LAAX, Switzerland, Jan. 22, 2022 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Way to storm the podium! Monster Energy congratulates its team of snowboard athletes on a dominant performance at the LAAX OPEN 2022 in Switzerland this weekend. In the iconic freestyle snowboard competition on Crap Sogn Gion mountain, the brand's team riders claimed victories in three out of four contest events, plus a close second place in the fourth.

In the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle final on Saturday, 21-year-old Tess Coady from St. Kilda, Australia, clinched the victory and was joined on the podium by Germany's Annika Morgan in third place. The competitive Women's Snowboard Halfpipe event saw 21-year-old snowboard phenom Chloe Kim from Los Angeles soar above the competition into first place. In Men's Snowboard Halfpipe, 23-year-old Ayumu Hirano from Murakami, Japan, sealed the win and the 2021/22 FIS Crystal Globe Trophy with a dominant run. Rounding out a successful weekend, 28-year-old Ståle Sandbech from Norway earned silver in Men's Snowboard Slopestyle.

Started in 2005, the annual LAAX OPEN attracts the world's best freestyle snowboarders to the award-winning resort in the Swiss mountains. From January 11-15, 2022, more than 180 riders from 32 countries competed in the FIS World Cup event sanctioned by the World Ski Federation (FIS). Contested in Slopestyle and Halfpipe disciplines, the LAAX OPEN 2022 also provided a chance to score qualifier points for the upcoming 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing as well as 140,000 Swiss Franc in prize money.

Here's how the weekend's action at the LAAX OPEN 2022 unfolded for team Monster Energy:

Women's Snowboard Slopestyle: Monster Energy's Tess Coady Dominates, Annika Morgan Takes Third Place

On Saturday, the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle final featured eight of the world's leading freestyle riders. Each contestant received two runs to battle for a high score. Countries represented included Australia, Austria, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. Designed by the Snowpark LAAX crew, the downhill obstacle course encouraged creative lines with numerous rail features, massive jumps, and a quarter pipe as the final feature.

When all was said and done, 21-year-old Tess Coady from St. Kilda, Australia, had the bag of tricks and technical consistency to claim the win in the heated final session. After jumping to the top of the leaderboard on her first run, the Australian Olympic snowboarder took her final run as a victory lap and stoked the crowd by turning up the difficulty yet another notch.

In the top section of the course, Coady finessed a Half Cab on 360 out the rail, wallride to crippler over the hip, and frontside 180 switch back 360 on the butter box. Charging into the jump section, she followed up with a switch backside 900 mute, frontside double 1080 Indy and a stylish backside air on the quarter pipe for 86.18 points and first place.

"I seriously can't believe it. It's so bizarre. I'm so stoked!" said Monster Energy's Tess Coady upon taking first place in Women's Snowboard Slopestyle at LAAX OPEN 2022. "I was pretty nervous for this once since I haven't done a competition since March last year. But I really did what I wanted this week."

Tess Coady learned how to snowboard at Perisher Mountain, one of the few winter resorts in Australia. At the age of 17, she entered the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics as the youngest athlete on Australia's Olympic team but suffered a complicated ACL injury. The resilient athlete soon returned to winning form: In her breakout 2021 season, Coady earned several FIS World Cup wins, bronze at X Games Aspen, and all three available women's snowboard awards(!) at the Audi Nines competition.

Also claiming a podium spot, Monster Energy's Annika Morgan earned a strong third-place finish. After already claiming Big Air bronze at the FIS World Cup event at Steamboat Resort a few weeks earlier, the 19-year-old from Mittenwald, Germany, took her first podium spot at LAAX OPEN.

In the technical section, Morgan blasted a transfer to lipslide down the rail, wallride to front flip over the hip, and a frontside 180 to tail scraper over the butter box. On the jumps, she followed up with a Cab double 900 mute, backside 1080 melon and a frontside lien air on the quarter pipe for 76.61 points and third place.

Morgan is the younger sister of pro snowboarder Ethan Morgan. Her milestone achievements include winning Snowboard Slopestyle on the 2019 World Rookie Tour and Big Air silver in the 2020 Youth Olympic Games. Morgan will represent Germany in the Beijing Olympics in February.

Men's Snowboard Slopestyle: Monster Energy's Ståle Sandbech Rises to Second Place

The level of competition escalated in the Men's Snowboard Slopestyle event under blue skies. The twelve riders in the final hailed from Australia, China, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, the Netherlands, and United States.

In a field of rookies and teenagers, 28-year-old Norwegian style icon Ståle Sandbech once again proved himself as a podium threat. After losing the handle on Run 1, the winner of the 2015 LAAX OPEN found his perfect line on the second and final run of the session.

