Max Parrot Wins Air & Style Innsbruck – Super Photo Recap

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2017 Innsbruck Air & Style
Words and Photos: T. Bird

The Air & Style is the most prestigious and storied big air event in snowboarding's history, and the spotlight shines bright on the Innsbruck stop every season, because this is where it all started. This year was no different, as 37 of the world's best airtime enthusiasts took the stage in downtown Innsbruck on a gargantuan scaffolding setup at the foothills of looming, ominous Austrian peaks looking down on it. For the first time in a very long time, the 30 men were accompanied by seven women atop the massive kicker and that made for a very exciting pre-event and practice, especially when Austria's Anna Gasser (who is currently on an absolute tear this winter) sent her first-ever double cork backside 1080, putting it to her feet but not riding away. However, it sparked excitement in the crowd and the field, as Anna showed that she was not going to settle at this event. She was there to prove a point, as was everyone else who strapped in above the 150-foot tall drop-in.

Men's qualifications went off on Friday night with a two-run, best run counts format and 30 riders set to send it. Unfortunately, there were no Americans that showed up to the Air & Style due to a conflicting event in Mammoth, but the field was stacked nonetheless. Two underdogs quietly took the lead with backside triple cork 1440s in Jonas Boesiger and Kalle Jaervilehto while usuals like Sebastién Toutant and Marcus Kleveland sat in the top four alongside the newcomers, but going in to run two, there were some heavy names sitting outside of the top 16, which was the cut-off point for the semifinals. After one run, Sven Thorgren, Yuki Kadono, Torgeir Bergrem and Maxence Parrot were not headed to finals, but in run two, they all put down a trick to get them in the sweet sixteen and advance to semifinals the next evening with Yuki qualifying in first place after stomping the holy hell out of a backside triple cork 1620. Qualifications for the men looked a little something like this:

1. Yuki Kadono
2. Sven Thorgren
3. Sebastién Toutant
4. Jonas Boesiger
5. Marcus Kleveland
6. Max Parrot
7. Kalle Jaervilehto
8. Antoine Truchon
9. Roope Tonteri
10. Billy Morgan
11. Seppe Smits
12. Torgeir Bergrem
13. Clemens Millauer
14. Rowan Coultas
15. Mikey Ciccarelli
16. Simon Gruber

On Saturday night, semifinals for both the men and the women went down, with 16 riders for the dudes being cut down to 8 for the finals and 7 women being cut down to 4. Heavy cuts call for heavy tricks and after the snow settled, these were the results for the men and the women:

Semifinals Men:
1. Marcus Kleveland
2. Sven Thorgren
3. Max Parrot
4. Billy Morgan
5. Rowan Coultas
6. Torgeir Bergrem
7. Mikey Ciccarelli
8. Sebastién Toutant

Semifinals Women:
1. Enni Rukajärvi
2. Sina Candrian
3. Cheryl Maas
4. Katie Ormerod

Under light wind and clear skies, the women took to the kicker, with a 3-run, best two scores count format (and you had to spin two different directions), and although it was a surprise that Austrian Anna Gasser didn't make finals, the four remaining girls sent it into the night, with Enni Rukajärvi taking the win with a Cab seven and a back seven that were smooth, stylish and landed clean. Second place went to Great Britain's Katie Ormerod who landed a clean Cab nine and a back seven and Sina Candrian, who stomped a front seven and a back seven. Cheryl Maas rounded out the top four and the women hung up the boots for the night and prepared to head out on the town to celebrate.

As for the men, eight dudes would be whittled down to a top three in the same format as the women, and although the Innsbruck Air & Style jump was a tad smaller than other big air kickers, the riders cared not and started sending. Great Britain rookie and official newcomer Rowan Coultas had an incredible showing as he stomped an unreal Cab 12 but it wasn't enough to get up into the top three. His fellow countryman Billy Morgan landed two triple cork variations (backside and Cab) and ended up in 6th place overall while Mikey Ciccarelli kept things a little flatter in his spins but fell just outside of the podium in the 4th place spot. It was a hell of a night for young Sven Thorgren, who fell on his first run but then put down two insane tricks, one of which being a flat backside 1440 that had the crowd going insane. Sven landed in 3rd place and cemented yet another Air & Style podium. The big battle was between SNOWBOARDER Rookie of the Year Marcus Kleveland and big air veteran and X Games 17 gold medalist Max Parrot. Marcus stomped a Cab 1620 and a triple cork backside 1440 but it wasn't enough to take down Max, who was on an absolute tear on Saturday night. Max landed all three of his runs, including a triple cork backside 1440, a Cab triple cork 1620 and a frontside triple cork 1440 and he took the Innsbruck Air & Style crown. Something tell same that for the remainder of the contest season, it'll be a battle between these two heavy hitters and there's no telling who will come out on top, but Innsbruck was Max's for the taking.

Stay tuned to snowboardermag.com for the full recap from the final Air & Style event in Los Angeles as the tour wraps up and another season comes to a close.

Results:

Men:
1. Max Parrot
2. Marcus Kleveland
3. Sven Thorgren

Women:
1. Enni Rukajärvi
2. Katie Ormerod
3. Sina Candrian