Winter Games NZ ANC Freeski Slopestyle Qualifiers
Cardrona, New Zealand (29 August 2019) - Today was a day for big tricks in the Big Bucks Park in the qualifying rounds of the FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Freeski Slopestyle presented by Cardrona Alpine Resort at the QRC Winter Games NZ fueled by Forsyth Barr.
The 33 male and 10 female competitors made the most of clear calm conditions, throwing down their most technical rail and jump tricks and gunning for a spot in Sunday’s finals. 10 men and six women would make the cut, determined by the best scores from two runs.
Winter Games NZ ANC Freeski Halfpipe winner Eileen Gu (CHN) was back on form, posting the top score (84.66) of the day with her second run. 14-year-old New Zealand skier Ruby Andrews (Queenstown) held the lead after the first run, putting together the most technical rail run of the morning and landing 82.66. She was looking to tidy up her second run and re-take the top spot but couldn’t quite lace up the backside 450 on jump one.
“I was hoping to up my score but I’m still super stoked to qualify in second,” said Ruby after the competition.
Australia’s Abi Harrigan was third
women through to finals on 73.66, Japan’s Mayu Himoto
fourth, China’s Ruyi Yang fifth and NZ’s Laura Wotton
(Auckland) rounding out the top six.
In the men’s field it was another Kiwi in the lead after the first run with Ben Barclay (Auckland) showing good variety on the rails and ticking the boxes on trick difficulty and solid grabs, landing 82.00 on his first run.
Japan’s Taisei Yamamoto put the hammer down on run two, with a technical rail section up top and huge amplitude on the jumps, landing a 91.33 for the top qualifying spot.
NZ’s Jackson Wells (Wanaka) had the most unique rail line of the day, the only competitor to hit the wall ride feature, and impressed the judges with progressive jumps using multiple axes. With two solid runs in the bank and a top score of 80.33, Jackson was through to finals in third place.
Japanese skiers Gen Fujii and Toma Matsuura qualified in fourth and fifth place respectively with Luca Harrington (Wanaka) the third of the NZ men to make the cut, in sixth place.
With Australian skier Cameron Waddell through in ninth place, the finals also promise to bring a close competition for the ANC yellow bib. The Kiwi or Australian athlete who wins the 2019 FIS Australia New Zealand Cup (ANC) series will win themselves a coveted personal World Cup start for the 2020 season. The Winter Games NZ Slopestyle is the final event in the series.
Competition continues at Cardrona Alpine Resort tomorrow (Saturday) with the qualifying rounds FIS Australia New Zealand Cup Snowboard Slopestyle. The Freeski & Snowboard finals are scheduled for Sunday.
1. Eileen Gu (CHN) Switch on straight slide, straight slide 450 out tailgrab, flat 540 mute, switch left 540 tail, right 720 tail
2. Ruby Andrews (NZL) Ski slide to front 450, ski slide, backside 450, switch cork 720, switch 540, left side 360 mute grab
3. Abi Harrigan (AUS) Left on blind 270, straight slide, front 270, switch left 540, right 360, left 360 Japan
1. Taisei Yamamoto. Right k-fed on transfer, switch left 270, pretzel 630 out, switch right on front 810, right double 1080 safety, right double 1260 mute, switch right double 1080 safety.
2. Ben Barclay. Switch left 270 pretzel 450 out, right 270 continuing 270 on down flat down, switch on, front cork 450 safety, left double 1080 mute, right 900 tail, switch left double 1260 safety.
3. Jackson Wells. Right 270 continuing 270, switch left 270, right back 270, double wobble 720, right cork 900 lead tail, switch left double misty 1260 safety.