Onitsuka and Garcia Knight top slopestyle qualifiers
After the freestyle skiers already had their first medal event in the books at the 2nd ever combined world champs, things were finally kicking off for the snowboarders, too, at the Sierra Nevada 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships.
Blessed with a bluebird sky, riders were tackling the huge course built on the Loma de Dílar slope which features a four kicker line (with the third jump part also offering some jibbing features) as well as two massive rail sections of which the latter one was constructed following the theme of an Andalusian village.
In the women's event, Miyabi Onitsuka underlined her claim on the title as the defending champion from Japan owned the course scoring a 93.00 for her backside 720 to frontside 360, 50-50 frontside 180 out, cab 540 backside grab, a 50-50 on the right rail as well as an ollie on the roof and an ollie to tail grab off the house.
Laurie Blouin (CAN) was the only girl in the field who got close with a 90.50. However, US riders Karly Shorr (84.75) and Jessika Jenson (84.50) as well as Zoe Sadowski Synnott (NZL; 81.75) also impressed the judges getting over the 80's.
Isabel Derungs (SUI; 79.25), Yuka Fujimori (JPN; 72.25) and Brooke Voigt (CAN; 71.50) also survived the qualifier cut making it into the finals of the top-8.
In the men's event, Garcia Knight, a 19-year old Kiwi who is attending his first ever FIS Snowboard World Championships, proofed some nerves of steel throwing down a superb second run after he couldn't bring things together in his first one.
Garcia Knight landed a backside double cork 1080 mute to rodeo 540 indy, switch backside double cork 1260 and a frontside 1080 before throwing down a 50-50 and a boardslide 270 out to score a 94.25.
In heat 1, it was Mans Hedberg (SWE) being given a 90.25 with Ville Paumola (FIN; 88.00), Seppe Smits (BEL; 86.00), Clemens Schattschneider (AUT; 82.00), Niklas Mattsson (SWE; 77.50), Fridtjof Tischendorf (NOR; 77.25), Sebbe de Buck (BEL; 74.00) and Dylan Thomas (USA; 71.75) also making it to the finals.
The 16 male finalists were rounded out by Tiarn Collins (NZL; 88.75), Chris Corning (USA; 84.00), Nicolas Huber (SUI; 79.25), Francis Jobin (CAN; 73.75), Rene Rinnekangas (FIN; 73.00), Billy Morgan (GBR; 72.00) and Vlad Khadarin (RUS; 68.50) placing as respective second to seventh in heat 2.
The finals are scheduled for Saturday, March 11 at 12 PM CET.
The world championships will continue tomorrow with the halfpipe and snowboard cross qualifiers.
Tune in the following stations to watch the slopestyle finals from Sierra Nevada 2017 live:
Czech TV Sport (CZE)
Ziggo Sport Select (NED)
Polsat Sport Extra (POL)
TVE Teledelporte (ESP)
SRF Zwei (SUI)
SVT 2 (SWE)
BBC Red Button (GBR)
Those who cannot watch the finals on TV, here is a link to Live Scoring.