Eileen Gu ended the 2021/22 World Cup season with a perfect record in the women’s halfpipe after victory at Mammonth Mountain, while Nico Porteous emerged triumphant in the men’s event.
Gu, 18, arrived in California in red hot form after four straight World Cup wins and proceeded to lay down a marker by finishing top in qualifying.
The Chinese-American ski superstar then produced two sensational runs, finishing with a best of 97.50 to blow away the competition. Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru, the 2019 halfpipe world champion, claimed silver with a second run of 92.50, while American Brita Sigourney's score of 87.75 was enough to win bronze.
With the victory, Gu completed a perfect halfpipe campaign and secured the first crystal globe of her fledgling career.
"I am absolutely blown away," said the 18-year-old reigning world champion and current runaway FIS world points leader after winning her fourth World Cup gold by a full five points. "97.5 that's the highest score I've ever gotten. I think that's probably one of the best runs I've done in the halfpipe, and I always try to do my best in my victory laps, so I'm just really proud of myself for that."
“And a huge shoutout to all the girls right now," she added "I feel like halfpipe skiing and slopestyle skiing are progressing so fast and I'm just so proud to be apart of it."
In the men's freeski halfpipe, reigning world champion Porteous was back on the top of his game as he snatched victory away from American David Wise, thanks to an incredible second run.
“It feels, really, really, really good," said Porteous following his near-perfect 97.00-point final run. "I've had a bit of a tough season. We've had some tough conditions and finals and haven't really been skiing the way I wanted to, but to put that down is nice icing on the cake for the World Cup season and on to the next two big events."
Wise had led for much of the competition, having scored 95.25 on his first run, but had to settle for silver after Kiwi Porteous stomped down a remarkable second effort to score 97.00 and claim the first World Cup victory of his career. Bronze went to Aaron Blunck.
While Porteous, 20, claimed victory at Mammoth Mountain, it was Canada’s Brendan Mackay – who did not feature in the final – who claimed the men’s halfpipe World Cup title.