22 Mar 2015

Big win for Jossi Wells on comeback trail

2:16 pm on 22 March 2015

Wanaka freeskier Jossi Wells has overcome a broken neck to win the European Freeski Open slopestyle in Switzerland.

Wells beat a stacked field of 109 men in Laax, which included some of the world's best freeskiers.

Jossi Wells on top of the podium at the Euro Freeski Open

Jossi Wells on top of the podium at the Euro Freeski Open Photo: snowsports.co.nz

Wells broke his neck in a training accident in September 2014, but returned to competition with the X Games in January.

He just scraped though to the Laax final in 10th place, but he showed his true class in the decider.

"I messed up the first jump and just made it through to finals. I knew I could do better," says Wells.

Opting to ski to the conditions and focus on execution rather than push his limits with his most technical tricks, the 24-year-old went for a smooth top to bottom approach on his final run.

Jossi Wells in action at Laax 2015

Jossi Wells in action at Laax 2015 Photo: snowsports.co.nz

He started with a right 270 on, front 270 out and a switch left 270 back 270 out in the rail section, followed by a right 900 leading tailgrab, switch left doublecork 900 safety, left doublecork 1260 mute and switch right doublecork 1080 safety over the four jumps.

His third run score of 85.16 was the best of the day.

US rider Noah Wallace finished second on 84.83, Oystein Bråten took third place on 84.5.

Wells says it's a pretty personal day for him.

"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 represented New Zealand at the Winter Olympics in Russia last year. He finished fourth in the halfpipe event.