The first of the Park and Pipe events at the 2022 Winter Games NZ went down last Thursday 1 September with the halfpipe qualifiers held in the Olympic Superpipe at Cardrona. The finals were postponed due to high winds making conditions unsafe on the course. The results from qualifiers became the overall results.
The Cardrona FIS ANC Halfpipe Finals presented by La Roche-Posay were set to be held today in Cardrona’s 22-foot Superpipe. Unfortunately, the wind had other ideas and halfway through the first run the decision was made to cancel the finals and take the results from Thursday’s qualifiers.
The US Freeski Team made a clean sweep of the women’s Freeski Halfpipe Podium, with Hanna Faulhaber taking the top spot with an impressive score of 92.67, 13 points clear of her teammate Carly Margulies in second place. Riley Jacobs rounded out the US podium sweep in third.
Head judge Tori Beattie explained that Hanna’s huge back-to-back flares, consistent amplitude and strong grabs made her stand out from the rest of field, impressing the judges.
Hanna explained “I definitely laid down the run I was doing at the Winter Olympics and X Games, it’s always good to throw down as hard as you can. Sometimes you save stuff for finals to surprise the judges but from hearing that we might not have finals I pushed through and gave it all I had on Thursday.”
Cardrona local and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympian 16-year-old Gustav Legnavsky took the win in the Men’s Freeski Halfpipe category with an impressive run that included three double corks, scoring 94.33. Gustav was disappointed that the finals were cancelled, but nonetheless was stoked to take the win.
Legnavsky said, “Since the Olympics I’ve been getting fired up wanting to have those better results, definitely feels a lot better and I have been more consistent. I am pretty excited, it’s great to get another gold back at my home mountain.”
Fellow Kiwi Ben Harrington finished in second place, right behind Legnavsky, with a score of 93 flat. Harrington, an X Games competitor, and Winter Olympian said “It’s good, Gustav is unreal at the moment, he is skiing super well, it’s really cool to get to ski with him, we’ve been able to ski together and push each other, it’s been really fun!”
Matt Labaugh (USA) rounded out the Men’s Freeski Podium in third with a score of 92.00.
Gaon Choi of Korea was a standout competitor in the women’s Snowboard Halfpipe category from the second she dropped in. Choi impressed with judges with her amplitude and her ability to hold her grabs for the duration of her tricks.
She explained to us how she loves coming to New Zealand to compete and is really pleased with her results here at the 2022 Winter Games NZ.
Tsuki Yamazaki and Mion Kamimura, both of Japan, rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively.
Chaeun Lee, also of Korea, took the win in the men’s snowboard category, with Konosuke Murakami of Japan right on his heels. The judges explained that Lee and Murakami had huge amplitude, almost twice as big as the rest of the field and landed super technical runs.
16-year-old Kiwi Campbell Melville Ives rounded out the podium in third place. “We haven’t had any international athletes in a few years now so it’s really sick to be back competing with them.”
FIS ANC Freeski Halfpipe
- Women | 1st Hanna Faulhaber (USA), 2nd Carly Margulies (USA), 3rd Riley Jacobs (USA)
- Men | 1st Gustav Legnavsky (NZL), 2nd Ben Harrington (NZL), 3rd Matt Labaugh (USA)
FIS ANC Snowboard Halfpipe
- Women | 1st Gaon Choi (KOR), 2nd Tsuki Yamazaki (JPN), 3rd Mion Kamimura (JPN)
- Men | 1st Chauen Lee (KOR), 2nd Konosuke Murakami (NZL), 3rd Campbell Melville Ives (NZL)
The weather thwarted them again at the slopestyle finals, due to be held after the halfpipe finals yesterday. The cloud came in and the visibility was too limited for the athletes to throw down on the Big Bucks course. Despite the finals cancellation we were able to award the podiums based off the qualification results.
Low visibility that followed this mornings high winds meant the athletes couldn’t see far enough down the course to safely compete.
Local athletes Ruby Andrews and Luca Harrington topped the women’s and men’s Freeski Slopestyle. with results from qualification on Saturday used as the final results.
At the end of the first run of qualifications Andrews was in second place and knew she had to do something special to secure the top spot; “My first run of qualification I put it down, and then one of my competitors went above me so I ended up putting down a switch misty 900 down which I have never done in competition before!”
“I am stoked, over the moon – this is my home mountain and coming away with a result like today, I couldn’t ask for anything better.” said Andrews.
Andrew’s was joined on the podium by Yuna Koga of Japan and local up and comer Madeleine Disbrowe.
Men’s Freeski Slopestyle winner Harrington said: “It definitely was challenging with the weather; qualification day was the best day we had so I just tried to put something down that was clean and turned out that it worked out in my favour, so I am pretty happy.”
Freeski judge Kat Alexander explained, “Luca’s first run was unreal, his right double cork 1260 tail grab was perfection and then he got massive amplitude on his switch right double cork 1260 on the final jump, that just blew us out of the water.”
Jesse Parkinson of Australia, winner of the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle, was a standout competitor in his field. The judges were really impressed with the backside triple 1440 he was stomping, the only competitor performing this massive trick.
Japanese riders Hiroaki Kunitake and Taiga Hasegawa both put down strong performances in the rail section, but without the huge trick Parkinson was throwing down they had to settle for second and third, respectively.
Mari Fukada, Japan, claimed to top spot on the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle podium. She was the only woman throwing down back-to-back 720s with good execution on the large jumps. Wānaka athletes Lucia Georgalli and Ava Beer finished in second and third, respectively.
The Slopestyle wraps up the Cardrona FIS ANC Freeski and Snowboard Halfpipe and Slopestyle presented by La Roche-Posay.
Next on the Winter Games NZ calendar is the North Face Frontier 2* event which is happening today at The Remarkables, followed later in the week by the 4* event.
FIS ANC Freeski Slopestyle
- Women | 1st Ruby Andrews (NZL), 2nd Yuna Koga (JPN), 3rd Madeleine Disbrowe (NZL)
- Men | 1st Luca Harrington (NZL), 2nd Gen Fujii (JPN), 3rd Finley Melville Ives (NZL)
FIS ANC Snowboard Slopestyle
- Women | 1st Mari Fukada (JPN), 2nd Lucia Georgalli (NZL), 3rd Ava Beer (NZL)
- Men | 1st Jesse Parkinson (AUS), 2nd Taiga Hasegawa (JPN), 3rd Hiroaki Kunitake (JPN)