After the World Cup kicked off with a halfpipe contest in New Zealand two months ago, London hosted the LG Snowboard FIS World Cup. Right next to the iconic towers of Battersea Power Station, at the Thames riverside, the first big air of the 2010 season took place.
Stefan Gimpl,the Austrian snowboard veteran not only celebrated his career's seventh World Cup triumph at the season's first big air competition. The rider from the Salzburg countryside also made himself a fantastic birthday present. Turning 30 in front of 15,000 spectators at Battersea Power Station in London, the World Cup title defender relegated Switzerland's Gian-Luca Cavigelli and Domen Bizjak from Slovenia to the second and third rank respectively.
Besides the young guns with their "Backside 1260's" (Ulrik Badertscher, NOR) or "Frontside 1260's" (Janne Korpi, FIN) Gimpl stood out with his great style which made the tricks look so easy and him being able to stick them smoothly even if the 30-years-old had to struggle with his shaky legs right before the final attempt. "I was very nervous up there although actually nothing could have gone wrong as I was lucky over the last years living on the sunny side of life. It seems that someone is meaning well for me".
The World Cup leader was able to stomp a "Frontside 1080", his "so far best in my whole life" and then a "Cab 900" after the spectator crowd had serenaded him "Happy birthday".
The whole starter field met the expectations with a high level riding including some of the more than 50 riders from 12 countries showcasing even more difficult tricks than the winner - however, not as smooth and stylish like Gimpl did.