Continually one of the biggest events in Freeskiing, the European Open made another return the amazing mountain of Laax. Ever since I started skiing, I’ve seen Laax in movies, magazines, and edits. This is one of the very few times the movies and edits didn’t do the mountain justice. One of the longest and best parks I’ve gotten to ride this year, and many of us started calling it the Breckenridge of Europe.

For the contest we had one day of practice. This is one of the first times I’ve been able to hit every jump in a course the first run through, with perfect speed, and absolutely love it. It’s easy to build a jump, but to build a good jump is not an easy task. Laax was able to build four amazing jumps for us, and have been my favorite jumps to hit so far this season. 

Robby Franco

Robby Franco

The next day we had the open qualifier. For this qualifier, they took the top 4 from each of the four heats. Thankfully I was able to land a run with two 900 rotations to two doubles, and qualified 2nd in my heat.

Qualifier day. Photo taken by: @riciardus 

Qualifier day. Photo taken by: @riciardus 

The following day, we had our semi-finals on a beautiful sunny day. I knew this was going to be a tough heat, so I stepped up my run to three doubles for semi's, and qualified 5th for finals.

Taking some laps with Woodsy after Semi's

Taking some laps with Woodsy after Semi's

For our finals day unlike the rest of the sunny warm week. We had cold temperatures, overcast, with some snow, and fog great us. During the morning practice, barely anyone did any tricks, with the majority of the field opting for straight airs. After practice the clouds started to roll in, and we didn’t think the contest was even going to happen. Right before the contest was supposed to happen, the clouds lifted, and we were able to see the full course.

The first competitor to drop was none other than, Jossi Wells. Jossi would be the one to set the tempo for this contest, by dropping three double flips in his first run. I was able to land my first run, and was in contention for the podium till right before my final run. Thankfully I was able to step up my last run, and put me in 2nd place for the rest of the contest.

Jossi, Oystein, and I on the podium. 

Jossi, Oystein, and I on the podium. 

This is easily the biggest podium I’ve gotten so far, and I’m so grateful. Props to Jossi and Oystein for solid skiing all day. I learned a lot from this contest, with new tricks in practice, to just focusing on one feature at a time when the weather isn't good. Loved the experience, and looking forward to the next contest. Big to Lukas for letting Robby and I crash at his place, and to the Gillon’s for letting us stay along the way. Next up Dumont Cup!

-Noah 

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