Anderson and Corning clinch slopestyle World Cup at Winter Games NZ
US riders Jamie Anderson and Chris Corning have celebrated a perfect start into the new 2015-16 FIS Snowboard World Cup season triumphing in the slopestyle World Cup opener which was held at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ in Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort, New Zealand today and judged with the section by section judging format (SLS).
Under a blue bird sky and facing perfect slope conditions, Anderson, the 2014 Olympic slopestyle gold medallist, met the expectations of being the odds-on favourite in the women's field earning 87.88 for her third run and therefore repeated her 2013 win at the Winter Games NZ.
Anderson with back-to-back win at Winter Games NZ
“The course is really fun and even better than during qualifiers since we got to go earlier in the day," said Anderson, the top qualifier from last Thursday. "I’m stoked to win and to be back visiting New Zealand, which is one of my favourite countries.”
The athlete from South Lake Tahoe, CA had already set the bar high in her first attempt being more than 10 points ahead of the field before going into her victory lap in the the three-run, best one counts final which allowed her to throw in a new trick (backside rodeo 540).
“Doing my backside rodeo 5 was also awesome.”
Second placed qualifier Laurie Blouin (CAN) scooped the silver medal on her second run (74.50) although she was driven hard by Langland who finished in the bronze medal position (73.73).
Langland (USA) had started as fifth-placed qualifier, but a very strong first run put her in second behind Anderson, and an even better last run kept her in third in just her first FIS World Cup.
“I’m really stoked to even be out here, with this beautiful weather and the great jumps,” Langland said. “I just had a ton of fun which is all that matters and I’m just happy I made it from top to bottom. The course is probably the best course I’ve ever ridden.”
Corning shocks top guns
The men's event saw some insane riding all topped with dramatic changes of fortune in a very tight contest that wasn’t decided until the very last trick.
Up-and-coming shred talent Chris Corning who had made the very last qualifying spot came out of nowhere to take the scene by storm in his second ever World Cup start.
The 15-year-old kid from Arvada, CO nailed the top position in the first heat, which saw the highest-placed qualifiers well down the list. From then, it was everyone playing catch-up, laying down impressive tricks.
But Corning ramped up the ante on his last run and reclaimed the top spot from Michael Ciccarelli (CAN) scoring 87.55 with a backside miller flip, backside 270 to boardslide, frontside 180 on to switch front bluntslide to 270 out, switch backside bluntslide to 450 mute out, frontside 1080 mute, backside 1260 backside grab, cab 1260 tail.
Garcia Knight from New Zealand came up with his best run of the day, taking third with only two riders to go. Canada’s Max Eberhardt's last run didn’t provide the fireworks he needed, leaving only Japanese favourite Yuki Kadono to contest the leaders.
He failed to fire in the first two heats, but he stunned the crowds with a spectacular last run, pulling off the highest-scoring trick of the day on the final kicker - a triple 1440 mute gaining him a 9.75 out of 10, the only triple of the day.
In the end the top qualifier from the land of the rising sun had to settle with the second rank (85.81) while Ciccarelli (83.43) rounded out the podium as second and third, respectively.
Corning put part of his win down to spending time at Cardrona before the event, and landing a new move for the first time in competition.
“I’ve been here a while and ridden the course a bit," he said. "It gave me the chance to learn some new tricks like that cab 12 I put down in my run, so it’s awesome. I’m super stoked. It was super fun and I guess I was riding well today and it all worked out.”
The FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup continues with this season's first halfpipe event at Cardrona. Qualifiers are scheduled for Friday, August 28th and finals for Sunday, August 30th.