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Big Air Chur: Snowboard Five Things to Watch
Photo: Mateusz Kielpinski/FIS Snowboard

BIG AIR CHUR: FIVE THINGS TO WATCH SNOWBOARD

The 2021/22 FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe World Cup season is set to get underway on Saturday at the Big Air Chur World Cup. Here’s five things to watch out for when the world’s best hit the massive scaffold jump set-up to kick off a new winter that’s full of potential…

1) NEW SH…SHTUFF!

The last few weeks has seen a heavy collection of the world’s finest descending upon the glaciers of Europe from Stelvio to Saas Fee, where some outstanding park set-ups and friendly conditions lead to an explosion of early-season progression.

Every day it seemed like five or 10 of your favourite riders were dropping “NEW TRICK” posts, with it all coming to a head late last week when 15-year-old Japanese phenom Taiga Hasegawa became the first rider ever to stomp 1800s all four ways - frontside, backside, cab and switch backside.

While we’re not expecting to see much in the way of 1800s on Saturday in Chur (the limitations of the scaffold set up means that the geometry is probably too small to huck one of those around, although Chris Corning (USA) has managed the feat before on a scaffold jump), we are expecting to see a level of riding the likes of which hasn’t been experienced at a city big air competition before.

2) CAN BLOUIN AND MCMORRIS KEEP IT SWEET LIKE MAPLE SYRUP?

Canada swept the top of the podium at the Aspen 2021 World Championships last season, with Laurie Blouin earning women’s gold and Mark McMorris putting on a clinic on his way to the men’s title.

With two of the world’s best women Zoi Sadwoski-Synnott (NZL) and Jamie Anderson (USA) not competing in Chur (and with a fresh front double cork 1260 in her trick arsenal), Blouin is in a prime position to start the season on a good foot in this weekend.

McMorris, meanwhile, is the king of technical precision, and if he can solve the tricky riddle that is the big jump set-up in Chur he could be tough to best by the rest of field. However, McMorris is going to have the likes of Marcus Kleveland (NOR), Takeru Otsuka (JPN), Chris Corning (USA), fellow Canadian Sebastien Toutant and a whole slew of others breathing down his neck. It ain’t going to be easy for anyone out there on Saturday.

3) SPEAKING OF MARCUS KLEVELAND…

Is there anybody with better board control in the entire world? Long a social media darling for his mind-boggling knuckle huck heroics and signature of-axis variations, last season the 22-year-old claimed slopestyle gold at the Aspen 2021 World Championship before claiming the slopestyle and Park & Pipe overall crystal globes, proving himself one of the preeminent contest riders on the planet.

Kleveland has been a rider no one can take their eyes off for several years now, but as he pushes towards great things at Beijing 2022 he’s one to watch now, more than ever.

4) THE HEAVY HITTIN’ JAPAN SNOWBOARD TEAM

Across the women’s and men’s start lists there is simply no nation who can hold a candle to the Japanese team here in Chur.

We’ll start with the women, where a quick look shows that there’s no reason why Japan couldn’t sweep the podium on Saturday. Each one of Kokomo Murase, Miyabi Onitsuka and Reira Iwabuchi boasts at least one dub 1260 of their very own, along with the kind of complementary tricks that are a must to hit the podium in a two-jump combined-score big air finals.

While we’re not saying the sweep is going to happen - a lot of pieces would to have to fall perfectly into place on Saturday - we’re definitely not saying it’s impossible.

On the men’s side of things the pipeline that feeds the Japanese team just keeps spitting out elite-level youngsters who seem to graduate to the World Cup and immediately begin competing for podiums, with the above-mentioned Hasegawa the latest addition.

Hasegawa joins the likes of two-time X Games winner and 2019/19 big air crystal globe winner Takeru Otsuka, 2019/20 slopestlye crystal globe winner Ruki Tobita, 2019/20 big air third-overall finisher Ryoma Kimata and 3x World Cup podium-hitter Hiroaki Kunitake on one of the most well-balanced and progressive squads on earth.

5) IT’S REAL COOL TO BE IN CHUR

The first-ever Swiss city big air World Cup is also our first city big air competition since the 2019/20 season, AND the first FIS Snowboard World Cup of any kind to feature fans back at the venue since the onset of the pandemic back in March 2020. And not only that, it’s also the first-ever FIS Snowboard World Cup competition to feature a full-on music festival attached the programme, with some of central Europe’s finest party-starters on hand to up the hype factor throughout the day and long into the night (find out more about the Covid-19 safety measures in place HERE).

Stacked startlist of the world’s best riders + sick venue + festival vibes + the kick-off of a new season of shredding = HYPE.

To say we’re stoked about this one would be an understatement, and we hope you are too.

WATCH BIG AIR CHUR LIVE:

Livestream on the Big Air Chur website HERE, Eurosport 2, NBC Olympic Channel, Peacock Streaming, SRF2, ORF Sport +, CBC Sports Streaming, YIE TV2, areena.yle.fi

QUICK LINKS

 
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