Anderson and Crouch prevail in Olympic slopestyle test event
U.S. Snowboarding's own Jamie Anderson and Brock Crouch have claimed victory in today's penultimate slopestyle World Cup of the season which was staged at the Bokwang Phoenix Park, Korea and served as the official Olympic test event for the upcoming PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Both riders got along best with the changing weather situation with the wind going up and down under a blue bird sky landing their runs on the unique course designed and built by the Schneestern company which also provided some special twisted side-hits on either side of the final 'money booter' for the first time ever.
Anderson with nerves of steel
Anderson scored a 81.25 in her third and final run which turned out to be a safety run. The South Lake Tahoe resident started things off with a boardslide to 270 out, backside air over hip, gap to lipslide to tailtap over barrel to 50/50 shifty drop before going into a jump line consisting of frontside 720 mute to backside 180 mellon before wrapping it up with a final alley oop cab 540 indy.
However, it was enough to outplay her rivals.
“It was definitely a safety [run]. I was hoping to put that down on my first run so that I could try some different runs and [things] just didn’t go my way today. Even second run when I sat down on a backside 180 – it’s so frustrating; it’s really hard to not let that really, really bother you,” she said before explaining:
“You kind of have to play the game with contests because you have to see what the level is, how things are going and do the best you can when you can.”
Nevertheless, the win felt food, knowing that Anderson, who now leads the World cup ranking with 2,400 points, went into this event being once again the odds on favourite for the win.
“I always feel pressure, especially coming to a new mountain and having a really big course. It was challenging to get through. I was stoked to do that trick on that first rail because it was really intimidating for me and that’s what it’s about: pushing yourself. Even though my jump run was a little mellow I was still happy to let it all come together.”
Karly Shorr (USA, 70.10) who landed a 50/50, freshfish over hip, 50/50 to indy transfer, 50/50 frontside 180 drop, cab 540 indy, backside 360 tail and an alley oop frontside 360 indy made it a 1-2 punch for team USA.
“I definitely started out taking a lot of hard crashes but I just kept pushing through it and trying to get it all put together in my first run. First run I laid it down really clean and I’m so happy and thankful to be out here. Korea’s so beautiful; I’m super stoked,” she stated.
“Any time that you do well, especially in a place that’s so far away from where I’m from and knowing that the Olympics are here and this environment is kind of like the Olympics…it’s a huge confidence boost to know that I can hang with all the top girls and be able to put down a run that will get me on the podium.”
New Zealand's Christy Prior (66.68) who had entered the finals as best qualifier rounded out the podium as third.
Crouch takes it all
While it was the fifth career World Cup win for reigning Olympic champion Anderson, 16-year-old young gun Brock Crouch earned his first ever in his third World Cup start and also in his last attempt bringing down a lipslide to 270 out, michaelchuck over hip, 50/50 to frontside 360 out, nosebonk tailgrab at barrel, 50/50 to backside 360 out, backside double cork 1080 mute, frontside 900 tail and a cab 1080 nose over left twisted side jump for a 85.16.
He therefore also kept on the team's winning streak as the first two slopestyle events were also clinched by U.S. Snowboarding athletes Brandon Davis (Mammoth Mountain) and World Cup leader Chris Corning (Cardrona).
Both were also the last ones to drop in today, which got Crouch really pumped in the finish corral while sitting on the top seat.
“The last two competitors were Brandon [Davis] and Chris [Corning] and they’re both from the U.S. That’s when I was in first and I didn’t even care. I was so excited that I was going to be podium when they were about to drop I just wanted them to land their runs so it could’ve been an U.S. Sweep.”
But as both couldn't stick their runs together falling on the respective fifth and sixth feature, it was the teen smiling from the top spot on the podium:
“I’m on top and I’m really hyped. I was just really hoping to make it into the finals. I made it into the finals and then I landed my first run…I was just so hyped.”
Seppe Smits (BEL, 79.96) who was leading the pack after two runs after landing a backside 270, alley oop mellon over hip, gap to boardslide, 90 bonk to 270 out on barrel, frontside 180 drop, switch backside 720 mute, cab 1260 mellon and a backside 1080 double cork nose to finish things off placed second with Ville Paumola (FIN, 77.10) placed third position securing his career's first podium.
The 2015-16 snowboard freestyle season will come to a close with the final slopestyle competition which will take place in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic from March 19th till 20th, 2016.