The Winter Games NZ returned to Cardrona Alpine Resort today for the finals of the FIS Snowboard World Cup Big Air presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort. It was an impressive showdown with 2018 Winter Games NZ Snowboard Big Air winner Chris Corning (USA) once again finishing atop the podium.
In the finals format for World Cup Big Air, riders make three jumps and it is the combined total of their best two scores which decides the final rankings, but riders must spin two different tricks.
Sitting in third place with his first run score of 80.75 for a frontside 1440 melon, Chris leapfrogged into the top spot on run two, stomping a quad 1800 for a score of 95.50 from a possible 100, stunning his fellow riders at the top of the course.
Redmond Gerard - who finished in second place with his combo of frontside 1440 tailgrab and backside triple cork mute - 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,” said Red.
Chris commented: "I'm super happy we got this contest off, everyone rode so well. It means everything, this is what we come to do, this is what we spend all year training for, this is what all the hard work goes in to, I'm happy to come out with the win."
Third place on the podium went to Finland's Kalle Jarvilehto with a backside triple melon and switch backside 1440 mute, just pushing top qualifier Nicolas LaFramboise (CAN) out of the top three.
With wind speeds picking up over the day a safety call was made to cancel the women's final and take results from the qualifying day. Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi (FIN) finished in first place, Katie Ormerod (GBR) second and Silje Norendal (NOR) third.
Despite being away from World Cup competition for almost two years, Katie Ormerod has returned to the top of the sport in the best way possible, standing on the podium today in New Zealand.
The 2019/20 Snowboard World Cup big air season commenced at Cardrona yesterday with qualification taking place a day earlier than scheduled due to an ominous weather forecast.
In her first World Cup appearance in 629 days, Ormerod was third after the first run, then improved to second place with her backside 720 mute earning a score of 83.75.
While organisers were hopeful of running a final on Saturday morning, the conditions weren’t suitable for competition meaning the results from qualifying stood with Ormerod earning her seventh overall World Cup podium (six in big air, one in slopestyle).
Finnish veteran Enni Rukajvari (86.00) scored her fourth career World Cup victory to edge out Ormerod, while Norway’s two-time World Championship medallist Silje Norendal (83.00) was third.
“I’m so excited to come second in my first World Cup back since injury,” said Ormerod. “It was great to ride in such a high level contest and I’m really happy with my riding.
“It couldn’t be a better way for me to start the season.”
The result is an early birthday present for Ormerod who turns 22 on Sunday. She now draws even with Zoe Gillings-Brier and James ‘Woodsy’ Woods with seven top-three World Cup finishes, equal fifth on Britain’s all-time list.
The Park and Pipe Series presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort continues on Monday with the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe.