Maas takes third straight win; Willett leads podium sweep
Both second best qualifiers nailed it on the three rails, two kicker course putting down some solid runs on the fast snow which held off for everyone and put a smile on the face of the 6 female and 10 male finalists.
Maas, with 30 years of age the oldest competitor in the women's field, kept the momentum going into this season's second slopestyle event of the FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup tour with two wins in Stoneham, Canada put to her belt last week (big air and slopestyle).
“I'm really happy about all the podiums but I'm just focusing on my riding. I'm super stoked the results come with it. Hopefully I can keep it going”, the leader of the Overall Snowboard Freestyle World Cup ranking said.
Earning 87.75 in her first of three runs with a boardslide to fakie, switch gap to boardslide, 50-50 to backside 180 out, switch backside 540 nose and backside 720 tail, Maas relegated Karly Shorr (USA, 81.00) and reigning big air world champion Elena Koenz (SUI, 79.75) to the second and third rank.
“It went really well although the training was really hard. But I put down my first run. It gave me a lot of confidence, and I tried to step it up from there. Sadly that didn't happen but I had a good first run. I put everything into that one,” Maas told the media in the finish zone.
Missing the top spot by less than seven points, Karly Shorr was overwhelmed by her career's first top-3 finish:
“The first World Cup podium feels amazing. I never ever expected this coming into this event. I just, like always, aimed for the top-10, but I got here and the rails were sick. Sometimes that helps me out. It's my stronger point. I'm super happy.
It's the first time I landed a run with a backside 540. It set me free,” the 20-year-old rider who had just squeezed into today's finals stated after her backside tailslide 270 out to gap to front lipslide, 50-50 backside 180 out, switch backside 540 and backside 540.
Willett stands out
In the men's competition, US Snowboarding riders kept it all together.
Eric Willett clinched his career's first with 95.25 in his third run consisting of a frontside 180 to cab 360 out off the down flat, cab 270 to regular, boardslide 270 out, frontside 1260 mute and a switch backside 1080 double cork to finish things off leading a US podium sweep with Charles Guldemond (92.50) and Eric Beauchemin (87.50) rounding out the podium as second and third, respectively.
“Podium sweep is sick. It's one of those things that you want, and you know it never gonna happen because everyone is riding so well. But we did it. It couldn't be any better,” the 27-year-old who is looking back on some injury problems last winter said.
“Today was pretty amazing, I didn't have that feeling for quite a long time. It's insane. It feels so good to finally come back and put down a solid run. I haven't gotten the first in a long time. It's amazing.”
And it truly was for the US roster as the course opened the door for fun as Chas Guldemond pointed out:
“It was super fun today, a super course and three runs. It's nice to see Eric riding so well after he had a tough last year getting hurt and stuff. My heart feels good for him. Getting second behind him feels even better.”
However, Guldemond sat in first position after run two thanks to a frontside boardslide 270 out to backside 270 on, boardslide 450 out, cab 1260 double cork and a backside 1080 double cork before his teammate stole the show with today's well-deserved high.
The FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup tour continues Sunday, March 1st, with a halfpipe World Cup event at Park City, UT.
Finals are scheduled for 1 PM MST (9 PM CET) with live TV time on Eurosport 2 and Asia, ORF Sport+, MCS Extreme, NTV+ Sport as well as NBC Sports.