Anna Gasser back at it
The 2015 world champs silver medallist from Austria has dominated the women's qualifier of the season's first slopestyle World Cup while one British and one Swedish rider stood out on the men's side of things.
However, Gasser, who just came back from a slight knee injury last weekend with a second-rank finish at this season's penultimate big air World Cup did struggle with the course a bit as tough weather conditions with snow fall and flat lights didn't make it easy for the boys and girls to bring down solid runs.
But after bailing in her first run the 25-year-old from Carinthia showed strong nerves landing a flawless and impressive second run.
Gasser earned the highest score of 87.50 for 50-50 to indy, frontside 360 frontside grab, backside 360 mute, 50-50 frontside 180 out and a cab 540 mute to finish things off.
“Conditions were pretty tough today so I'm pretty happy having made it to the finals. My second run was a safety run. I definitely aiming for some more action tomorrow which should include my signature cab double cork 900,” she said.
Besides the top qualifier also Sina Candrian (SUI; 85.75), Silje Norendal (NOR; 83.00), Yuka Fujimori (78.50), a former snowboard cross star from Japan as well as reigning big air world champion Elena Koenz (SUI; 74.00) and Cheryl Maas (NED; 69.00) proceeded to tomorrow's finals of the best six women.
In the men's competition, also the second run produced the highest score of each heat.
While Niklas Mattsson (SWE) earned a 92.50 for his gap cab 270 to frontside boardslide, switch backside miller flip, cab 900 stalefish, bs 1260 melon, a switch blunt 270 and a final switch backside double cork 1080, Jamie Nicholls (GBR) was able to up the ante a bit with a 93.00.
The first ever Brit to win a slopestyle World Cup (2016 World Cup season's finals in Spindleruv Mlyn, Czech Republic) therefore edged off reigning world champion Ryan Stassel and his US teammate Eric Beauchemin to second and third, while New Zealand's rising stars Carlos Garcia Knight and Tiarn Collins also earned their direct spots for the finals qualifying as respective second and third in heat one.
The last spots of the men's finals will be determined in tomorrow's semi finals slated to take place at 11:30 AM CET.
Finals will then follow at 2 PM CET and be staged in a three run, best one count format.