On the rails, Sandbech landed a backside 180 on Cab 360 off, followed by a switch frontside lipslide 450 and backside Miller flip bringback across the butter box. He then hit the jumps by ways of Cab 1260 stalefish and frontside 1440 Indy, followed by an Indy McTwist on the quarter pipe for 80.43 points and second place, only half of a point behind American Sean Fitzsimons in first.

A long-standing member of the Norwegian national snowboarding team, Sandbech earned Slopestyle silver at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. In 2021, he won the acclaimed X Games Real Snow video competition, bringing his overall X Games medal count to seven (2 silver, 5 bronze). Outside the contest arena, the Norwegian is known for his pioneering StaleLIFE video series on YouTube.

Women's Snowboard Halfpipe: Monster Energy's Chloe Kim Takes the Win

On Saturday night, the high-energy crowd on Crap Sogn Gion mountain was treated to a spectacular show in the Women's Snowboard Halfpipe final. Under the lights, each rider received two runs to post a high score on the legendary LAAX OPEN Superpipe. With 22-feet-high walls and at over 650 feet in length, it's the world's longest competition halfpipe.

After winning the competition at last year's LAAX OPEN and qualifying into the 2022 final in first place, Monster Energy's Chloe Kim dropped into the session as the woman to beat. And straight out the gate, the Queen of the Superpipe cemented her victory in the field of riders from China, Japan, Spain, and the United States with a perfect first run.

Dropping into the LAAX OPEN superpipe with speed, Kim put together a huge method air, frontside 1080 tail grab, switch backside 540 melon, switch backside 540 Indy, and a massive Cab 1080 stalefish on the final wall for 90.25 points and first place.

"It feels really great. It was the best experience. I love this place so much and I always get so excited to come here," said Monster Energy's Chloe Kim upon winning the LAAX OPEN 2022. "The fans showing up watching us and cheering us on was so amazing. And I'm just so happy that I was able to land my first run."

The most decorated woman in halfpipe snowboarding, Kim won her first U.S. Open halfpipe title in 2016 at age 15 and earned gold at the 2018 Winter Olympics. After taking a break from competition in 2019 to focus on her studies at Princeton, she won every major event of the 2020/21 season including X Games Aspen, FIS Laax Open World Cup, and 2021 FIS World Snowboard Championships. Chloe Kim was listed among the 'Most Influential People of 2018' by TIME Magazine and was the 2019 ESPY winner for Best Female Action Sports Athlete.

Men's Snowboard Halfpipe: Monster Energy's Ayumu Hirano Clinches Dominant Victory

Ending an epic weekend of snowboard progression on a high note, the Men's Snowboard Halfpipe evolved into a spectacular aerial show under the floodlights. Stoking the crowd, the field of twelve riders featured the world elite in the discipline, representing Australia, Japan, Switzerland, and the United States.

But in this elite group, including American snowboard icon Shaun White, one rider came in as a new favorite: Monster Energy's Ayumu Hirano from Murakami, Japan. At the 2021 Winter Dew Tour event, the 23-year-old had made history by stomping the first frontside 1440 triple cork aerial ever landed in competition. One week prior to the LAAX OPEN, Hirano took first place in the FIS World Cup Mammoth Mountain.

Losing no time in the high-stakes final, Hirano put down a perfect line for the ages on Run 1. Starting off with a frontside 1440 Indy on the first wall, he blasted switch backside 1440 mute, frontside double cork 1260 Indy, backside double cork 1260 mute, frontside double cork 1080 Truck Driver grab for 93.25 points and a dominant win with what broadcast commentators called the 'best halfpipe run in history'. On his second run, Hirano attempted to raise the bar with his triple cork 1440 but could not secure a clean landing.

"I'm really happy and stoked! I did well on my first run and tried harder tricks on my second run. It felt really comfortable," said Ayumu Hirano upon winning the LAAX OPEN 2022 and overall FIS World Cup Title. "I've been feeling good so far and had no injuries. I've been progressing nicely and want to keep riding well."

On the strength of Saturday's win, Hirano rises to the top of FIS World Cup season standings with 250 points and claims the 2021/22 Crystal Globe trophy as the Overall Champion in Men's Snowboard Halfpipe.

Hirano's competitive record includes two Olympic silver medals in snowboard halfpipe (2014 and 2018) and two X Games gold medals. He also won the 2019 Japanese National Championships in skateboard halfpipe and competed in the Skateboard Park discipline at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

For more on Chloe Kim, Tess Coady, Ayumu Hirano, Ståle Sandbech, Annika Morgan, and the Monster Energy snowboarding team, visit Follow Monster Energy on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok for exclusive updates as the snow season continues.


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