The 2018/19 FIS Snowboard slopestyle World Cup season opened in grand fashion, as a strong international field of riders gathered in Secret Garden (CHN) for their first taste of action at the venue that will host the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
The course boasts a myriad of impressive, inventive features befitting of an Olympic-level slopestyle course. With a slew of rail and jump options through the top half of the course that includes a unique Great Wall-inspired rail feature, the course then finishes off with three impressive jumps, including a multifaceted second kicker with a roll-over design on the main booter, and side-hit options.
"Being the first Olympic-standard slopestyle course in China, it rides really well," said American snowboarder Ryan Stassel, who finished sixth at the World Cup event.
"The Great Wall element lights up the fifth feature, which is a rail drop. It's a pivotal part of the course so you have to be really focused to land, but it looks pretty cool flying over the walls."
Further work is planned on the course, said Dirk Scheumann, CEO of Schneestern. “We want to develop more of those features connected to the Great Wall," has said. "The idea is to have the wall run for 200 meters from its starting point to the first jump. It's great to have something connected to China and new to the world, which entertains people a little bit more. It's not just about meeting technical requirements, it's also a kind of art."
Last weekend, things were already interesting on the current slopestyle course. In the ladies’ event the Japanese duo of Miyabi Onitsuka and Reira Iwabuchi took the top two spots on the day. Finishing up a successful day for the Japanese snowboard team was Takeru Otsuka, as the 17-year-old stormed to victory in the men’s event.