Strong US results for local snow sports competitors
Copper Mountain, Colorado, USA (17 December 2023) – Kiwi Freeskiers Ruby Star Andrews (Queenstown, 18) and Luca Harrington (Wānaka, 19) have finished in eighth and ninth place respectively at the FIS Freeski Big Air World Cup held Sunday morning NZT in Colorado.
Andrews dropped into the Big Air World Cup finals, in what was her debut Big Air World Cup event. The star-studded field included both the current Olympic Freeski Big Air silver and bronze medalists, Tess Ledeux of France and Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland.
The level of skiing in the women’s finals was incredibly high, with the increasingly difficult tricks showing just how quickly the sport is progressing as the women continue to push themselves and each other.
Andrews took the event in her stride, laying down two solid runs to finish in eighth place today. She started with a solid switch right 1080 safety grab and combined that with a tidy left cork 900 tail grab in her second run.
With her third and final run to go and two landed scores on the board, Andrews opted to try and up the score on her switch right 1080 safety grab. She tidied up the trick and was rewarded a few additional points by the judges, giving her a combined overall score of 144.50.
Tess Ledeux of France took the win, with a standout performance that included a double cork 1620 and a switch double cork 1260. Mathilde Gremaud of Switzerland finished in second place and Kirsty Muir of Great Britain rounded out the podium in third.
In the men’s competition Harrington delivered a solid performance in the men’s Freeski Big Air finals debuting a brand-new trick, a right triple cork 1980, for the first time in competition.
Straight out the gate he attempted to lay down his huge new trick, slightly over rotating the first attempt but putting down the landing gear on his second run attempt. A slight bobble on the grab did hurt his score in the high level event, but landing the hugely technical trick sets Harrington up well for the upcoming World Cups in the new year.
For Harrington’s third and final trick he stomped a switch right double cork 1800 with a blunt grab, giving him a combined total score of 149.00.
The men’s podium consisted of American Mac Forehand in first, Miro Tabanelli of Italy in second and current Freeski Big Air Olympic Champion Birk Ruud of Norway in third.
Today’s event wraps up the Freeski and Snowboard Park and Pipe competition for 2023, with the action set to start back up from mid-January 2024 with the LAAX Open the first event on the roster.
Freeskier Luke Harrold (Lake Hāwea, 15) and Snowboarder Lyon Farrell (Arrowtown, 25) have achieved seventh and eighth place finishes respectively this morning at the Freeski and Snowboard World Cup events in Colorado.
Harrold competed in what was only the second freeski World Cup of his career in a hugely talented men’s freeski halfpipe final. Up against athletes twice his age, including American freeskiers three-time Olympic medalist David Wise and two-time Olympic medalist Alex Ferreira, this marked the biggest competition of his young career.
Harrold, who came into this event off the back of a podium finish at his debut World Cup in China last weekend, started strongly with a great run that had him sitting comfortably in fourth position after the first run.
Harrold then dropped in with the plan to take his run up another level and push hard for the podium. Unfortunately, a couple of bobbles on his switch landings resulted in him needing to dial back his run slightly, albeit still delivering a solid performance finishing in seventh.
Team USA dominated on home snow, with a podium sweep from the American men. Alex Ferreira took the win, making it two from two this season. He was joined on the podium by Hunter Hess in second place and Birk Irving in third.
Earlier this morning the Snowboard Big Air World Cup finals went down, with Lyon Farrell finishing in eighth place in the strong finals field.
Right off the bat Farrell attempted his technical 1800 double nose grab, but a slightly backseat landing hurt his score. Farrell gave the same trick another attempt on his second run and absolutely stomped it, impressing the judges and getting rewarded with a 93.00.
The Big Air format requires an overall score to be generated by combining the scores from two jumps in two different directions of rotation. Farrell dropped into his third and final run and attempted a frontside 1800 weddle grab to tail grab. Unfortunately he slipped out on the landing, so even with his huge 93.00 from his second run, his combined score totalled 111.00, an eighth place finish.
Hiroaki Kunitake of Japan took the win today, marking his first World Cup win of his career. Sam Vermaat of The Netherlands claimed the first World Cup podium of his career, finishing in second place and 2018 snowboard slopestyle Olympic champion Redmond Gerard of the USA rounded out the podium in third.
The snow sports action continues tonight with Alice Robinson (Queenstown, 22) racing in the Val D’Isere Downhill World Cup in France and tomorrow morning with Ruby Star Andrews (Queenstown, 18) and Luca Harrington (Wānaka, 19) dropping into the Freeski Big Air World Cup finals in Colorado.
Please note, vision will only be available for a limited time as the livestream will be removed from YouTube.
Ruby top scoring trick (cork 900 tail grab) - https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxgRiYdOPRW8LS04QrQ31ocOcHpfCXr1vQ?feature=shared
Luca debuting his triple cork right 1980 - https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkxcjh_HK6YqKidzey5PFjmW084uCiKKWpi?feature=shared
Main Image: Lyon Farrell in action during qualification. Credit Buchholz / FIS Snowboarding