Sildaru and Woods win the slopestyle finals in Cardrona
Cardrona (NZL) – The world’s best freeskiers were back in action at Cardrona Alpine Resort today for the finals of the World Cup slopestyle on day two of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ. James Woods (GBR) claimed the win in the men’s field and Kelly Sildaru (EST) in the women’s.
With World Cup medals and Olympic qualifying points up for grabs, the 16 male, eight female competitors came ready to throw down a full bag of tricks and nothing much short of perfection would earn a place on the podium.
Competitors were challenged by the flat light and only two of the male competitors were able to land both of their runs: Woodsy in the gold medal position and Fabian Boesch (SUI) who would finish with a bronze medal.
As defending Winter Games NZ slopestyle champion Woodsy pushed hard on his first run and landed his gold medal-winning run on his first attempt. A solid rail section and perfectly executed jump line impressed the judges and they responded with a score of 91.80.
“It’s a real honour just to be competing in this field,” said Woods. “Watching the best in the world go ahead of me was really nerve wracking. Andri was the last person to go and he’s just amazing so I just knew I had to be perfect.”
One of the top qualifiers and last man to drop into the course, Andri Ragettli (SUI) landed his first run but his score of 73.80 left him with work still to do. If he was feeling the pressure, it only worked in his favour and the Swiss rider decided to put it all on the line with a huge triple cork 1440 – one of the only triples seen in this competition – on the very last jump. His score of 91.00 earned him a World Cup silver medal.
“That felt pretty good,” said Ragettli. “I was so nervous at the top because I knew if I landed my run I could be on the podium. I did it and I’m just super-happy.”
Fabian Boesch (SUI) had his work cut out for him to hold on to the bronze medal spot but a well-executed second run saw him lift his score from an 85.00 on run one to a 90.00.
“On the second run I thought, let’s go a little faster on the last jump and I almost went too fast, I went really big but I could land it so I was really happy about that.”
Olympic bronze medallist Nick Goepper (USA) was looking good for a podium finish, sitting in second place after the first run, but a crash on the last jump on his second run meant he couldn’t improve on his first run score and with Swiss skiers Ragettli and Boesch both upping their game, the American would finish his day in fourth place.
15-year-old Kelly Sildaru took the pressure of competing in her very first World Cup totally in her stride and landed a score of 90.00 on her first run, the difficulty of her tricks, particularly on the rails, a cut above the rest of the field.
“Yesterday I didn’t land my first run but today I landed both my runs and so I’m really happy,” said Sildaru.
Sitting in fourth place after run one, Switzerland’s Guilia Tanno also responded well to the pressure to finish in the medals, upping her score to 86.60 for the silver medal.
“I just thought about yesterday, how I did it in qualies, that worked out pretty well, so I was thinking just do it the exact same and I did!”
Sweden’s Jennie-Lee Burmansson – another 15-year-old competing in her first World Cup – caught the judges’ attention in the qualifying rounds with her stylish runs. Cleaning up her trick execution in today’s finals she finished in the bronze medal position.
“I’m stoked, it was really fun to put down two runs, I’m happy. I just tried to keep it stylish and hold my grabs,” said Burmansson.
The freeski action at 2017 Winter Games NZ in Cardrona continues next week with the season's first halfpipe World Cup competitions. The qualifications will go down on Thursday, Aug 31 while the finals are scheduled to take place on Friday, Sep 1.
James Woods (GBR)
Rainbow rail: switch on, frontside 450 off
Quarter Pipe: 360 tail tap
C rail: backside 450 off
Downrail: switch right 450 on, 270 off
Wallride: switch leftside 270 on, pretzel 450 off
Jump 1: Left double cork 1080, safety grab
Jump 2: Right double cork 1260 reverse tail grab
Jump 3: switch left double 1080, octo grab
Andri Ragettli (SUI)
Rainbow rail: frontside switch up, backside 270 out
Quarter pipe: left side 720
Transfer rail: frontside switch up, pretzel 270 out
Wall: switch 270 on, backside 630 off
Jump 1: right side double cork 1260, double Japan grab
Jump 2: switch left double misty 1260, mute grab
Jump 3: left side triple cork 1440, safety grab
Fabian (Boesch) SUI
Rainbow rail: backslide to backside 270 out
Quarter pipe: flair
Down rail: right side 270 on, 270 out
Wall: switch leftside 270, backside 630 out
Jump 1: left side double cork 1260, tail grab
Jump 2: switch left double 1080, Japan grab
Jump 3: Switch right double misty 1260, safety grab
Kelly Sildaru (EST)
Bridge: Back swap 360
Quarter pipe: switch 360
Down rail: left 450 to switch
Wall: switch left to back 270, safety grab
Jump 1: right 720, tail grab
Jump 2: left 900, tail grab
Jump 3: switch left 1080, mute grab
Giulia Tanno (SUI)
Quarter pipe: alley oop 360
2nd rail: switch left 270 continuing
Wall: front 450 out
Jump 1: right 720, tail grab
Jump 2: left 540, safety grab
Jump 3: switch left 900, safety grab
Jennie-Lee Burmansson (SWE)
Bridge: front swap
Quarter pipe: 180 out
2nd rail: switch right 270
3rd rail: back 270 Cuban
Jump 1: right 540, mute grab
Jump 2: switch left 540, safety grab
Jump 3: left 720, tail grab