Long season to come to an end in Quebec
Quebec City is set to host the 2017-18 FIS Snowboard World Cup's final event. From 23 to 24 March, the season's ultimate big air competition is part of the famous Jamboree festival.
It's the tenth time since 2009 that a massive ramp of 90 metres in length and 40 metres in height has been built right downtown at L’Îlot Fleurie.
50 workers pieced the 250,000 lbs heavy scaffolding structure together right over the past ten weeks while 10,000 cubic feet of snow have been placed to transform this massive steel monster into the biggest playground for big air riders in Canada.
And with the final stop of the World Cup tour just around the corner, the night finals next Saturday will also bring the decision on who will get his or her hands on the last crystal globes to be awarded this winter.
Right now, Anna Gasser (AUT; 2,000) and slopestyle World Cup title winner Chris Corning (USA; 1,800) are leading the big air standings. But as the Olympic Champion from Austria has decided to skip the last World Cup event and go for a heli trip to Alaska with her board sponsor, the defending champion might lose the crystal globe to one of her pursuers.
In fact, there is only Moenchengladbach winner Carla Somaini left as the Swiss rider is the sole of the top-10 who decided to travel over the pond to close out a long and tiering season in North America.
But as the 26-year-old is already quite behind sitting on 1,330 points, she needs a first or second rank finish to take home the title.
In the men's event, Corning is looking safe to clear his season's second title. Neither Japanese rippers Yuri Okubo (1,500) and Hiroaki Kunitake (1,055) nor Mons Roisland (NOR; 1,278) who has just made it back on snow four days ago after injuring himself at the Olympics won't drop in downtown Quebec City.
As a result, Clemens Millauer is the only one having a theoretical chance to bump off Corning of the top spot of the rankings. But the Austrian who has so far accumulated 1,026.10 points would need to win the season's finals if the World Cup leader from Colorado gets one run down.
The race for the Freestyle Snowboard Overall World Cup title has similar portents.
Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) is leading with 3,260 points but has ended her season alongside the whole Japanese team already. And as follow ups Chloe Kim (USA; 2,800) and Jiayu Liu (CHN; 2,640) are both halfpipe specialists, Slopestyle World Cup winner Sofya Fedorova could grab her second title within one week.
But the Russian rider needs at least a second rank finish to pass Onitsuka for the big crystal globe.
In the men's standings, Corning has already snatched the title with 3,300 points as Olympic Champion Red Gerard (2,470) was the only one able to catch up with his teammate but decided to not travel to Canada.
However, while the title decisions do bring some excitement on the table, there are a few riders to watch out for as they will throw down big for the win .
Keep and eye on Lia-Mara Boesch (SUI); Julia Marino (USA) and Laurie Blouin (CAN) in the women's event while Max Parrot and Antoine Truchon, the respective 2016 and 2012 proud Quebec City victors are trying to keep the Canadian winning streak alive. Since 2015, local favourites have come out successful of the men's competition.
But riders like Alberto Maffei (ITA), Jonas Boesiger (SUI), Ryan Stassel (USA) or Vlad Khadarin (RUS) have a pretty stacked trick bag and therefore everything it takes to jump on the podium.
The qualifiers of the season's final big air competition are scheduled for 23 March while the finals will go down on 24 March at 20:00 (1:00 CET 25 March).