While it's fairly typical to see some yearly crossover of athletes from Alpine to Freestyle - a good percentage of the World Cup ski cross field is made up of ex-alpiners looking to satisfy a thirst for airtime and head-to-head competition - rare is it to see an athletes name in the FIS database in both halfpipe and giant slalom.
Japan's Ayana Onozuka is one of the elusive few who have made the leap from the world of speed and steeps to the world of style and stunts, and she has done so with aplomb.
Ayana's last alpine race - a GS FIS race in Japan in which she placed 9th - took place in May of 2011. Her first halfpipe competition - a World Cup at Copper Mountain, USA - took place only seven months later, in December of that same year.
While Ayana had an understandably inauspicious start at that event - recording a 35th place result - she progressed quickly and steadily, scoring a 14th placing in her second competition and then a 3rd place podium showing at only her third-ever World Cup competition at Cardrona, NZL, in August 2012.
Since then, she has only finished outside of the top 10 in once while racking up seven career podiums and a World Championships bronze medal on her way to establishing herself as the 3rd-ranked halfpipe skier in the world.
With her smooth style, relaxed attitude, and clockwork-like consistency, Ayana will lead the charge for freestyle-mad Japan when ski halfpipe makes its debut at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
|1606020.12.2013||Halfpipe||Copper Mountain, CO||USA||World Cup||7||360.00|
|1605919.12.2013||Halfpipe||Copper Mountain, CO||USA||Qualification||1||50.00|