Burmansson and Braaten on top in Stubai
Stubai, (AUT) - The FIS Freeski slopestyle World Cup was back to business this weekend at the infamous Stubai Zoo snowpark in Tirol, as the second stop of the season saw Jennie-Lee Burmansson (SWE) and Oystein Braaten (NOR) taking home big wins in what was an exceptional start to the slopestyle competition season in the Northern Hemisphere.
After a couple of nice sunny days earlier this week, followed by a not-so-beautiful ladies’ qualifications on Saturday, the sun was once again on the menu for Sunday's finals. And while the occasional cloud and slight gust of winds would spring up off and on during the day, for the most part conditions were perfect for the top 8 ladies and top 16 men compete for the World Cup points on their road to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Still, the freshly groomed snow that fell overnight on the Stubai Zoo course did end up creating some speed issues, meaning the competition was there to win for whoever could land all their tricks perfectly. Even a tiny mistake could ruin a podium run, leaving only the most consistent athletes with real chances to score over the rest of the pack.
In the ladies’ competition it was the 15-year-old Jennie-Lee Burmansson who dominated the field while showcasing flawless Scandinavian style and impeccable execution both on the jumps and the rails. Coming off a strong performance at the season’s first event in Cardrona (NZL) back in August where she finished third, now she added another 100 points to her World Cup tally while taking the lead in the overall slopestyle World Cup ranking.
“I’m supper happy to finish on top of the podium today”, said Burmansson following the award ceremony. “I’m stoked because all the ladies were killing it. The speed was a bit of an issue and I’m glad that I was able land my run the way I wanted”.
The top qualifier Johanne Killi was once again on fire, throwing down what could have been the best run of the day with a beautiful cork 900 blunt and a super strong combination of back-to-back 2s in 2s out on the rail section. However she came way short on her third jump what hugely affected her final score and thus she finished the competition outside the top three.
That left Katie Summerhayes (GBR) to finish the day in second place, scoring her first World Cup podium in four years. In third place was up-and-comer Caroline Claire (USA), scoring her first career World Cup podium.
Over on the men’s side it was Oystein Braaten who proved to be the most consistent during the day as he ended up with gold in his hand. And while the rest of the athletes were struggling to land their runs, Braaten took an early lead with 88.00 points. The Norwegian freeski machine would then only improve with his second run (91.40), locking down a nice, smooth ran and nailing all of his tricks to take his first ever World Cup victory to go along with the four podium spots he has claimed since 2014. He also took over the slopestyle World Cup standing by 5 points over James Woods, the winner from Cardrona who did not compete in Stubai.
“We saw so many good runs in the qualifications and the level was really high," Braaten said after the competition. “I’m stoked to land both my runs and I’m looking forward to the next one”.
Second place went to the maestro of improvisation Evan McEachran (CAN), who threw down one of the most technical runs of the day, managing to squeeze in a nice 810 off the canon rail while missing speed for the third jump. It was McEachran's first World Cup podium today, and he was followed up by Colby Stevenson (USA), who made an impressive return to the World Cup top-three with his third place showing in today’s competition at Stubai Zoo.
The FIS Freeski World Cup action continues next week with the second big air stop of the season taking place next Friday in Moenchengladbach (GER).
Jennie-Lee Burmansson - left cork 720 tail, right 540 reverse tail, switch left 540 safety, left 270 in to forward, frontside switch-up to forward.
Katie Summerhayes - right 720 japan, left 540 tail, switch right 540 liu-kang, frontside switch-up to backside 270 out, frontside 270 out to forward.
Caroline Claire - left 540 blunt, switch left 540 mute, right 360 safety, left 270 in to forward, frontside 270 out.
Oystein Braaten - switch right dub 10 reverse japan, switch left dub rodeo 900 dub japan, back 810 tail off the canon rail, switch right tails 270 in to 270 out, disaster 450 in to 270 out.
Evan McEachran - switch left dub 12 reverse tail to japan, left dub 1080 double grab (nose & tail), backside 810 tail off the canon rail, switch lipslide in to 450 out, backside 360 switch-up to pretzel 270 out
Colby Stevenson - switch right dub 1260 safety, left dub 1260 tail, switch in to frontside 630 blunt off the canon rail, backside switch-up to 270 out, left 450 disaster to switch