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Corning opens World Cup season with thrilling repeat in Cardrona
Chris Corning (USA) (Photo: Iain McGregor/WGNZ)

The 2019/20 FIS Snowboard World Cup season got underway on Saturday in Cardrona Alpine Resort, with the big air World Cup at the Winter Games NZ taking to the massive Cardrona jump for an incredible men’s finals where Chris Corning (USA) once again walked away with a show-stopping victory, defending his title from last season.

Sitting in third place after the first run with a score of 80.75 for a frontside 1440 melon, Chris leapfrogged into top spot on run two, stomping a jaw-dropping quad cork 1800 for a score of 95.50 and a two-jump combined score of 176.25, stunning both the crowd and his fellow riders at the top of the course in the process.

Corning’s US teammate Red Gerard - who finished in second place with his combo of frontside 1440 tailgrab and backside triple cork mute for a score of 161.25 - was one of the first to congratulate his US teammate.

“Chris just did a perfect backside quad, so that’s pretty nuts and I’m pretty psyched to see his victory lap later,” said Red from the bottom of the course after his second run.

Riding high after his fifth World Cup win in his last ten events entered, Corning was suitably stoked.

“I’m super happy we got this contest off, and everyone rode so well,” Corning said from the finish area, “It means everything to get this win; this is what we come to do, this is what we spend all year training for, this is what all the hard work goes into. I'm happy to come out with the win.

“There were a few of us from the very start of the day who wanted the contest to go. Sometimes the wind is really tough, but today it was really steady and didn’t matter than much and a lot of us were able to ride right through it. And then once we started the contest it calmed right down, so it worked out perfectly.”

Third place on the podium went to Finland's Kalle Jarvilehto with a backside triple cork melon and switch backside 1440 mute, earning himself a score of 160.25 to push top qualifier Nicolas LaFramboise (CAN) out of the top three.

Women’s Cardrona finals cancelled due to weather

After the men’s competition went off without a hitch there were high hopes to finish the day off with a successful women’s event. Mother nature, however, had other plans.

Immediately after the men’s final runs, the wind began to pick up quickly, and after several delay’s and meetings with riders and coaches, and with even worse weather forecasted for the following days, the decision was was made to cancel the women's final. With that decision, the qualification results from Friday then became the final results for the women’s event. 

Top qualifier Enni Rukajarvi of Finland would be awarded her first World Cup win since 2017 and the fourth of her career. 

“I really wanted to ride today because the jump is super nice and I wanted to do some bigger tricks,” said Rukajarvi after the cancellation was announced, “But of course I also feel good about my riding from yesterday, it was a fun day. I’ve been doing this for quite a long time but it still feels good to be on top. Sometimes it’s hard with the weather, but I think today it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.”

Second place would go to Katie Ormerod (GBR), who made a hugely impressive return to the World Cup after a long recovery from breaking her heel at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Rounding out the women’s podium was the always-strong Silje Norendal (NOR) in third.

Action at Cardrona Alpine Resort continues on Monday with the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe.

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