Anderson put together a strong second run starting off with a big gap tailslide to fakie rolling into a Cab720 melon, capping off her run with a stylish nose grab. Representing for Japan, Izumi Amaike saw a return to the podium, repeating her third place finish from last year with a 50/50 gap to 50/50 on the box, mute Cab 540 off the kicker into a frontside air on the hip.
On the men’s side, the riding was even more impressive. With his insane style, making his run look almost too easy, Mikkel Bang claimed the lead early on in the finals with his first run; however it was his second effort that clinched the top spot. Kicking the run off with a gap to switch backside lipslide on the rail to an insanely smooth switch backside 900 mute, Mikkel cleaned up with a stalled out frontside alley oop off the hip. The Nippon Open always promises feats of gravity defying snowboarding and second place finisher Kazuhiro Kokubo did not disappoint with a solid run that included a 50/50 gap to boardslide to fakie, switch frontside 900 melon followed by an insane frontside alley oop corked frontside grab off the hip that could only be described as “freaking huge" by Head Judge Jason Grossi. Jaakko Ruha earned his first Burton Global Open Series podium finish with third place, charging with an impressive 50/50 gap to nosepress on the rail into a 1080 tailgrab over the jump into a backside 720 indy on the hip.
Both Mikkel and Jenny earned $15,000 each for their first place finishes and 8,000 points towards the Burton Global Open Series Championship titles. Jenny’s win bumps her up to third place in the Swatch TTR World Snowboard Tour and Mikkel breaks into the Top 10 standings for the men.
Women’s ParkStyle Final Results: Jenny Jones (GBR) Billabong Jamie Anderson (USA) Salomon Izumi Amaike (JPN) Flow
Men’s ParkStyle Final Results: Mikkel Bang (NOR) Burton Kazuhiro Kokubo (JPN) Burton Jaakko Ruha (FIN) Kissmark
In case you missed the action, Go211 are hosting webcasts of the men’s and women’s ParkStyle final highlights.