Haatveit and Howell battle snow and slow to win Copper Mtn slopestyle
COPPER MOUNTAIN, USA – On a snow-slowed course at Copper Mountain, USA, on Saturday, the top men and ladies of slopestyle dropped in looking to punch a ticket to their sport's Olympic debut at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, but many were left just searching for the speed to get over the features in front of them.
As anyone who watched Friday night's halfpipe competition can attest to, it snowed heavily at Copper in the 24 hours leading up to the finals. Because of this, and despite the best efforts of the crews on hand, course conditions changed hugely from Wednesday's qualifications to Saturday's finals. What was once a perfect freeskiing playground became something of a nightmare for several of the world's best newschoolers.
However, those who persevered looked to be having a bit of fun with the fluffier conditions. Big Andreas Haatveit – one of the few freeskiers you'll see topping out above 200lbs – didn't seem to have any trouble in the soft stuff at all, throwing two solid runs and earning himself a 92.00 on the second one to put himself well out in front.
American Nick Geopper, winner of last week's Dew Tour event and 2013 world championships bronze medallist, was able to throw down a top run first try, including a misty 630 off the trap rail and one of the few clean double 1260s seen on the day. Goepper managed to lock down 2nd place, while becoming the first American to lock down a spot for the Olympic games. Goepper was followed up by Russel Henshaw (AUS), who is looking to be one of the top medal hopefuls in Sochi for the land down under.
In the ladies' event, Dara Howell was able to take top prize by getting creative with the course instead of trying to force her way through the conditions. While Howell opted to hit the small kicker on the final two jumps, she did so while throwing less-common tricks, such as her final hit flat 5 bow and arrow.
Behind Howell was top American Darian Stevens. Stevens, only 17 years old, laid down a smooth, clean run in the tough conditions and was well-rewarded for it. Behind her was American veteran and one of the USA's top Sochi medal favourites, Grete Eliassen in 3rd.
Howell's win put her well ahead in the World Cup slopestyle overall ranking for the season, while Goepper has a 60 point lead over Henshaw in the men's rankings.
HAATVEIT Andreas (NOR)
Winning run - switch lip 270 on, blind 2 out of the down-flat-down - super-Fed on the down rail - switch 3 double bonk on the lollipop jib - and a switch corked 900 - double corked 1080 - rightside 1260
Quotes - “It's insane. I really can't believe it. I came into this event just trying to do my best, because this course wasn't really built for me. I was just doing my mellow runs, trying to ski clean, and apparently it worked really well!”
HOWELL Dara (CAN)
Winning run - switch-on to the flat-down box - backside 270 out of the rainbow box - frontside 270 out of the cannon - switch corked 540 safety - cork 720 safety - flat 540 bow and arrow
Quotes - “It's really amazing to end up on top. Everyone's out there killing it and I'm just really thankful I was able to put down the run I wanted to put down.”
Full men's results can be found HERE
Full ladies' results can be found HERE
Highlight video of top three men can be found HERE
Highlight video of the top three ladies can be found HERE