Autti and Longo top of the men’s first halfpipe World Cup qualifier / China’s girls dominate
This top conditions plus the re-constructed superpipe of the Freestyle Park Allalin at Saas-Fee, Switzerland, set the scene for some outstanding halfpipe riding.
On the ladies' side it was Team China which rocked the show in the 150 metres long and 22 feet high halfpipe right in the heart of the glacier resort. While Zhifeng Sun earned the top score (25.4) of the first heat by nailing method air, fs 540 lien, bs 540 mute, fs 720, cab 360 indy and a fs 360 mute, her team mate Xuetong Cai (25.5) was the best rider of heat two (bs air, fs 540 lien, bs 540 mute, fs 720 indy, cab 360 mute and a fs air nosebone).
On the men's side, Finnish ripper Antti Autti and (26.3) raised the bar to high for his competitors throwing in a massive fs air, bs 540 mute, fs 1080 tail, cab 720 mute, fs 900 tail, fs alley oop 540 melon and a fs rodeo 720 indy.
The second heat of the men was taken by Arthur Longo (27.0). The Frenchman brought down a run consisting of method air, fs 720 indy, cab 720 mute, nose grab, bs 540 mute and a fs 1080 tail to finish things off.
The four shredders who won their qualifier heats move directly to tomorrows finals being accompanied by Soko Yamaoka (JPN) and Silka Sadar (SLO) as well as Mathieu Crepel and Johann Baisamy of France, Tore Holvik (NOR) and Keito Kumazaki (JPN).
In the semi finals, Xu Chen (CHN), Ursina Haller (SUI) and France's Sophie Rodriguez, Anne Pellissier, Mirabelle Thovex and Clemence Grimal will fight for the last two remaining final spots. On the men's side, Christian Haller (SUI), Illka-Eemeli Laari (FIN), Dolf van der Wal (NED), Seppe Smits (BEL), Kosuke Hosokawa (JPN), Sergey Tarasov (RUS), Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI), Ryo Aono (JPN), Shoto Tsutsumi (JPN), Aluan Ricciardi (FRA), Roger Kleivdal (NOR) and Aleksi Kumpulainen (FIN) hope to grab one of those last six spots for the finals.