The first World Cup Slopestyle of the Northern Hemisphere winter went down in Stubai over the weekend, with both Men's and Women's finals taking place this morning. Questionable weather and fresh snow from the night before somewhat defined proceedings. But the course build itself also seemed pretty lacking. Three medium sized jumps were followed by two banks of rail options, none of which really seemed big enough for the calibre of riders hitting them. Speed was also an issue, with both the changing wind and the soft snow on course snow making things difficult to judge. Any bobble ruined speed for the entire run.
The problems with conditions led to correspondingly few landed runs. Most who did make it to the bottom experienced some kind of issues. The fact that only two triple attempts went down, from Wacko and Dollo, highlights the environment in which the event took place. We were seeing a lot of slopestyle runs in finals that would have looked more the norm several years ago. And that is not knocking the riders, who frankly deserve almost infinite credit for being willing to send what they did, there were just limits to what was possible on the day.
Highlights Run 1:
- Dollo: Switch left dub 10, switch right dub 9, rodeo 7, right lip 450 transfer to switch (crazy but landed sketchy), switch 2 pretz 2 for the first clean (ish) run of the day to take the provisional lead. At the finish he was claiming "never done that lip 4 before" for the cameras. Legend.
- Kai Mahler: Wallride from flat on the gondola feature (usually a rainbow box).
- Noah Wallace: Dub 12, switch dub 9, some kind of underflip/pretzel flip blunt (only saw the landing so hard to call), switch 2 continuing 2, lip 2 continuing 2. Good enough for provisional 3rd.
- Oystein: Switch right dub 10 japan, switch left dub 9 dub japan, back 810 blunt from the cannon, sw tails 2 continuing two and finishing with a disaster 4 on to the DFD to take the lead.
- A-Hall had a switch dub 14 up top backed up by the most creative rail tricks of the day ((switch 2 to tokyo drift polejam on continuing swap) on the first down rail, try to imagine that in your head without seeing it!), but sadly came off a little early on which killed his score.
- Outrageous switch triple attempt from Dollo, but he couldn't quite hold it together.
- Oystein stomped his run even cleaner, rounding things off by adding a continuing 2 to his disaster 4. This gave him a whopping score of 91.40, to lead by 12 or so points.
- Colby Stevenson put it down: Switch right dub 12 safety, left dub 12 blunt, switch on -6 blunt out of the cannon, switch 2 up on to the a frame to continuing 2, disaster 4 on the dfd.
- Evan McEachran stomped a banger: Switch dub 12 left blunt to japan, right dub 10 'McEachran grab' (nose+tail), back 8 off the cannon, switch lip front 4, back 3 swap pretz 2
Evan's run put him second, leaving Oystein in his most familiar environment (top spot on the podium), but it certainly seemed the most technical on the day. I can only assume the judges saw something that I missed (and don't get me wrong, that could definitely be the case) because I thought he was taking the win, Regardless it was a stellar run, especially in the conditions and that isn't to take away from Oystein's run, which was flawless. I've seen plenty of hate on his style but he's insanely talented on skis
Like the men, there were lots of crashes throughout the women's event. Only 2 skiers really managed to put competitive runs down in the first run: Caroline Claire out of the USA and Jennie-Lee Burmansson, the new style god on the ladies side.
Jennie put down a cork 7 blunt, 5 reverse tail and switch 5 safety, 2 on to the first down rail and front swap on the second, all of which came with flawless ski maitre'd execution. I don't think she'd have called it her perfect run but it was certainly good enough for first with 80.00. At just 15 she's absolutely killing it, long may that continue. In the second run only Katie Sumerhayes put it down clean with a right 7 japan, left 5 tail, switch right 5 liu kang, kfed and front 2... good enough for second with a 77.00. Johanne Killi had probably the 'best' run of the day with her beautiful cork 9 blunt backed up with switch 2 continuing 2 to and forward 2 continuing 2 on the rails, but unfortunately knuckled the third jump hard meaning her score was heavily docked, leaving Caroline Claire to round out the podium.