Claire and Goepper shine in the slopestyle season's finals in Seiser Alm
Seiser Alm (ITA) - Caroline Clair (USA) and Nick Goepper (USA) took victories in the final FIS Freeski World Cup event of 2017/2018 in Seiser Alm (ITA), with Jennie-Lee Burmansson (SWE) and Andri Ragettli (SUI) wrapping up the season with the slopestyle crystal globes in hand after finishing tops in the overall ranking.
It was a perfect bluebird day on a perfect course in the award-winning Seiser Alm Snowpark, with the top 8 ladies and top 16 men from Wednesday’s qualifiers delivering another world class spectacle to finish up an extremely exciting season of World Cup slopestyle competition.
With seven different stops taking place from the end of August 2017 through to this Friday’s final competition, with a show-stopping turn at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games mixed in along the way, the 2017/2018 season has been without a doubt an outstanding one, with the next level in riding, creativity, progression, and course building on display throughout the season.
Taking the season’s grand finale to Italy’s best snowpark was the icing on the cake for 2017/18, as the perfectly shaped features, ideal spring conditions and some of the world’s best riders all came together to make the Seiser Alm World Cup event a truly special one.
In the ladies’ event it was the 18-year-old Caroline Claire (USA), who showed again that she seems to love competing in Italy, taking her second World Cup podium in two years at the Italian event. This time Claire top spot on the day with 84.00 points for a run that included a super solid rail game followed by an equally impressive jump section, highlighted by a stylish switch 540 octo grab to please the crowd.
“Seiser Alm Snowpark always builds a great course, and we also had perfect weather for the finals” Claire said, “It’s just so fun being here. Last year I got my first World Cup podium here and now to take the win feels really good”.
Second place on the day went to the PyeongChang Olympic bronze medallist Isabel Atkin (GBR), who wrapped up the competition with 80.40 points, while Yuki Tsubota (CAN) rounded out the ladies’ podium in third, just 0.40 points behind Atkin, for her first podium in two years.
“I was stoked to come up here and it’s just been a perfect competition,” Atkin said, “The organizers have really put on a great event here so it’s been a lot of fun and it feels amazing to end up on podium here in Italy”.
In the overall World Cup ranking it was the young Scandinavian revelation Jennie-Lee Burmansson (SWE) who took the slopestyle crystal globe at the end of the day, as the 15-year-old freeskier became the youngest winner in the history of the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup tour.
Famous for her smooth and effortless style, Burmansson kicked off the season with a third place finish in Cardrona (NZL) back in August, grabbing four more podiums since then for five in seven competitions to the stay the most consistent rider on tour.
“It’s unbelievable,” Burmansson said, “I was definitely not expecting this to happen in my first World Cup season so I’m just super stoked and yeah I have to say it’s been a lot of fun.”
Over on the men’s side it was Nick Goepper (USA) who kept the excitement levels in the red, jumping on top of the podium in his last run with a final score of 92.60 points after squeezing in a perfectly executed rail section featuring different 270 in - 270 out variations, followed by a switch right dub 900, to triple right 1440, to left dub 1260 through the jump section to take the win against some heavy competition and end up the season on a high note.
“I haven’t won an event in a couple of years, so it feels amazing to be back on top of the podium today,” Goepper said, “Seiser Alm is awesome and I’m looking forward to come back here again next year.”
Andri Ragettli (SUI) finished the competition in second place with 91.20 points, while James “Woodsy” Woods (GBR) took the bronze medal after stomping his second run for a total score of 89.20 points.
“I think everyone put on a really good show,” Woods said, “In the last couple of days we had a lot of different conditions and the course handled it really well and I think the local shaping crew know what they are up to. It was a pleasure to be here in Seiser Alm.”
In a battle for the crystal globe it was Andri Ragettli who prevailed over second-ranked Ferdinand Dahl, claiming the second slopestyle World Cup title of his career after he took his first trophy back in 2016.
Known for his big spins and perfect execution, Ragettli showed incredible consistency throughout the season, taking four runner-up spots and a win in his five starts on tour this season.
“When I won the globe two years ago it was really unexpected,” Ragettli said, “This season my goal was to win it again and I did it so I’m just super, super happy right now.”
With the slopestyle World Cup season in the books, the FIS Freeski tour will be back in action next week with the halfpipe grand finale in Tignes scheduled to take place on March 23-24.