- Melissa Larsen, General Editor, Action Sports
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Nineteen year old Seppe Smits, from the flat country of Belgium, has just become the very first FIS-backed World Champion of Slopestyle Snowboarding today in La Molina, Spain. Though as of press time the most recent news report coming out of the FIS is dated Jan. 21, and states only that the Snowboard World Championships slopestyle and halfpipe qualifiers had to be postponed due to high winds, Smits' website, and news wires out of Belgium are reporting that he did, in fact, win the slopestyle event at some point Saturday, Jan. 22.
Smits also placed third in the FIS World Championship Big Air on Jan. 15, behind Canada's Zack Stone and Finland's Petja Piirionen.
According to Smits' website, conditions at the FIS World Championships freestyle venues have been less than ideal. Most big air competitions held so far this season -- including the TTR Air & Style, Beijing that Smits placed second at in December -- have been won with a 1260 variation. Due to the small size of the jump in La Molina, and the softness of the landing, competitors were held to 1080 variations during the finals.
Of the slopestyle course, Smits was quoted in De Telegraaf as saying: "The course and the judging were not ideal, though I can't complain about the outcome, of course."
De Telegraff is also reporting that Sweden's Niklas Mattson and Finland's Ville Paumola finished second and third in slopestyle today. Untitled results on the FIS website list Finland's Enni Rukajarvi in first on the women's side, with Czechoslovakia's Sarka Pancochova and New Zealand's Shelly Gotlieb in second and third.
19hPat McManamon and Jeremy Fowler