Prior and Gerard win Aspen Snowmass Slopestyle World Cup
Christy Prior (NZL) and Redmond Gerard (USA) have prevailed in the 2017-18 FIS Snowboard World Cup's second slopestyle event which was staged as part of the Aspen Snowmass Toyota U.S. Grand Prix and served as penultimate international qualifier for the 2018 Olympic Winter Games today.
However, when riders came up the mountain, it didn't really look like that the famous resort in Colorado could celebrate its first FIS Snowboard World Cup competition only a few weeks after having run tons of festivities for its 50th anniversary.
Heavy wind and snow fall made the practise a tough one, and when it finally was time to kick off the competition, visibility was still low and wind still an issue.
After a delay of more than one hour, the sky finally cleared up and riders where good to go with barely having had the runs they normally need to put the hammer down.
But they did with women and men constantly getting along better with the changing conditions at site locking in better scores run after run.
Best example: Kiwi rider Christy Prior. Thanks to a strong performance in the final run of the three run-best one count final of the top 8 women and top 10 men, she was able to secure their respective career's second.
The 29-year-old goofy rider, who had already locked in a third rank finish in the Big Air in Moenchengladbach, Germany beginning of December jumped from fifth to first by landing a switch boardslide to frontside off, frontside nose blunt as well as a frontside 720 off the toes to backside 540 in the jump line which had to be reduced from three jumps to two as a result of this mornings weather chaos.
“It was a bit of a roller coaster to be honest. When we were out here for practise it didn't look like the competition was about to be run. And then it just started opening up as we started; and everyone really turned it on. We all put it down when it mattered,” she said.
Prior was awarded with a 77.06 therefore edging off new World Cup leader Reira Iwabuchi (JPN; 76.48) who had led the women's field after run one as well as Tess Coady (75.42), Australia's first ever slopestyle podium finisher, to the respective second and third in a tight decision.
With her first World Cup podium in the bag, Coady, who had impressed the judges with a 50-50 frontside 360 out, boardslide, backside 720 mute to frontside 720 stale, stated: “I'm so stoked. Practise was really rough this morning, everyone was struggling on the jumps but it turned out perfectly for the competition. It got a bit windy towards the end so I was a little bit stressed out but I'm so happy. It's awesome.”
In the men's competition, Colorado native Gerard underlined with his second win on home soil since Copper Mountain last year that he likes competing in his backyard.
The 17-year-old from Silverthorne threw down a bluntslide to 270 out nose grab, backside disaster revert indy grab as well as a massive switch backside 1260 indy to backside triple cork mute earning 87.28.
He therefore relegated Hiraoki Kunitake from Japan, the other one of only two riders landing a triple cork to the second rank (83.64).
While the World Cup leader confirmed his nomination for the Olympic U.S. Snowboard Team with his win, Kunitake did secure his career's first podium finish on the World Cup tour.
“I'm feeling good. I love riding in Snowmass. It's good ending off with the first,” Gerard said.
Tiarn Collins (NZL) rounded out the men's podium placing third with a 83.57.
The FIS Snowboard Freestyle World Cup tour continues with finals of the Halfpipe World Cup competition in Snowmass on January 13, 2018, with riders dropping in at 1 PM (9 PM CET).
Check Live TV info here.
Christy Prior: switch boardslide to frontside off, frontside nose blunt, frontside 720 off toes, backside 540
Redmond Gerard: bluntslide to 270 nose grab, backside disaster revert indy, switch switch backside 1260 indy, backside triple cork 1440 mute
Reira Iwabuchi: 50-50 to noseslide, boardslide to fakie, cab 900 stale, frontside 720 stale
Hiraoki Kunitake: ½ cab to 50/50 backside rodeo out, switch boardslide to forward, cab 1260 mute, backside triple cork 1440 mute
Tess Coady: 50-50 frontside 360 out, boardslide, backside 720 mute, frontside 720 stale
Tiarn Collins: cab 270 in 270 out, frontside disaster to backside 180 nose bonk, cab 1260 nose, backside 1260 indy