The world's top ranked freestyle skiers battled it out under picture perfect blue skies at Cardrona Alpine Resort today where Torin Yater-Wallace (USA) and Devin Logan (USA) won the men and women’s FIS Freestyle Ski Halfpipe World Cup titles.
A talented men's field of 36 freestyle skiers competed in the qualifying heat for the top 12 spots. With two runs per round, best run counting, Thomas Krief, (FRA) Torin Yater-Wallace (USA) and Antti-Jussi Kemppainen (FIN) took the top three spots. Twenty seven women lined up for the qualifier with Devin Logan (USA) scoring the highest.
Torin Yater-Wallace (USA) came out tops in the end with a huge second run, he was awarded 93 points and took the lead off Thomas Krief (FRA) who finished in second place with 90 points. Benoit Valentin (FRA) placed third overall with 84.2 points.
Yater-Wallace’s winning run was made up of a double cork 1260 mute grab, an alley oop flat spin 540, a 900 tail grab, a 1080 tail grab and a switch right side 900 mute grab. Head judge Spence Steele said the judges were impressed with the execution and amplitude of the winning run. “The pipe skiing was phenomenal today. The top skiers were very impressive for the first competition of the qualifying season,” he said.
The women's final produced some big spins and tail grabs. Current Overall AFP World Champion Devin Logan lived up to expectations taking out first place with a score of 83.0, despite not landing her first run. It was second and third for Japanese skiers Manami Mitsuboshi (80.0 points) and Ayana Onozuka (78.6 points).
"The weather and conditions were amazing today. I had a great qualifying round and really felt the pressure for my second final’s run, the Japanese girls were really pushing me. I was lucky today, it’s a good start to the season,” said Logan.
Janina Kuzma (Wanaka) was the only New Zealand female to go through to the women’s finals in 12th place. A gutsy second final’s run and scoring 76.6 points put her in fourth place overall. Jossi Wells finished 7th overall scoring 76.6 on his first run and not landing his second run.
For the first time freestyle ski athletes’ competition points will count towards gaining an Olympic spot. The International Olympic Committee announced in April that men's and women's halfpipe skiing will be an Olympic sport at the 2014 Winter Olympics.
The action continues on Friday and Saturday (August 25-26) with the FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup also at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Off mountain the Winter Games Adventure Film Festival from the 24-26 August is on in Queenstown. There’s an action packed programme of spectacular adventure films to inspire and entertain. Tickets are still available from Reading Cinema or via the web site.
For further information, visit www.wintergamesnz.com