It became apparent upon booting up the FIS World Champs this morning that the slopestyle course was in brutal condition. You could hear how shitty the snow was and it didn't look like a great course anyway with weirdly matched takeoff and landing transitions. Wind was also causing some serious speed issues making for a pretty poor event to say the least. Oh and the decision to wax the rails mid event without telling the riders... put it this way, FIS have not covered themselves in glory this weekend. To be clear, I mean no disrespect to the riders in saying any of this. They deserve mad props for putting up with what they were given and the top runs were frankly insane. FIS need to sort their shit out and fast, thank fuck for the upcoming Slvsh Cup.
Only Devin Logan and Isabel Atkin managed to get to the bottom of the course in the first run of 8. Neither was properly clean either. Run 2, you could hear complaints about the wind coming in from the girls at the bottom. Mathilde Gremaud went into first with her trademark bio 9 in the middle of the run despite a missed grab on her first hit but was immediately bumped by Tess Ledeux, who grabbed all her tricks 5s and 7 and had a nice back four on the A-frame down the bottom.
Sarah Hoefflin put it down at the last time of asking. Great jump line, absolutely huge, good grabs but her rail section let her down with a basic run through the flow feature (tap to whaletail jump) and a straight slide at the bottom. 82.6 and second place. Emma Dahlstrom had a solid run too, cork 7 up top, a nice switch 7 and clean grabs took her into second. A slight early-off on the first rail feature didn't hurt her score too much. Isabel Atkin had a really clean run. Both ways 7, back 4, switch 7, switch on front 4, straight slide. Only good for 3rd though. A fall from Mathilde Gremaud meant the 15 year old had a victory lap and a world championship gold medal. 5 properly clean runs (+ a couple with missed grabs) out of 24 shows just how much of a challenge this course was.
Henrik Harlaut was the first person to put down a clean run today (10th to drop overall). Nosebutter dub 12, switch dub 10, 630 off, dub 10, 2 on 2 off, back 4 off the house and an 85 benchmark. Antoine Adelisse, around 6-7 runs later, was the next to put down a clean run, including the first triple of the day. Pretty weak rail section but he took a marginal lead. Woodsy put down a super clean run too, switch dub 10 octo, switch dub nine, dub 10, dub 12... we've seen that one from him once or twice before but he took hard tricks to the bigger rail features including matching Dollo's roof drop back four and he took a more convincing lead with 89. AHall and Andri had close to great runs but had a couple of bobbles, McRae and ABM had early offs on otherwise great runs. 3 clean runs of 16, not a great start.
Someone was waxing the rails in between runs and I'm pretty sure they didn't tell the riders, who promptly started slipping out all over the place. It genuinely took out around two thirds of the field. Woodsy stepped up his third jump to a triple, he opened up a little early a couple of times but still improved his score. He looked pretty shocked at the bottom, I think he was surprised about how high his score was. Evan McEachran put down a run, as did Russ Henshaw, but grabs were going missing left right and centre for the few guys who made it down the course. Jesper had an insane run going on but the house rail trap caught him too. McRae put it down clean, with a switch dub 14 perfect capped tail and clean rails at the bottom. Good for second behind Woodsy.
Finn Bilous put down a clean run, despite clearly having some issues with the wax trap at the bottom. Henrik put down an absolute banger 3rd run. Dub 12, switch dub 10, switch 2-630, dub (forward) flat 12 up top. I would have had him higher than 87.2 and third. Gus put a solid one down too. His jumps were pretty stock, but a switch 2 pretz 6 followed by the other switch 2 continuing 4 at the bottom and being insanely clean gave him provisional first place. Bellemare put one down too with mirrored tricks and 4 ways dubs up top, as did Russ who had some serious rail tricks at the bottom, but short grabs meant neither scored great. Birk Ruud had the run of the day going on with a dope dub misty 10s but he too got taken out by the wax trap at the bottom and then had an epic freak out, ollieing out the course, throwing his poles, kicking his helmet. In his defence, the event was a bad joke, it must have been infuriating. Antoine Adelisse had a super nice triple 14 but also got trapped. Woodsy had a super clean jump line going on but got destroyed on the A-frame, catching his tip on a switch on. The takeoff looked super melted out which can't have helped. Andri Ragettli had crazy jumps and Jesper Tjader has maybe the coolest line choice of the day but both had issues on the bottom rails.
McRae Williams blew the doors off on the penultimate run of the day: kang, switch dub 10, misty off, switch triple 14, switch 2 continuing 4, switch 180 up back 450 off the house. 93.4 and first. ABM got taken out by the wax trap on a dope run and that was it. I make that 13 out of 48 runs landed clean from some of the best skiers on the planet. McRae Williams is your world champion and world championship winner though, and deserves mad props for his run today.
Massive shoutout to the BBC commentator, who was completely open about the fact he had no clue what half the tricks were but made some epic comments throughout. "Order that guy a bottle of eau de livid". Class. *Videos coming ASAP. If you're in the UK or use a proxy, you can watch on BBC iplayer*.