European win special for Wanaka skier
Wanaka freeskier Jossi Wells has overcome major injury to win the European Freeski Open slopestyle in Laax, Switzerland, at the weekend, against some of the world’s best freeskiers. ‘‘Today was pretty personal for me,’’ Wells said. ‘‘The European Open was the first major international event I ever won, back in 2007. It’s been pretty tough coming back from injury this season so to come back here and be back on my game and win, that’s pretty special.’’
Wells, a member of the Cardrona New Zealand Park and Pipe team, broke his neck in a training accident in September.
He returned to competition with the X Games in January and has spent the northern hemisphere season getting back to top form. Olympic gold medallist Joss Christiensen, the world No 2, McRae Williams, both of the United States, and last year’s EFO champion Jesper Tjder, of Sweden, were among the top riders Wells beat in the finals.
However, it was Noah Wallace, of the United States, who placed second and Oystein Braten, of Norway, took third place.
It proved to be a good day at the office for Team Wells with Beau-James qualifying in third place and Jackson in fourth, both progressing through to the semis to join Jossi.
Beau-James finished in seventh place while a hand down on the snow in an otherwise impressive run saw Jackson finish 17th.
Top spot: Wanaka’s Jossi Wells atop the podium after winning the European Open in Switzerland with second place Noah Wallace, of the United States, and Oystein Braten, of Norway, third.