China is going big on freeskiing in the lead up to the Olympics in 2022. This year saw ski added to Air + Style Beijing for the first time and the jump looked insane for a city event, almost like a real mountain big air with a full snow table and wide inrun. They even seemed to have turned off the pollution for the occasion. Some big names failed to make it through qualifying both thanks to missing the event, DNSing and failing to make the cut including Alex Hall, Fabian Boesch, Henrik Harlaut, Sarah Hoefflin, Mathilde Gremaud and more, leaving the door open for some different names to have a shot at the podium. But in the end, enough of the big guns did make it that things had a fairly familiar look to them, despite the absentees.
Giulia Tanno and Johanne Killi opened things with solid first runs, Giulia squeaking round her trademark dub 10 despite coming up a bit short. Dara Howell slightly overrotated her switch 10 attempt, while Margaux Hackett must have missed a grab on her switch bio 9 because her score was hit hard.
On run two, Lou Barin put down her switch left 9 pretty clean but also only scored a 65. Margaux just brought a bio/misty 7 safety around to post a second score, before Johanne Killi upped the bar with a stomped switch dub 10 safety for 92.75 and a pretty unassailable lead when combined with her first score. Giulia put down a switch left 9 tail of her own like it was nothing for 84.25, couldn't have looked easier and a solid second place with one jump to go.
Run 3 saw the riders' runs flipped in to reverse order of leaderboard standing. Lou Barin could only manage mid-60s again, before Silvia Bertagna, coming kinda out of nowhere in terms of spectacle, put down a second clean one of the night (a switch 5 tweaked mute, following up a 7) to bump herself into third. Margaux Hackett hit the ground hard on a switch misty 9 but somehow skied out fine. Giulia T couldn't stomp her dub 10, but even if she had, it was doubtful she could have toppled Johanne, who was left with a victory lap (a floaty switch cork 5) and a very deserved victory.
Max Moffat started things off with a switch dub 14 with his trademark tweaked true nose for 89, immediately followed by Oliwer Magnusson with a sw dub 14 of his own, and then Jesper with a huge and perfectly capped dub 16 blunt. Andri Ragettli stomped the first triple of the day, a forward 16 for 93. Christian Nummedal then stomped a seemingly perfect capped switch dub 16 but for some reason didn't score more than 89 and Kim Gubser went switch triple 14 japan for 91.75. Teale Harle will be seeing you in 2030 after a flawless switch dub 18 mute for a massive 96.0. Elias Syrja sprung the nosebutter on em, rocking Forre 4 Life gloves and flexing to the camera in the corral like the world's most deadpan Dollo. Finland things. He only scored an 87 but it was still a highlight.
Max Moffat, who is fast becoming my favorite guy to watch at these things, went rogue with a carving nosebutter dub 16 lead safety but shuffled the landing. Jesper went switch blender dub 14 for run two and posted a second score in the 90s for his efforts. Kim Gubser took a heavy digger on a forward triple 16 but looked fine afterward. Teale Harle backed up his first run with a carved forward dub 16 japan for 93.25 and the lead. Syrja went to the moon on a switch double/triple 14 (Henrik style) bow and arrow but landed kinda over-rotated and only scored in the 60s. Birk Ruud came back from a heavy run 1 crash with a forward right dub 14 tweaked mute. 93.75, dude is an alien.
Birk 'the alien' Ruud, shook things up big time with a forward left dub bio 18 for a 96.5, taking the lead and blowing minds. Max Moffat cleaned up his carved(!?) nosebutter dub 16 safety landing but unfortunately didn't grab clean (some boot in there I think) and only scored a 77 for it. Elias Syrja put an 88.75 on the board for his sw trip but his other scores were too low to challenge the leaders. Oliwer Magnusson scored a solid 91 for a perfectly capped dub 16 blunt, but again, didn't have a second score to back it up for a podium place. Christian Nummedal bumped the number of 18s today to three with a switch dub 18 blunt for a massive 95.75, but because it was the same direction as his first hit, didn't make the podium. Jesper went switch dub 16 but couldn't improve. Teale went forward 16 again bumping his score on that trick up by 0.75 to 94.0 but it still wasn't enough, leaving Birk Ruud standing on the proverbial top step. Both those guys went sicko mode today, so huge shoutout to both.