Hight, Burgener and Podladtchikov top qualifiers in Copper superpipe
Elena Hight (USA) as well as Swiss riders Pat Burgener and Iouri Podladtchikov have claimed the top spots in their respective qualifier heats for this season's first halfpipe World Cup staged at the Toyota Grand Prix at Copper Mountain, CO.
Despite tough conditions in the Main Vein superpipe due to heavy snow fall, riders were able to pull of a great show which should get even better in the finals of the top 6 women and top 10 men scheduled for Friday 9 AM LOC (7 PM CET).
In the women's qualifying heat, Hight earned the high score of 89.50 in the second run with a backside air to frontside 720 melon, cab 720, frontside air, backside 540 mute and a final alley oop mctwist.
She therefore edged off so far leading Chinese duo Xuetong Cai and Jiayu Liu to the second and third rank with US riders Chloe Kim and Hannah Teter as well as Verena Rohrer (SUI) completing the women's finals.
“With this being the first contest of the season, there is always some extra in pressure and nervousness. But the snow made everyone calm down on a ground level. So, I'm super stoked to put down a run with back-to-back 7's,” Hight said.
In the men's competition, Burgener surprised his competitors with a frontside 1080 tail to haakon flip, frontside 900, backside 360 and a switch backside 720 japan to finish things off earning a 92.25 in his second run after he had already led the pack with a massive gap after round one.
“It's unbelievable,” Burgener said. “It's been tough for everyone to ride, and I managed to land both runs.”
Reigning world champion Scotty James (AUS), Swiss riders Christian Haller and David Habluetzel as well as Danny Davis (USA) also proceeded to the finals from heat one.
Heat two was also led by a Swiss athlete as 2014 Olympic champion Iouri Podladtchikov stomped an almost perfect first run consisting of a frontside 900 tail to backside 900 nose, frontside 1080 tail and a final switch double cork 1080 tail (94.50) to claim his spot in the finals along with fellow countryman Jan Scherrer as well as US trio Chase Josey, Greg Bretz and Louie Vito.
As a result, it's all set for a Swiss-US battle for the crown as nine of ten riders represent the currently leading halfpipe countries in tomorrow's finals.