After an action packed few days at the Ruka Battery Park in Northern Finland, snowboarding’s upcoming star Enni Rukajärvi took the victory at the 3Star Oakley Girlsessions. The event had attracted a crowd that was curious to see the local rookie talent, who had last month been crowned Swatch TTR World Snowboard Champion. In second place came Saana Pehkonen (FIN) and in third Claire Frost (GBR) who all got a piece of the $10000 USD prize purse.
Once the morning fog eased up, the qualifiers began and the riders boosted off the kickers in the hope to become one of the eight finalists. The shapers had done their best to tame the unusually slushy spring snow conditions, in order to create a progressive slopestyle setup for the girls. Claire Frost (GBR) said after the event:“ It was a fun course, the jumps were well shaped and it had a good flow. In one run you can do a bit of everything, with a fast lift to get up. I would say its one of the best parks I’ve ridden in Europe.“ Claire, who had won a wild card from the 3Star Skullcandy Sista Sessions earlier this year, stomped a backside 360 mute and frontside 720 melon over the top kickers in her second run in the finals. Saana Pehkonen from Rovaniemi, who won the 2Star Finnish Snowboarding Championships slopestyle this year, was also in contention to knock Enni out from the top spot. Saana is a constantly progressing rider and stomped a backside 360 melon, frontside 540 tailfish, a cab 180 nosegrab and a frontside 270 on 270 out and a cab 270 in 270 out in the jib section.
Enni Rukajärvi qualified in first and held on to the lead throughout the day. Her effortless airs showed no sign that she had been away from her home park most of the season demonstrating her impeccable technique by stomping a solid winning run consisting of a backside 540 indy, cab 720 indy, switch backside 180 indy on the kickers into a frontside 270 on and a nose press switch-up in the box section. On her last run in the finals she only barely bailed on a cab 900 attempt, showing the spectators what lies ahead in the upcoming winters. This year, Enni returned to this event, which had once been her first competing experience. “This year here at the Girlsessions I have had a bit of a different program, as I have been coaching the future stars, and on Friday night we had a bit of a celebration and ate some cake”, sais Enni after the comp. The party honouring Enni’s success on the Swatch TTR World Tour as well as many other victories this season included speeches among all of Enni’s friends and family. The 19-year old looked happy and relaxed among her close peers and exclaimed “It's great to come back here every year to ride at the Oakley Girlsessions. Its an amazing feeling, its the best event of the year and has the best vibe!” In a generous gesture she shared her prize money with the other finalists.
This years’ Oakley Girlsessions attracted more than 80 enthusiastic girls from 8 different nations to participate in the various activities during the four days. Activities included coaching, photo shoots, seminars, amateur competition sessions, parties and a lot of fancy dress action. It is a setup created to push the progression of the female athletes and shine the spotlight on the new emerging talent. With the huge international success of Enni Rukajärvi this season it has been particularly rewarding for the event organizers who are more than proud of Enni’s accomplishments.
For more pictures and information please check out www.girlsessions.com
TOP 8 AT 3STAR OAKLEY GIRLSESSIONS
1. Enni Rukajärvi FIN 95.75
2. Saana Pehkonen FIN 87.25
3. Claire Frost GBR 80.25
4. Hanna Laukkanen FIN 70.75
5. Chani Michaux ARG 66.75
6. Veera Vihervaara FIN 60.50
7. Tiina Lindström FIN 60.258. Emilie Evensen NOR 26.50
photos Janos Schmidt