Anderson and Kleveland celebrate perfect start to the season
Jamie Anderson (USA) and Marcus Kleveland (NOR) have prevailed in the Slopestyle World Cup opener which took place down under as part of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ staged in Cardrona Alpine Ski Resort, New Zealand this Monday.
Olympic champion Anderson claimed the top spot on the women’s podium with a score of 85.78 for her second go edging off Miyabi Onitskua (JPN; 79.96) and local favourite Zoi Sadowski Synnott (NZL; 74.76) to second and third, respectively.
Nine days before turning 27, the rider from South Lake Tahoe secured the three-peat at the Winter Games after she had won Gold at the bi-annual event back in 2013 and 2015 already.
She also chose the occasion to land a new competition trick, stomping a cab double 900 on the last jump of her second run with victory already in hand.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a while, one life you’ve got to go for it,” said Anderson. “I just learned it [the double 900] a couple months ago, and I haven’t done it in a contest, and it felt really good.”
Marcus Kleveland (NOR) won gold in the men’s field, scoring highly on both of his two runs with technical tricks spun in multiple directions to secure him his career's first win on the Slopestyle World Cup circuit.
Up against 15 of the world’s best snowboarders, KLeveland knew he couldn’t leave much to chance.
“I was pretty much just going all in,” he said. “I haven’t really been feeling it in practice so I was happy to get the first run down.”
However, a score of 85.58 was just enough to hold off Darcy Sharpe.
After crashing heavily on his first run and hurting his ankle the Canadian was able to take a “mind over matter” approach to his second run, focusing instead on his goal of qualifying for next year’s Olympic Games.
“It’s a very important event leading up to the Olympics so I really had my mind set on landing my run.”
He also drew inspiration from his sister Cassie Sharpe who won Gold in the Winter Games NZ women’s freeski halfpipe last week to earn the Silver with a score of 85.33.
“When she does well I do well, I love that girl!” said Sharpe. “She’s on fire, it only helps me. I’ll never be jealous but I will always be inspired to do as well as her.”
Kiwi Carlos Garcia Knight rounded out the podium in third (84.58.) after he had landed back-to-back 1260s in his second run for the first time in competition, and in doing so earned his very first World Cup top-3 finish.
The Snowboard Freestyle World Cup tour continues next weekend with a halfpipe competition in Cardrona.