The penultimate slopestyle world cup of the season followed last night's halfpipe contest under mostly grey Calgary skies. The light was pretty flat, at least for the first run, and some riders went to the moon, perhaps misjudging the speed. But the course looked pretty fun, if not the biggest. It also offered some variety, courtesy of a massive roller in the middle of the second set of jumps. That feature was pretty underused, but starred in one or two of the most unique runs of the day, mixing up the viewing experience. From a viewer's point of view, it's a pity when courses have some different features put in and the guys stick with sending doubles over them, but perhaps it makes sense from a scoring point of view. It seemed like with the jump size limiting tricks somewhat, it was a good opportunity to do something new though.
Meghan Oldham started things off strong for the local contingent, with two 9s at the bottom of her run and a smooth switch on front 4 on the cannon. A few of the riders were going full Gucci on the second jump feature, including Katie Summerhayes, recently returned to the comp circuit and Dara Howell. Reports are that speed was hugely faster than in qualis and even practice which caused some issues. Johanne Killi was unfazed dropping a fairly safe, by her standards, but smooth as butter run to place herself just behind Meghan. Eileen Gu, last night's halfpipe winner was on a strong run before also getting caught out by the second jump feature. Mathilde Gremaud had an early off on one of the rails but crushed the rest of the course and damn she is good to watch on skis. Style.
Meghan came off early on the first rail, leaving her with a long wait to see if her first-run lead would hold up. Dara Howell cleaned up her first run significantly with b2b switch 7s at the bottom and much smoother rail tricks but it wasn't enough to hit the podium. Johanne Killi was uncharacteristically sketchy on the rails run two and went too big on the final jump, leaving her in provisional second. Eileen Gu then bumped the whole podium down, taking the lead by 9 points with a two on two off up top, a front 4 dub japan out of the cannon, a flat 5 out of the 'shark fin' and switch misty 9 to cork 9 on the bottom two jumps. Mathilde Gremaud also stomped, with a cork 7 out of the shark, and bio 9 to switch 7 down the bottom. It had to be close, her rails were perhaps smoother but her jumps were less big... second place, leaving Eileen Gu a double winner in Calgary.
Tasei Yammamoto opened things and on the men's side and wasn't totally clean on the rails, but he's a guy who's just fun to watch. You never quite know what is coming, which is a rarity these days. Nick Goepper took an early, if shaky, lead with a technical run, including a two on rodeo out of the cannon. A Hall was the first guy to hit the roller, the most interesting feature on the course spinning switch sev from the jump kicker to the roller and then popping the switch 3 out. He wasn't clean through the rails but it was a relief to see someone use it. Andri Ragettli definitely did not hit the fun feature but did stomp his run clean on the rails and his trademark dub 16 at the bottom to take the lead with a respectable 86.25. Jesper T, straight off of finishing his Real Ski part, returned to competition in Calgary, and stomped his trademarks too: frontflip out of the cannon and blender switch dub 10, but got a typically average score. Etienne Geoffroy got the local crowd screaming with squeaky clean rails, a huge dub flat 9 out of the shark fin and a switch dub 10 octo on the final jump, but perhaps lacked on technicality to go fourth. Last to drop, Colby Stevenson continued his comp onslaught with a run featuring a nosebutter 4 on, switch 4 backslide and a dub 16 stale for 88.6 and the lead at the end of run 1.
Evan McEachran, a local favorite, crashed on his first run and hugely improved on his second, but a small bobble pinned his score to 82 and third for the time being. Antoinne Adelisse crashed both his runs but his tweaked post-crash 180 did make the cover of this article, so that's something. Nick Goepper cleaned up his grabs from run 1 and also his landings, leaving him provisionally second with an 86.36. Alex Hall had one of the best rail runs I've ever seen, switch swivel to nosebutter 450 on the top rail, tokio drift to backswap pretz two on the final rail... but came up short on a dub 12 off the shark fin. Andri Ragettli cleaned things up a little all through his run, stomping with authority and going huge, taking the narrowest of leads from Colby by just 0.13 points. Fabian Boesch, the current tour leader went too big on both the first two jumps and had to skip the final one. Finn Bilous couldn't put down a totally perfect run, with a slight early off one rail, but his landings are fucking beautiful. A fifth-place despite the slightly dodgy second rail is a testament to that. Etienne Geoffrey was perfect again but it seems like his back to back switch dub 10s down the bottom don't cut it these days. Again, nice to watch. Last to drop, Colby Stevenson had to send it for gold, went to the moon on a dub flat 7 but just didn't have the speed on the second jump thanks to a gust of with and lost both skis, leaving him in second place. That meant that Andri Ragettli took home yet another win, chapeau.
Watch the full replay here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pdVX_drzSTI&pbj (may require a UK (or other) proxy).