Sharpe and Ferreira win in Tignes halfpipe; Martinod and Rolland take globes
Tignes, FRA - The FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup halfpipe finals went down in Tignes (FRA) on Tuesday, where, despite an incredible sequence of delays and drama, Cassie Sharpe (CAN) and Alex Ferreira (USA) took the final wins of the season, and Marie Martinod and Kevin Rolland gave the huge French crowd a reason to go wild by winning the 2016/17 halfpipe World Cup titles and crystal globes.
The weather had organizers and officials were scrambling to get the competition off, as an unbelievable three meters of snow fell on Tignes in two and a half days leading up to Tuesday evening, which in turn lead to an inbounds avalanche that saw judges and other officials involved in the World Cup competition digging out resort patrons caught in the slide. Thankfully, there were no serious injuries.
With the pipe finally cleared of snow and the lights blazing over the Tignes venue, action on Tuesday night was solid, with Cassie Sharpe leading the way in the ladies competition at the venue where she scored her one other World Cup win two seasons ago.
Spinning both way and linking tricks throughout her run, Sharpe’s combination of flairs, stylish 900s, and a groundbreaking switch corked 720 put her well out in front come time for tallying the results. Sharpe’s score of 90.80 put her nearly 5 points ahead of two-time crystal globe winner Ayana Onozuka’s (JPN) 86.00.
“I was feeling good from training in Korea and managed to qualify first,” said Sharpe following her win, “We weren’t sure the finals were going to happen because it snowed over two feet today, but the crew did a great job of maintaining the pipe and around 4:00 p.m. the clouds parted and it was blue skies.
“I landed the switch cork 720 in Korea, and kept it a secret,” Sharpe went on, describing her run, “When I saw that I was in the lead dropping into my third run, I decided to put it all on the line and landed the first ever switch cork 720 by a woman in a contest run,”
Third on the day with 84.00 points was Martinod, who entered competition in Tignes free of pressure after locking up this season’s crystal globe with wins in all three of this season’s previous World Cup competitions.
Martinod’s 2016/17 World Cup title was the second of her career, coming an incredible 14 years after her first. After that first win the French standout spent nine seasons away from the World Cup tour and became a mother, before returning to competition in 2012/13 ahead of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, winning the silver medal in Sochi, and reestablishing herself as one of the best in the world.
Ferriera takes the night, Rolland takes the globe in a nail-biter
The USA’s Alex Ferreira stepped up to take the second podium and first victory of his World Cup career, with a run punctuated by a left double corked 1260 mute followed by a right-side flat 900 to finish things off that earned him a score of 93.20 and the final win of the 2016/17 season.
Ferreira was joined on the podium by his teammate Taylor Seaton, who took the best result of his World Cup career with a score of 89.40. Just behind Seaton, by the barest of margins, was Kevin Rolland, whose second podium of the season was overshadowed by his come-from-behind World Cup halfpipe overall victory and second-straight crystal globe.
Heading into competition on Tuesday night it was Torin Yater-Wallace (USA) leading the way, followed closely by his teammate Aaron Blunck, then Ben Valentin, and finally Rolland sitting in fourth, with all four of those skiers separated by just 39 points.
However, with Yater-Wallace injured and Blunck unable to put down a clean run in finals, it came down to a battle between the two close friends Valentin and Rolland. When the final results saw Rolland in third, just .20 points ahead of Valentin, a second-straight crystal globe was his.