Words: Tania Pilkinton

Photos: Camilla Stoddart

Video: Jase Hancox

Once again this year, the Volkl NZ Freeski Open earned its reputation as one of freeskiing’s most progressive events as both the men and the women unveiled new tricks and combinations never before seen in competition.

Australia’s Russ Henshaw captured the men’s slopestyle title with clean, back-to-back double corks, the first a left-side double cork 1080 followed by a right-side double cork 12 in a dramatic final at Cardrona Alpine Resort Friday.

Russ Henshaw, back-to-back double corking his way to first place.

“This is the first time in a slopestyle competition that we’ve seen back-to-back double corks,” said Kiwi judge Dion Newport. “The level of riding was higher than at the X Games and just keeps progressing.”

Henshaw narrowly defeated runner-up Bobby Brown of the US, the defending Volkl Freeski Open slopestyle champion and X Games Gold medallist, even though Brown was the only rider in the competition to throw a switch double misty 1260.

Bobby Brown...always on point.

Third place went to Gus Kenworthy of Telluride in the US. Kenworthy combined a double cork 1260 and a switch double cork 1080.

On the women’s side, the judges were wowed by the performance of Canada’s Kim Lamarre, who despite earlier crashes nailed her final run, executing a difficult switch zero spin off the big 75-foot kicker.

Kim Lamarre picks up her first big of the year.

“We knew Kim was a great skier, but she pulled out an incredibly difficult trick by going off the main kicker switch with no spin and landing it perfectly,” said Newport. “She separated herself from the rest of the field today.”

Lamarre was followed by Australia’s Anna Segal in second. Segal’s run featured a switch 540, a flare and 720. One of the youngest of the top women riders, Canada’s Megan Gunning, placed third.

The top Kiwi on the men’s side was Taylor King, who finished 14th. Byron Wells did not progress past the semis but is more focused on his specialty event, the halfpipe, scheduled for Saturday (tomorrow).

The top Kiwi women were Mikey Austin, who finished fifth and Kate Hartley, who was sixth.

Tomorrow’s Volkl NZ Freeski Open halfpipe competition is scheduled to get underway at 9:30 a.m. at Cardrona with the men’s qualifications.

Anna Segal (2nd), Kim Lamarre (1st), Megan Gunning (3rd)

Women's Results

1) Kim Lamarre

2) Anna Segal

3) Megan Gunning

4) Jamie Crane-Mauzy

5) Mikey Austin

6) Kate Hartley

7) Nina Ragettli

8) Sarah Martinais

Bobby Brown (2nd), Russ Henshaw (1st), Gus Kenworthy (3rd)

Men's Results

1) Russ Henshaw

2) Bobby Brown

3) Gus Kenworthy

4) Chris Laker

5) Vincent Gagnier

6) Alex Schlopy

7) AJ Kemppainen

8) Nick Goepper

9) Henrik Harlaut

10) Patrick Baskins

11) Erik Hughes

12) Elias Ambühl

13) Toni Höllwart

14) Taylor King

15) Byron Wells

16) Jonas Hunziker

17) Charles Gagnier

18) Taylor Seaton

19) Maks Gorha

20) David Ortlieb

21 Kai Mahler Kai

22) Matt Soundy

23) Beau-James Wells

24) Cyrill Hunziker

25) Trent Francis

26) Marlon Johnson

27) Alex Gorham

28) Matt Johnson

29) Frederick Iliano

30) Hamish McDougall

31) Alec Savery

32) Manuel Eder

33) Maxence Gisin

34) Wing Tai Barrymore

35) Manuel Manca

36) Ryan Read

37) Olly Allan

38) Hugo Miller

NZ Open Slopestyle 2010 from Jase Hancox BASKET PRODUCTIONS on Vimeo.