2014 TTR World Snowboard Tour champs
Thirteen-year-old halfpipe sensation Chloe Kim and snowboarding's first Olympic slopestyle silver medalist, Ståle Sandbech, won the 2014 TTR World Snowboard Tour Overall titles this week in Vail, Colo. Based on results from the Burton U.S. Open., the WST's final 6Star event, Sandbech also won the 2014 Men's Slopestyle Champion title, while Jamie Anderson took the Slopestyle title for the women.
Kelly Clark won her fourth TTR World Snowboard Tour Halfpipe Champion title on the tour, and Japanese rider Taku Hiraoka won his first Men's Halfipe Champion title. Maxence Parrot already claimed the WST Big Air title earlier this season, following his Big Air win at X Games Aspen 2014.
"Not many people nowadays compete in slopestyle, halfpipe, and big air, but there's a lot of respect among snowboarders for those who do," said WST spokeswoman Danielle Reiff-Jongerius. "Ståle holding his own in all three and also winning the Slopestyle title is an incredible achievement."
Sandbech was one of the only athletes also competing in 6Star halfpipe and big air events this season. He won bronze in both Slopestyle and Big Air at X Games Aspen 2014, a 6Star event. He also won slopestyle at the first U.S. Grand Prix at Copper in December. His second-place in slopestyle at the U.S. Open helped him take the Slopestyle Champion title from Max Parrot. He also competed in halfpipe at the Open in order to lock down the Overall title.
"It's really hard for me these days," Sandbech said, of trying to compete in both disciplines at a single event. He missed a practice session on the slopestyle course on Friday while he was competing in semifinals for pipe. "Having to ride pipe, I was tired, my legs. And I couldn't ride in practice and ... step up my run. These guys were chucking it on the rails [on the slopestyle course] and I was standing at the top of the pipe [watching] like, 'Oh, no!'
Kim's third place finish in the U.S. Open halfpipe left her on top of the Overall Women's standings. She is officially the youngest champion in the history of the TTR World Snowboard Tour.
"I really like seeing all the hard work pay off," Kim said. "I look back to the start of my season -- waking up at 5 in the morning and walking up to the pipe at 7 a.m., like I did in New Zealand this summer -- and know that it really paid off."
Kim made the podium in five of the seven WST events she competed in this season, including a silver medal at X Games Aspen 2014 and a win in slopestyle at the 3Star Burton European Junior Open in February.
"I grew up doing both halfpipe and slopestyle and have been competing in both," she said. "As I started focusing on pipe this year I found myself missing the slopestyle courses. It's definitely going to be hard to balance both of them, but I'm going to try."
Clark's win at the Burton U.S. Open was her seventh. She is the most dominant rider, male or female, in the contest's 32-year history.
"The World Snowboard Tour has been doing a good job of helping make great events happen and the Open specifically is one of my favorite events," said Clark. "Growing up watching it made me want to be a professional snowboarder, so it's always an incredible feeling to win it. This is my lucky number seven, and I'm just as honored to be taking my fourth TTR World Snowboard Tour title."
The men's halfpipe title came down to the wire in the Burton U.S. Open finals between Hiraoka, Louie Vito, and Christian Haller.
"It's been a couple years of all Japanese people getting the World Snowboard Tour title so it is a great honor to continue," Hiraoka said. "I had big confidence coming into this year and it feels great to have gotten this title."
2014 Olympic slopestyle gold medalist, Jamie Anderson, beat out Silje Norendal for the Women's Slopestyle title. Norendal had been a heavy contender after her slopestyle golds at X Games Tignes 2013 and X Games Aspen 2014.
"I'm so grateful for all the events I was able to do and more than anything to have maintained my health and well-being throughout this whole hectic season," said Anderson. "To finish up with the U.S. Open, in first place, and the World Snowboard Tour title, is just such an honor."