FIS Freeksi: Ben Barclay in personal best - other Kiwis struggle

Dec 05, 2021

Steamboat, Colorado, USA (5 December 2021)  New Zealand freeskier Ben Barclay (19 years old) has finished in 7th place at the FIS Freeski Big Air World Cup held in Steamboat, Colorado this morning (NZT). This is Ben’s best result at a FIS World Cup in any discipline.  

Ben Barclay. Credit Ross Mackay | Snow Sports NZ

“Honestly it hasn’t really hit me, I came into this event thinking it wasn’t my stronger discipline and being a really high-level event, I was aiming for a top thirty to score some points, I didn’t even fathom that this could happen, I am absolutely stoked!” 

Sunny skies, warm temperatures and little wind greeted the athletes for finals. The Big Air format allows each athlete to attempt three runs, with their two best trick scores counting towards their final score. Ben meant business dropping in for run one, attempting a technical switch left double cork 1800, but unfortunately he just couldn’t quite stick the landing on the 65-foot jump. 

Ben got redemption in run two, reattempting and stomping his switch left double cork 1800 with a mute grab, impressing the judges and being awarded with an 88.75, bumping him into 8th position. 

“Dropping into the second run, I just thought about trying to remain calm coming into the landing [of the switch 1800]. With that trick I can get scared coming into the landing because it is an unnatural rotation, so I just told myself to be calm.“ 

With one final opportunity to get some points on the board Ben dropped into his third and final run, throwing a huge left double cork 1440 tail grab and was rewarded with a score of 80.25, resulting in a combined score of 169.00, slotting into 7th position overall.

The Steamboat Big Air World Cup is an Olympic Winter Games qualifying event for Beijing 2022, boasting a deep, international field. Matej Svancer (AUT) took the win, Alex Hall (USA) finished in second and Antoine Adelisse (FRA) rounded out the podium in third.  

Four Kiwi athletes competed over the weekend in Steamboat at the Big Air World Cup in both Snowboard and Freeski. Snowboarders Cool Wakushima (Queenstown) finished in 18th place and Tiarn Collins (Queenstown) finished in 16th place. Freeskier Luca Harrington (Wānaka) finished in 39th=. 

 Main Image: Ben Barclay mid trick in the qualifying event for the Steamboat Big Air FIS World Cup. Credit FIS Freestyle 

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