For the second time in a row Vans Team Rider Iouri “IPod” Podladtchikov won the most prestigious halfpipe contest in all of snowboarding, The Arctic Challenge in Olso, Norway. Founded by the legendary Terje Haakonsen, The Arctic Challenge (TAC) is the final stop of the 2012/2013 World Snowboard Tour and stands as a testament to Terje’s lifelong commitment of uniting competitive freestyle snowboarding around the world.
After falling ill for the finals at X Games 2013 in Aspen, Colorado and failing to make the finals at the US Open in Vail, Iouri was determined to have a strong showing in Olso and was ready to ride his best. In his second run of the finals, Iouri threw down five spins starting with a Frontside 900 Tail Grab into a Backside 900 Mute, a Frontside 1080 Tail to Cab 1080 Double Cork Mute and then stomped a monster Frontside 1080 Double Cork Truckdriver, just catching the last bit of tranny and scoring a 90.28!
“I remember last year how hard it was to get a score above a 90, and it took me like a back double and the double combo and everything,” said Iouri. “This year I didn’t do the back double but I went a lot higher, which was my goal. My approach was to keep the height kind of similar… And I think that was my biggest cab double I’ve ever done!
Vans Team Rider Arthur Longo also competed in the event and made it to the finals, but couldn’t quite put down the run he was looking for. As a prolific backcountry snowboarder, Arthur has spent the last few seasons dividing his time between filming video parts and simultaneously trying to compete with the best riders in the world. But with a renewed focus on halfpipe, Arthur is ready to make a push leading up to next year’s Olympics.
“This was my sixth contest of the year,” explains Arthur. “I’m feeling really good in the pipe, and I’m stoked on my riding. I didn’t really put it down yet, but I know it’s coming.”
Now both Iouri and Arthur are looking to carry their momentum into the first halfpipe competition of the 2013/2014 World Snowboard Tour, X Games Tignes 2013 on March 20-22. Although last year’s gold medalist Shaun White will not be competing this time around, Iouri faces stiff competition from 14-year old Japanese wonder Ayumu Hirano and newcomer Yiwei Zhan from China. With new threats like these on the scene, many are still wondering if Iouri is finally ready to add his new “YOLO” flip into his run…
“This feels awesome of course, but there’s so much to do, I got so many things on my mind,” hinted Iouri. “I’m excited that my riding has gotten a little bit more solid in this pipe because all year I was struggling with a couple of things, but here I felt most comfortable so far and that kind of maybe explains why I was able to win. Everything is kind of working and I really hope that soon I’m going to put everything in, because there are a couple of tricks out there that need to be put into my run.”
For more photos from the event check out the Vans Snow tumblr blog.