Silverthorne snowboarders sweep in World Cup Big Air opener
Chris Corning, Red Gerard and Kyle Mack — all of whom call Silverthorne home in the winter — swept the podium at the 2017-18 International Ski Federation Big Air World Cup season opener over on Saturday, Nov. 11, in Milan, Italy. And not one of the athletes is old enough to celebrate with champagne.
Corning impressed judges and fans alike with his difficulty, execution, amplitude and landing skills, the four keys to success in the event which gave athletes three runs and combined the scores on their best two. The 18-year-old landed frontside and backside 1440s to earn a score of 182.75.
Red Gerard, 17, scored a 163.00 with a backside 1440 and a frontside 1260 and Kyle Mack, who rode a locally designed Weston Snowboard at X Games last year, finished behind Gerard with a score of 161.50. Mack, 20, used a less-common Japan grab in his 1440 and also landed a frontside 1080 with a bloody Dracula grab, involving both hands.
“It was a lot of fun,” Corning said. “To step on the podium with two teammates was an amazing feeling, it couldn’t get any better. It was quite a way to start the Olympic year.”
GASSER LANDS A DOUBLE
On the women’s side, Anna Gasser continued her dominance by landing a double underflip, solidifying herself as the only woman in the world who is consistently landing double flips on her snowboard.
“I am so happy of this success, especially as things didn’t go that well yesterday and even today in the morning,” Gasser said.
The 26-year-old Austrian had a slow start in finals, bailing on her signature double flip in the first run. She did, however, pull it off in the second run, starting switch, landing regular and adding a mute grab as a display of control. Gasser also landed a backside 720, corking it out slightly, for a score of 160.25.
In second was British snowboarder Katie Ormerod, who also landed a backside 720. Ormerod’s other scoring trick, a cab 900, couldn’t compare to Gasser’s double flip, however, and her final score was a 143.25. Switzerland’s Sina Candrian landed a frontside 720 and a switch backside 540 to round out the women’s podium with a score of 130.25.
NEW OLYMPIC EVENT
The Big Air opener marked a return of World Cup competition to Milan after a break of ten years, and attracted a large crowd to the Experience Park venue. A Big Air competition also took place in Milan last year, but it was not a World Cup event.
“The atmosphere in Milan is amazing,” Gasser said, who also won the Milan event last year. “I love competing here, and I can’t wait to return year after year.”
Big Air competition will make its Olympic debut in 2018 and is known for its ability to be hosted in downtown venues in major cities. The Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park famously hosted a Big Air in 2016, and Shaun White’s Air + Style Big Air events have competitions in Los Angeles and Sydney. This year, Air + Style will double as a World Cup event and Olympic qualifier on Nov. 24-25. The event will take place in Beijing and is the next competition on the Big Air World Cup calendar. Big air competition then heads to nearby Copper Mountain on Dec. 8 as part of the annual Grand Prix competition hosted by U.S. Ski & Snowboard.
This report contains information from an International Ski Federation press release.