Eric Willett. Photo: Matt Forsythe
American rider, Eric Willett, took the first 5Star Big Air title of the 2011/12 TTR World Tour season at the second annual Billabong Ante Up competition held atop Whistler Mountain in Canada. The sun was hidden behind the clouds for most of the day, but riders put on a great performance for the crowd of spectators at the top of the mountain where Sebastien Toutant (CAN) came in a close second behind Willett and Dash Kamp (USA) took home third place.
The Ante Up started out with a qualifying round of 30 snowboarders in the early afternoon that was whittled down to 10 men for the finals. The start list was packed full of riders who are usually super consistent on big air kickers like Seppe Smits (BEL), Chas Guldemond (USA), Gjermund Braaten (NOR) and Roope Tonteri (FIN) but they just couldn't seem to put their landing gear down on the 90-foot gap jump. This opened the door for Eric Willett who took numerous podium spots at Big Air and Slopestyle competitions last season and for Sebastien Toutant who won the Ante Up last year. Eric Willett landed a smooth switch backside double cork 1260 to take $20,000 USD for his win today. Sebastien Toutant was awarded $12,500 USD for landing a Cab double cork 1260 and Dash Kamp walked away with a cool $8,000 for his backside double cork 1080.
Willett is already looking forward to the Southern Hemisphere leg of the tour and had this to say about his win: "I'm stoked. It's always weird to come out here in July and do a competition in the middle of summer, but it's really fun and crucial to come out for the start of the season and get those points especially with the new ranking system to get the big air points. I'm pumped to head down to New Zealand with this confidence booster."
Read More and keep up-to-date on all TTR World Snowboard Tour happenings at www.ttrworldtour.com.
Watch videos from the event at www.vanssnow.tumblr.com