Kelly Clark and Taylor Gold clinch Copper Mountain Halfpipe World Cup
And if that wouldn't have been enough, also the format change for all Snowboard Freestyle World Cup finals to the new three run, best scored run counts format totally paid off with five out of the six podium finishers improving their score in their third run.
Three-time Olympic medallist and 2013 Copper Mountain winner Clark led a US Snowboarding sweep of the women's podium (92.25) with teammates Arielle Gold (87) and Hannah Teter (78.75) placing in second and third.
In the men's field of the Sprint U.S. Grand Prix, a co-sanctioned event by FIS and WST, 2014 Olympian Taylor Gold (USA) repeated his last year's win at Copper Mountain with 96.75 points ahead of Yiwei Zhang (CHN, 95) and top-qualifier Ben Ferguson (USA, 94, who wowed the crowd with a huge Double Crippler and a massive Chicken Wing 720) capitalising on the new format for the finals.
After two unlucky attempts, Gold, a 21-year-old from Steamboat Springs, was able to put down a run which not only pleased him but also the crowd and the judges.
The 2014 team rookie-turned-Olympian sensation threw down a Method to Frontside 1260, Double Michaelchuck, Frontside Double Cork 1080 and a Cab Double Cork 1080 to finish things off.
“I really loved the three run format. If it wasn’t for that last run I would have been in trouble. I didn’t expect to win it today so that was an awesome surprise and good way to start the season,” Gold said after his career second World Cup win.
But Gold wasn't the only one to benefit from the new format.
Also Zhang, Gold's sister Arielle who stomped a clean Cab 900 and Hannah Teter did so too, however, with the last named not being able to get close to the score(s) of Clark who brought home the three top-scored runs of the women's finals (91.75, 92,25, 85,50).
The veteran of the US Halfpipe team and best qualifier of the women's field rode in her own league earning the best score for her second run consisting of a Frontside air to Backside 540, Frontside 1080, Haakon Flip and a Frontside inverted 720.
“The pipe was really good today and I love the three run format. I was happy to come out and land my first run and build on my riding throughout the day. I think that all the ladies rode really well and it makes me excited for the rest of the season seeing what everybody is already putting down,” the 31-year-old stated after her career's ninth.
The FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup tour continues with the first ever World Cup event staged in Turkey. On December 20th, Istanbul will host a big air competition – the first one ever for both, women and men!