The finals of the Australia New Zealand (ANC) Cup Slopestyle were held at Cardrona Alpine Resort last weekend. Mee Hyun Lee (KOR) won the ladies ski event and Birk Ruud (NOR) the men’s competition. In snowboard, Matthew Cox (AUS) and Reira Iwabuchi (JPN) were the top riders.
In the Freeski event, competitors each had two runs, which comprised three rail features and three jumps, with only their top scoring run counting towards the final results.
Many competitors used this event as a warm up for the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ which will get underway on 25th August, marking the official start of the FIS World Cup season.
In the men’s field, Ruud landed his first run perfectly putting himself clearly ahead of the rest of field. But his stand-out trick came on the final jump of his second run when he threw down a triple cork 16. A backslide to cork 4 out with mute grab on the canon also distinguished Ruud from his competitors.
Young American Cody LaPlante also stood out with a misty 4 out followed by three doubles on the jump line to earn him second place. Gen Sasaki (JPN) finished third.
Mee Hyun Lee’s technical, smooth rail tricks and huge switch 7 off the last jump earned her the win in ladies competition.
“I was ready for whatever came today and was determined to keep a positive mindset no matter what the conditions were, so I’m happy about my result,” said Lee.
Nanaho Kiriyama (JPN) saved her best performance for the finals, pulling some new tricks out of the bag for second place. Third place went to Germany’s Kea Kuehnel.
Snowboarders also had a two-run, best one counts final and shook up results with some of the top qualifiers like unable to bring down a decent run due to the tricky weather conditions, which saw gusty winds and variable visibility.
“The weather was pretty bad this morning and I was worried that the competition wouldn’t go ahead. I decided to go for broke and put down the run I really wanted. Everything just clicked and on my second run, and I landed cab 9, front 10, back 10,” said winner Cox.
Japanese riders rounded out the men’s snowboard podium with Takeru Otsuka in second Hiroaki Kunitake third. Overall, it was a stellar day for the Japanese team, which claimed five of the six podium places available in the snowboarding competitions.
The ladies’ clean podium sweep came with Reira Iwabuchi first, Yuka Fujimori second and Hikari Yoshizawa third.
Iwabuchi led the field by over 20 points and her first run score would have been enough for the win. However, she still decided to up the level and landed a huge back 7 off the final jump in her second run to secure the clear victory.