The fourth FMB Gold Event of the season saw the world's best Slopestyle athletes compete in Saalbach Hinterglemm, Austria at the 4th edition of GlemmRide Slopestyle. With Defending Champion Thomas Genon (BEL) looking to hang on to his title, would anyone be able to challenge him? That challenger turned out to be Italian flipping machine Torquato Testa who, after a sketchy first run in qualifying on Saturday morning, found his flow in his second run and would hang on to that very flow throughout the rest of the day and straight into the finals.
While light rain during the first run of qualification threatened to throw a spanner in the works, it turned out that weather apps around the Saalbach Hinterglemm area were just trying to freak out the riders. With the rain stopping within minutes, having probably been scared away by a series of bangers, courtesty of some of the most skilled Slopestyle riders the world has ever seen, the proverbial game was on, and the players delivered.
Torquato Testa was clinical in his finals approach, looking to capitalize on his first place qualifier. Coming off of a second place finish at the Big White Invitational Slopestyle hosted by Tom van Steenbergen, the Italian has stepped out of the shadow of his fellow countryman, Diego Caverzasi. If there was one run this weekend that had everything, from big tricks to surgical precision on the landings, it was Torquato's first run.
Starting things off with a 360 Truckdriver and going into a Backflip Tailwhip over the boner log, it was time for what we all knew was coming. The enormous scale of the booter just called out to Torquato, waiting for him to do his signature Double Backflip, landing it supersmooth, setting him up perfectly for a Frontflip on the stepup, a feature which had caught out riders all weekend. Finishing things off with a Backflip No-Footed Can over the road gap step down and a 720, Torquato's run was one for the ages. Visibly stoked in the finish area, it was pretty clear this was going to be a high-scoring run, but how high? With 91.00 points, Torquato put down a run that would prove to be untouchable in the second run, with his closest competition being Thomas Genon (BEL), who put down a run that would get him 84.66 points.
Defending Champion Thomas Genon showed that he did not come to play around, qualifying 5th for finals with a steezy run that got him 86.33 points. Dropping in with an oppo 360 X-Up, a superclean Double Tailwhip off the Boner Log and a 360 Barspin to Tailwhip on the big booter, he showed his techie nature with a 360 Downside Whip on the stepup, an oppo 360 Can-Can on the stepdown and a Cork 720 to finish it all off. Following his score announcements, he had a little interplay with the camera man, dropping a few crowdpleasers on the landing of the last jump, which were received well with loud applause from the gathered crowds.
This weekend's rags to riches story of the event is definitely Austrian rider Bernd Winkler, who is going home with a Bronze medal (or belt in this case), the Hero of the Weekend title and a FMB Wildcard for Red Bull Joyride at Crankworx Whistler, From the moment he arrived, you could see he was hungry, looking to improve on his 8th place finish from last year. Fearlessly braving the many obstacles the GlemmRide Slopestyle course had to offer, including a bigger boner log and a massive stepup onto the terrace of the Alpine Palace hotel, Winkler came to throw down.
Finishing 3rd in Pre-Qualifying, beating out riders like Griffin Paulson (CAN) and Lukas Schäfer (GER), on Friday put Winkler on track for finals, as the best nine riders on Friday advanced to Qualifying. Come Saturday morning, Winkler was still holding on to that hunger, finishing in 8th place with a score of 80.66, sneaking ahead of Paul Couderc (FRA). Come finals, the young Austrian had to fight his way up, finishing his first run in 9th place with a score of 55.00, which put veteran riders like Torquato Testa (ITA), Thomas Genon (BEL), Simon Pagès (FRA) and Diego Caverzasi (ITA) ahead of him score-wise going into run 2.
In run number 2, the battle for the Wildcard was on between Simon Pages and Winkler. With Winkler dropping in as the 4th rider and coming away with a score of 83.66 the Austrian had to wait until the final minutes to see what Simon Pagès could do to punch his ticket to Canada. Starting off his run with a 360 Double Truck off of the stepdown, a 360 X-Up Can-Can on the boner log and a Backflip Tailwhip to Barspin, his last three tricks would prove crucial for that podium finish; a 360 onto the stepup, a 360 Double Barspin down and a Backflip Tuck No-Hander to Barspin.
GlemmRide Slopestyle 2018 Full Results: