Sildaru and Porteous go for gold in Cardrona JWC halfpipe
Cardrona, NZL – The final freeski competition of the 2018 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard Junior World Championships at Cardrona saw Kelly Sildaru (EST) and the local hero Nico Porteous (NZL) taking halfpipe gold to wrap up two weeks of action at Audi quattro Winter Games NZ.
The 16-year-old Porteous, who claimed an Olympic bronze medal in PyeongChang earlier this year, went in to today’s competition as the top qualifier. However, a deep landing on his switch 1080 on his first run of three initially had him sitting in second place behind Norway’s Birk Ruud.
Porteous came through with a 93.80 on his second attempt, cleaning everything up and executing a technical run with a left double 1260 and an alley-oop flat spin 540 on his last hit for the lead.
“This means a lot,” said Porteous. “It’s my first Junior World Champs and to come away with the win is really cool. It’s all about going forward from now on.”
Another local skier, Ben Harrington made a strong challenge for the podium, holding on to third place until the third last run of the day, when USA’s Dylan Ladd came through with big back to back 900s at the top of the pipe and finished with a super technical double flat 900 down the pipe for a score of 92.80, pushing Harrington in to fourth place and Ruud in to third.
Top qualifier in the women’s freeski halfpipe, Kelly Sildaru faced a strong challenge by Russia’s Valeriya Demidova who showed excellent trick variety and execution with back to back left and right flairs with good amplitude and grabs. However, no one looked more at home in the pipe nor matched the amplitude, grabs and trick execution of Sildaru and she led the field on all three of her runs, finishing her day as the Junior World Halfpipe Champion.
“I’m really happy with my run,” said Sildaru. “Today I did my first nines since my injury (a year ago) so I’m pretty stoked.”
China’s Kexin Zhang claimed the bronze medal.
Freeski action continues at Cardrona Alpine Resort tomorrow (Wednesday) with the FIS Freeski Big Air World Cup qualifiers set to officially kick off the 2018/2019 season.