Women pull of a show in big air qualifiers
With several athletes throwing down 900s, doubles and even 1080s the battle for the twelve final spots in today's two-run, best one count qualifier format delivered a first glimpse on what to expect for 23 February when the world's bet return to battle for Gold, Silver and Bronze in big air.
In fact, it was the best big air contest in women's snowboarding we have seen so far.
As expected, it's Anna Gasser who will entering the finals as top qualifier and therefore as the odds-on favourite for the title she had been before descending on South Korea earlier to the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
Arguably the strongest female kicker rider out there at the moment, the reigning World Champion underlined her strength by landing a cab double cork in her first run, a trick which has become a safety run for her over the past couple of months, before stepping up her game with a massive cab double cork 1080 mute to earn a 98.00.
Hot on her heels were Japanese shredders Yuka Fujimori, who took part in the inaugural Olympic SBX race back in 2006 as well as Reira Iwabuchi who landed a respective huge backside 900 mute and cab 900 stale to place second and third with a respective 94.25 and 92.75.
But several more athletes were also powering their scores in the 90s.
Laurie Blouin (CAN), the 2018 slopestyle Silver medallist, underlined her claim for another medal with with a 92.25 for her nicely corked cab double while Zoi Sadowski Synnott, a 16-year-old teenager from New Zealand, wowed the judges by going deep on her double back flip in her first run before stomping the best trick of the contest.
The 2017 World Championships slopestyle Silver medallist went big on her switch backside 900 stale but touched the ground with her hand when landing it (92.00). If the Kiwi is able to clean that one up, she for sure will be able to give Anna Gasser some headaches in the finals.
However, never underestimate Jamie Anderson (USA), who has nothing to lose after successfully defending her Sochi slopestyle title a few days ago in tough weather conditions.
Able to blank out the pressure of competing on the world's biggest stage, Anderson also has some big tricks in store such as her super clean cab double which she was rewarded for with a 90.00 therefore wrapping up the qualifiers in sixth position.
The other remaining six final spots went to Miyabi Onitsuka JPN; 86.50), Sina Candrian (SUI; 86.00), Julia Marino (USA; 85.25), Silje Norendal (NOR; 77.50), Spencer O'Brien (CAN; 76.75) and Jessika Jenson (USA; 76.25).
Full results can be found here.
The men's qualifiers are slated for 21 February 9:30 (1:30 CET), women's finals for 22 February 09:30 (01:30 CET) and men's finals for 24 February 10:00 (2:00 CET).