Faivre defends halfpipe title, while Smaine takes gold back to the USA
KREISCHBERG, AUT – The Kreischberg 2015 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships took another turn under the lights on Thursday night, with Virginie Faivre (SUI) and Kyle Smaine taking World Championships halfpipe gold.
Both Faivre and Smaine lead the competition from start to finish, logging the best qualifying scores and the proceeding to put down rock-solid first runs that would prove strong enough to hold up against all comers.
Faivre was able to defend her Voss 2013 World Championship title and claim her third-ever world champs gold, with her signature blend of smoothness, amplitude, and solid grabs.
For a while it looked like Mirjam Jaeger (SUI) was going to take silver alongside her compatriot Faivre, but a last-ditch effort from 22-year-old Cassie Sharpe (CAN) in which she was finally able to lock-in the grab on her right-side flare gave the judges what they needed to bump the Canadian into second place.
With her fate sealed, there was nothing left to do for Faivre but take a victory lap, which the Swiss veteran decided to charge, throwing her run plus more and ending things off with a little fall and big smile as she become one of the rare triple World Champions in Freestyle.
In the men's competition Smaine was simply took locked in to take down on Thursday, putting down a near-perfect first run stocked front-to-back with technical tricks and all done at an amplitude and with a style that clearly no more else could match, including a top-hit left-side 1260 tail that was probably the top trick of the evening. That first run earned him a score of 88.00 and, eventually, the gold medal.
And while Smaine was the obviously winner on the night, silver medallist Joffrey Pollet-Villard (FRA) took home the honour of crowd favourite, with his insane five-hit run sending him oftentimes twice as high as his rivals. His signature alley-oop flat 540 continues to blow minds, and with everything he put down on his second run landed clean and smooth, he earned an 86.60 to earn himself a medal.
Bronze went to Yannic Lerjen (SUI) who, like Sharpe in the ladies' competition, went all-out on his final run to bump Broby Leeds (USA) off the podium.
FAIVRE WINNING RUN – Japan; alley-oop critical; left-side 540 safety; right-side 540 safety; air-to-fakie safety; switch left-side alley-oop 540 safety
SMAINE WINNING RUN – left-side 1260 tail; right-side 1080 tail; switch 720 opposite safety; right-side 900 high mute; right-side 900 truck driver