Chinese ripper Jiayu Liu qualifies first in the women's division

Laax Open? Laax Snow-pen!

It’s no secret that Europe is having an epic early season, but the amount of snow is starting to affect competitions in the run up to the Olympics. The latest casualty (and we use that in the loosest possible way, as all the riders have been having some of their best ever pow days) is the Laax Open in Laax, Switzerland. Practices have been abandoned, qualis have been pushed back and no finals have yet been run. Still, they managed to run the qualifiers for the halfpipe and here’s the low down from it.

‘The LAAX OPEN 2018 saw the first competion today after days of heavy snowfall and wind, which forced organizers to postpone all riding activities since Tuesday. Instead riders had time to enjoy some powder runs here in LAAX.

Despite ongoing snowfall the riders braved the challenging conditions today and were battling for spots in the Halfpipe finals taking place on Saturday. 8 ladies and 14 men made it into finals with Jiayu Liu from China leading the women’s field today, followed by fellow countrywoman Chai Xuetong and Mirabelle Thovex from France. Swiss Verena Rohrer qualified for finals as well with a 8th rank today. In the men’s competition it was Swiss rider Pat Burgener taking the lead with his 2nd run which earned him 97 points. Iouri Podladtchikov, Olympic Gold Medalist from Sochi 2014, ended up 2nd and Yiwei Zhang from China 3rd. Swiss riders David Hablützel and Jan Scherrer also made the cut for the finals on Saturday.

Tomorrow, Friday, the LAAX OPEN continues with Slopestyle competitions, followed by the Halfpipe finals on Saturday.

If you can’t make it to LAAX personally, you can watch the LAAX OPEN on www.laax.com (1 pm CET), all SRG TV channels and www.srf.ch (1 pm CET), www.sportschau.de (1 pm CET), http://www.bbc.com/sport (12:00 GMT) and on www.redbull.tv (5:30 pm) on Friday, January 19, and Saturday, January 20, 2018′

Pat Burgener out through the blizzard to qualify in first place in the men’s comp

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