Cover: Swiss Freeski // Skier: Mathilde Greamud
Women's slopestyle kicked things off this morning in Beijing at the Genting Snowpark having been rescheduled from yesterday; postponed, thankfully, due to high winds and snowfall. The conditions were a lot better than yesterday although still cold (-13 degrees Fahrenheit) and therefore solid underfoot. Despite this, the sun was out for the ladies to throw down on the huge Olympic Slopestyle course, after a monumental Big Air we got another excellent show of women's freestyle riding in some tough conditions, finals are going to be special. Here are the highlights!
Things kicked off a little cagily with riders doing their best to stay warm and fighting a fair dose of wind.
Kelly Sildaru was the first to put down a clean run, lacing both ways switch 2s, a huge switch 7 mute to switch 9 lead blunt capped perfectly on the bottom booter. The bar was now set at 80.96
Johanne Killi responded well to Kelly, switch 2 continuing 2 on the big down rail, although she wiffed the blunt grab on her first 9, going a bit slow, then laced both ways switch 7s - although the judges put her ahead of Kelly with 81.48.
The veteran Silvia Bertanga put things down well; switch 2 on continuing 4, set a little early and surface swapped into it a little with some style. She went big on the jumps but lacked big spins and was awarded 65.25.
Maggie Voisin had a sick rail section with a switch 2 continuing 2 followed by a massive blind 6, she went a little big on the first two jumps and then came up a touch short on the last booter; maybe being hindered by the wind. She was rewarded well for the blind 6 and the amplitude with a score of 72.78.
Kirsty Muir the young Brit put things clean and went big on the jumps, her blind 4 was perfect. and she laced her switch misty 9 blunt on the Wu-Tang and then a big left cork 9 blunt on the money booter. She was maybe after a little more on the top rail that she switch 2'd onto earning 70.11 and a spot in 4th.
Marin Hamill had a super nice run she was looking confident from the word go. Her switch cork 5 japan was on a beautiful axis, and her right seven tail grab had the perfect flex on the ski and plenty of afterbang on the landing 69.43.
Run 2 kicked off with many of the big names needing to put down runs to stay in the game:
Eileen Gu sitting in 11th after her first run had to put it down putting down a 450 onto the first rail, switch left bio 9 tail off the Wu-Tang and a right 9 on the last. Showing her class and ability to perform under pressure. Also having her lunch at the bottom and missing her halfpipe practice, a lack of cleanliness docked her a few points; earning 79.38 and all but guaranteeing her finals spot.
Sarah Hoefflin fell on her first rail not getting her switch 270 around she was sitting in 17th when she dropped. Her switch 7 mute was textbook but she only moved into 15th. We lost our reigning champion in qualifications.
Tess Ledeux also had to put it down sitting in 20th when she dropped. Her front 6 was super nice, her jumps were awesome putting down a switch left 7 to switch right bio 9 to left 9. The relief the riders were showing for putting down a run demonstrated quite how tough this slopestyle course is. The judges were taking their time over scores today but who can blame them with the way things have been going. 68.13 putting her just behind Kirsty Muir.
Kelly upped the tempo and put on a clinic. Putting down a switch 2p2 on the top rail then destroying the jumps with perfect switch right 9 blunt to switch 10 mute backed up switch right 10 lead blunt. The Kelly we know and love scoring a first-place 86.96.
Johanna Killi backed things up again cleaning up her rails and capping the blunt on her left 9. She followed this with a switch right 7 Japan to switch left 7 Japan which capped her run off nicely 86 and second her reward.
Mathilde's rail sections were fairly sketchy. Her jumps were nice with a right bio 9 was beautiful followed by a parking lot switch right 7, an agonising wait for Mathilde while the judges did some counting. She earned 63.46, enough for 12th and the bubble spot, a nervy place for the heavy hitter with so much talent yet to drop. Megan Oldham skied fast and went on her huge blind 2 off the canon and her back to back 5s, although missed the grab on her 900. The judges deliberated this one, she earned 63.10 missing finals by a hair, evidently losing points for technicality on the jumps - potentially a harsh call to not bump Mathilde.
Silvia Bertanga cleaned up her rails and then went HUGE on her 9 blunt on the final jump. Earning a few more points moving from 9th up into 7th. Kirsty Muir tidied things up and went bigger on the jumps improving her score a few points and putting her into 5th. Katie Summerhayes, the other Brit in the field didn't improve her score but remained in 9th.
Marin Hamill, having already earned a spot in the finals, took a big slam on the last jump of run 2. It looked like a nasty one, we're wishing you all the best!
Anastasia Tatalina put down an awesome run to cap off qualification switch 2 to the other way 2 on the DFD, right 900 lead Cuban, super nice a massive, switch 5 japan and a left 900 blunt properly capped to finish things off 72.03. With Caroline Claire not riding Mathilde managed to squeeze into finals.