Clark and White top qualifiers at Olympic test event
The superstars from the US of A top their respective qualifier heats at the World Cup finale which also serves as dry run for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games in 2018.
In a perfectly shaped superpipe which allowed the riders to go down at different speeds whilst also performing a big variety of tricks it was once again the most decorated snowboarder of all times impressing the judges the most.
Kelly Clark, who just came back from a hip injury, showcased that age doesn't matter when it comes down to halfpipe riding.
One of the oldest competitors in the field of 27 ladies going for the six final spots, the three-time Olympic medallist threw down a frontside air to backside 540 mute, frontside 720 tail, haakon flip, crippler and a backside air to earn the high score of 92.75.
Jiayu Liu (CHN), who stomped a backside air to back-to-back 720s and back-to-back 540s placed second scoring a a 88.25 with her teammate Xuetong Cai taking third by landing a technical run consisting of a frontside air to fakie, cab 720 nose, frontside 900, backside 720 indy and a switch air.
However, it was Clark who stood out with her clean run and consistent amplitude therefore looking good to claim another win at an Olympic test event having already come out victorious of the 2005, 2009 and 2013 test World Cups.
Nevertheless, with 2016-17 World Cup title winner Chloe Kim (USA; 85.25) who had started her season with back-to-back wins, Maddie Mastro (USA; 82.25) and Kurumi Imai (JPN; 81.75) three more girls are ready to step up their game in the three run, best one count final on Sunday.
Over on the men's side, it was Shaun White who, backed with a win at his home resort Mammoth Mountain, did wow the crowd again and stood out of the men's qualifiers which featured a total of 33 athletes.
Having totally overcome his ankle injury from earlier this season, the 2006 and 2010 Olympic champion illustrated that he is ready to compensate for the 2014 loss next year bringing down a run which he started with a huge method to frontside double cork 1080, cab double cork 1080, a frontside 540 tail and the trick he invented in the lead up for Sochi, the double mc twist 1260.
White was given a 93.25 therefore relegating rising talent Chase Josey (USA) to the second rank. The current World Cup leader landed a backside air to back-to-back double cork 1080s, a frontside 900 and a double michalchuck.
Yiwei Zhang (CHN; 89.00), the first rider ever to land a triple cork in the pipe, finished in third position after bringing down a backside air, back-to-back double cork 1080s, a double crippler and a backside 900.
Reigning Olympic champion Iouri Podladtchikov (SUI; 87.00), Matthew Ladley (USA; 83.75), reigning world champion Scotty James (AUS; 83.25), Kent Callister (AUS; 81.25), Ben Ferguson (USA; 76.00), Gregory Bretz (USA; 75.75) and Patrick Burgener (SUI; 74.50) also proceeded to the finals which are slated to take place on Sunday, Feb 19, at 1 PM local time (5 AM CET).
Eurosport 1 and nbcsports.com will broadcast the event live.