Cover Photo: Chad Buchholz/Fis

Winter halfpipe season kicked off in Copper this week and for the most part, it was the usual suspects who made the finals cut bar one: Kelly Sildaru has gradually been moving into halfpipe, has quickly made her self a 'triple threat' as announcers are so fond of calling it. As is normal for her in slopestyle, she dominated proceedings with perfect technique. On the men's side several guys didn't quite put down what they would have liked, but the winning run was a stormer.



T-Sizzle came out of the blocks swinging with a great score of 86. His use of multiple axes and directions (and fewer doubles) always makes him a standout to watch. David Wise did his trademark thing, spinning all four ways but left two of the dubs we know he can do out to put down a 'safety' run which still scored in the 90s. Miguel Porteous stomped a crazy run including a crazy sw to sw dub to sw alleyoop combo to take the early lead with a 93. Younger brother Nico put it down hard too, ending run number one in 3rd and reminding us that NZ ski talent doesn't seem to have been at all evenly distributed through the populace.

On run number two pretty much everyone crashed. Shoutout Nico Porteous for the all zero spin run after throwing his second run away. Aaron Blunck, however, went huge and stomped dubs all four ways (perhaps not quite as 'proper' as Wise but still all four), including his beautiful sw to sw dub up top and a huge dub 14 tindy down the bottom taking the lead with a huge score of 96.25. Super good run.

Aaron Blunck's Winning Run


Run three saw David Wise shoulder check on his final hit right dub 12 meaning the end of his chances of a win. Simon D'Artois had perhaps the craziest run of the day to watch, going massive with a crazy alleyoop dub 7 down the bottom but unfortunately couldn't keep it clean. Alex Ferreira, usually one to watch also couldn't keep it clean, managing to finish a run on the third attempt but to not put down the complete insanity he normally shows. Nobody else managed to change up the order, leaving Blunck, Miguel P and David Wise as 1,2,3.



Brita Sigourney went characteristically big on run number one with a huge left 9 on her second hit and a right 7 down the bottom. But Kelly Sildaru raised the bar, getting more hits than most riders and still managing back to back 9s up top with a switch 9 at the bottom to boot. Run two, Kelly cleaned up her run, pushing her score even higher (see run below). Cassie Sharpe put it down clean, with a run highlighted by a cork 10 tindy at the bottom, but it wasn't enough to topple Kelly, leaving her second.

Kelly's Winning Run


In run number three, Rachel Karker landed a clean run at the final of asking and it was one of the nicest runs to watch. Enough for third place briefly before Brita Sigourney went bigger on her same run, cleaning up the grabs and bumping Rachel down to fourth. Kelly went three for three on landed runs but didn't manage to boost her score. Cassie Sharpe didn't have a clean third run checking the deck on her right 7 but still slightly bettering her score, leaving Kelly top of the podium. I think we'll be seeing that pretty frequently in the future.