It’s the biggest ski and snowboard competition in the southern hemisphere, and the official start to the FIS World Cup season. But despite impressive names like Jamie Anderson, Mikaela Shiffrin, Joss Christensen, Ted Ligety and the Wells brothers, it’s easy to miss when you’re not actually in New Zealand. The beauty of World Cup events is that lesser-known names often shine, as we’ll soon see in this rapid-fire recap of the first few days.
Superstar Jamie Anderson won the women’s Snowboard Slopestyle (are we even surprised?). 10 points ahead of her competitors, her victory lap included a new trick, a backside rodeo 5.
Canadian Laurie Blouin was stoked to get place second - the course obviously agreed with her. According to Blouin “[it was] perfect”. Leave it to the Kiwis. Meanwhile, American Hailey Langland finished 3rd.
In the men’s event, rookie Chris Corning took the top spot. Easy to see why with a run that included a backside 270 to boardslide and switch front bluntside 270. It surprised many that Japanese favorite Yuki Kadono placed second.
In the women’s Ski Slopestyle, Devin Logan shined as usual with a flat spin 540 that made her score the one to beat – she took the gold. Local star Janina Kuzma had to settle for silver, but her run was still one to be proud of, her alley-oop flat 5 being a new addition.
The French did the unthinkable, sweeping the podium in the men’s Ski Halfpipe for the first time ever. Kevin Rolland, who had a great 2014 did a near-perfect left side double cork 1260, securing the gold.
Thomas Krief and Benoit Valentin rounded out the podium. Rolland was stoked with the triple-French victory. ”Every contest, we try to do this, but we never have it, and now it’s done”.
Crowd favourite Joss Christensen and local star Jackson Wells are through to the finals of the Ski Big Air. This could be another great season for Christensen.
It’s exciting to see crowd favorites battling for wins against athletes who until now, didn’t have much of the spotlight. There’s plenty more to come in this 10-day competition, so stay tuned!