After a crazy night in Annecy, Henrik Harlaut prevailed at tonight's Sosh Big Air on one of the biggest jumps seen yet for an in-city Big Air. Fabian Bösch picked up second place, and Alex Hall rounded out the podium in third.
It was an interesting night in more ways than one. First off, the weather provided a challenge, with rain during the semi-finals affecting riders' speed and making it difficult to clear the 19-meter jump.
The unique format of the contest also challenged riders to try tricks that they normally wouldn't attempt at such an event. Instead of the standard "best, biggest trick wins" format, the Sosh Big Air challenged skiers to try one of 20 tricks off of a pre-set list. Intended to highlight the history of the sport, the tricks on the list ranged from "basic" to "evolution," from the classic zero spin, to the cork 720 blunt with a Candide-Thovex style pole plant, to the highly challenging nose butter double cork 1260 blunt first executed by Henrik Harlaut.
And at the end of the night it was Harlaut on top of the podium—a fitting champion for a night that celebrated Big Air history, with a crowd of thousands braving the weather to enjoy the show.
"It was a real success for a first-year event despite some tricky weather - too hot yesterday and rainy today," said photographer David Malacrida.
The unique format of the contest, demanding that riders perform certain tricks for a certain score, also went against the grain of the "traditional" Big Air — but, in typical freeski style, many riders seemed to take pleasure in throwing tricks that weren't on the "allowed" list, just for the hell of it and to put on a show.
Luca Schuler, for example, opted for a double front flip instead of trying for a podium spot. "It's all about the fun," he said.
Watch the replay of the livestream from qualifications and finals over at soshbigair.com.