Cover Photo: Jesper frontflips off. Credit: Laura Obermeyer
As is becoming traditional, the first World Cup of the season went down in Stubai, Austria today. The most important thing to go down today was the debut of a new judging format. Runs were judged ‘section-by-section’ echoing the system used in snowboarding for some years now, and on overall impression. Each skier gets a trick score that then forms part of their overall score.
According to FIS: "The new system allows judges to focus more on details, with part of the panel judging solely the specific sections of the course, and the other part taking into account the overall impression. With such a high diversity and difficulty of freeski tricks we witness in today’s competitions, the new system helps not only for judging to be more accurate but also has the advantage to present the sport through understandable graphics to the broader audience."
Henrik capping blunt. Photo: Laura Obermeyer
We'll reach out to the riders and see what they thought before passing judgment. For November, the course with 2 jumps, a jump/cannon feature and 2 rail sections, was looking pretty good, if a touch small. It actually looked fun to ride though. Conditions were solid too, with the finals being moved from Saturday to Friday to avoid an incoming storm. Two runs each for the men and the women saw plenty of highlights. Videos coming soon.
The first run of slopestyle today immediately showed the enormous progression in Women's slope over the last 8 months. Most riders didn't exactly lace their runs, but the tricks being attempted showed that the bar has been pushed way forwards. Julia Krass stomped a dub 10 in run two, but couldn't keep it clean. Maggie Voisin took her dub to 12 in run one but again, also couldn't put down a full run. At the end of the day, we saw three familiar names on the podium in a show highlighted by the return of Kelly Sildaru's unbelievable rail skills.
1st: Kelly Sildaru: Sw right 10 mute, sw left 10 mute, switch 2 on pretz 6 (cannon), switch on kfed (downrail), left 2 pretz 2 (down rail)
2nd: Sarah Hoefflin: Switch right 10 high mute, sw left 5 mute, back 4 (cannon), left switch lip 2 to forward (down rail), front swap to forward
3rd: Mathilde Gremaud: Right bio 9 safety, sw left 5 mute (switch dub 9 bootgrab 2nd run), back 2 safety, front swap to switch, switch to switch (downrail)
The course did look a bit small for most of the riders who were all going deep on the jumps, especially with the giant Prime Sessions jumps in the background. But there were some insane tricks stomped all through the 18-man final (sidenote: this is a lot of riders for a final). A Hall had a beautiful switch right dub 12 lead mute, hung out to dry, and a backslide back swap transfer from the green flat rail to the down rail. Teale Harle did a crazy left 6 disaster over the same rail to the down rail and Jesper did Jesper things: a crazy switch on to frontflip 90 off (to forward) on the cannon and 5 swap from up rail to down rail. Ultimately I'd say Max Moffat had both the most creative and steezy run: Sw right dub 12 true nose, carved left dub 10, cork 3 true nose off the side of the cannon/wallride, transfer off the second cannon to handrag the rainbow box ending with sw 2 to backswap to forward. But it wasn't enough for top 3, with Henrik's trademark sw triple 12 critical at the top and disaster 4 cont 2 at the bottom taking him right to the top.
1st: Henrik Harlaut: Sw left trip 'orbital' 12 critical, right dub 12 safety, sw2 cont 4 tweak safety (cannon), sw on to forward (up rail) - 2 on cont front swap cont 2 (downrail), Disaster 4 to downrail 2 out.
2nd: Mac Forehand: Sw left dub 12 tweaked mute, right dub 12 dub japan, switch 2 cont 6 safety (cannon), back 3 swap transfer (up to down) pretz 2, sw right lip 2 pretz 2
3rd: Ferdinand Dahl: Sw left dub 12 safety, right double misty 10 japan, back cork 6 japan (cannon), switch 2 cont 2, 3 swap to switch (flat to down transfer).