10,000 enthusiastic fans, a brightly lit course through the streets of Bad Gastein, Austria, and 21 athletes in top form: at the 9th edition of Red Bull PlayStreets, the riders pushed their boundaries once again. Jesper Tjäder from Sweden impressed the judges with his sensational tricks on the innovative new course and secured his second star on the Wall of Fame, while Andri Ragettli (SUI) took second place and Kim Gubser (SUI) got third.
They came to play: from all over the planet, 21 of the best freeskiers in the world had answered the call of Red Bull PlayStreets. In the middle of the historic town centre of Bad Gastein, the fearless riders had their playground prepared, peppered with the KIA quarterpipe, massive Oakley wallride, kickers, a road gap, trampoline, and challenging rails. Among the participants from 12 nations were riders such as reigning champion / winner of the 2017 edition Nick Goepper (USA), Jesper Tjäder (SWE), Andri Ragettli (SUI), Max Moffatt (CAN), Chris McCormick (GBR), Matej Svancer (AUT), Finn Bilous (NZL), Kim Gubser (SUI), Thibault Magnin (ESP), and Mikkel Brusletto Kaupang (NOR).
After the qualification in the afternoon, the 16 best riders competed in head-to-head duels in the finals. The high level of the demanding course challenged the athletes. In the final rounds, however, the riders doubled down and delivered even more insane tricks than they already had shown up to that point. Fuelled by the cheers of the 10,000 spectators, Tjäder and Ragettli gave their best as they battled for victory in the grand finale, just as they had done back in 2017. Judged by a jury of three, Tjäder finally took the well-deserved first place in the heartbeat final.
In the clash between the “Swiss clockwork” and the creative Scandinavian, both were able to score points with their respective skills. Tjäder started right away with an impressive switch flair on the KIA quarterpipe, a trick that nobody else had shown to this point. He then delivered a misty 720 with a reverse mute grab on the big air, and mastered the nine-metre-high Oakley wallride with a cork 540 up and a 180 down. Tjäder then continued with a flat spin over the Völkl hip, before riding switch into the infamous new trampoline and showed a flip out to the next obstacle. He also mastered the rail section with nerves of steel and closed the Last Dance with a 450 to switch. “It’s just great to win here. It’s a really difficult course that can’t be compared to any other contest. The atmosphere pushes you so hard and makes Red Bull PlayStreets unique. I’m so stoked I won my second star,” he said.
The 28-year-old Swede can now look forward to his second star on the Red Bull PlayStreets Wall of Fame, on which the winners of the previous nine contests are already immortalized. Austria’s Matej Svancer put in a strong performance but was narrowly beaten by Switzerland’s Kim Gubser in the small final and finished in fouth place. The 18-year-old, who lives in Zell am See not far from Bad Gastein, was stoked about his excellent placing in front of his home crowd: “I’m really satisfied, Red Bull PlayStreets is just really cool. The semi-final against Jesper was a blast. Jesper does the sickest stunts, especially at Red Bull PlayStreets!”
Watch the replay of the event by clicking here, and for more information on Red Bull PlayStreets, visit redbullplaystreets.com.