30th August 2013 – Wanaka, New Zealand – A heavy-hitting field of international freeskiers took to the slopes of Cardrona Alpine Resort again today for the men’s and women’s slopestyle finals of The North Face® Freeski Open of New Zealand.
With names like Jossi Wells (NZL), James ‘Woodsy’ Woods (GBR), Nick Goepper (USA) and Gus Kenworthy (USA) in the men’s line up and The North Face® rider Devin Logan (USA), Tiril Sjaastad-Christiansen (NOR) and Lisa Zimmermann (GER) on the women’s start list, the scene was set for an intense day of competition. Blue skies, warmer temperatures and only a light wind made for, what Australian skier Annabel Blake called, “the best conditions possible.”
The day began with the women’s competition and with a small field of just fourteen competitors, the decision was made to move straight through to finals with each rider allowed three runs in which to put down their best score.
Norway’s Tiril Sjaastad-Christiansen was the clear winner with an outstanding overall score of 97.60 ahead of Lisa Zimmerman (Germany) in second with 87.80 and USA’s Devin Logan third with 77.60.
“I’m really pleased with my performance today,” said Sjaastad-Christiansen. “I did what I wanted to do which was to pull together a better run than at the world cup.” The 18-year old was the winner of the women’s slopestyle at the Audi quattro Winter Games world cup on 25th August. She currently tops the AFP’s overall rankings for female freeskiers.
Sjaastad-Christiansen said the difference in today’s performance was her “cleaner tricks on the jumps.” The slopestyle course is composed of a wall-ride to start, with a choice of rails including a down-flat-down for the second feature, followed by a choice of cannon rail or rainbow rail before the three jumps.
Her run included a switch 180 on, 180 out, switch lip onto the down rail, frontside four off the cannon, left 540 mute grab, switch right 900 tail grab and forwards right 900 tail grab.
Head Judge Greg Tuscher commented that Tiril “made it look easy and was totally in control. It was good to see the female competitors making the grabs and mixing runs and tricks.”
The men’s field comprised 26 riders, 15 of whom had qualified during yesterday’s heats and the remaining 11 invited. A decision was made to move competition straight through to a three run final.
It was a close call for the top result with USA’s Nick Goepper just pipping the UK’s James Woodsy Woods 95.80 to 95.00. Henrik Harlaut brought home the third place spot to enthusiastic applause and high fives from fans at the bottom of the course.
Goepper’s run featured a right side hand drag three, on the transfer rails a front-side switch up, pretzel 270 out, switch on, rodeo 4 safety out of the cannon feature, right double cork 12 mute grab, switch left double cork 10 Japan grab to switch right double cork nine screaming seaman safety.
‘Woodsy’ summed up proceedings, calling it a “fantastic day” and commenting that “a day when you score all 90s is pretty special.”
Of Goepper’s winning run, Judge Greg Tuscher commented that “he put down a clean run with good combos, different grabs and displayed good variety. It was a tough call between him and Woodsy, the level was really high but I really enjoyed watching them.”
The North Face® Freeski Open is classified as a silver level event by the AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) World Tour and 2013 marks the ninth year of competition.
Competition continues tomorrow (Saturday) with the world’s best male and female halfpipe skiers battling it out in the Olympic halfpipe at Cardrona Alpine Resort. Qualifiers, semi-finals and finals will all be contested tomorrow. A preview video is available to watch athttp://vimeo.com/73209482
Videos will be available to view throughout the competition at the following link: http://vimeo.com/thenorthfaceaunz
As well as world class competition, The North Face® Freeski Open also enjoys an exciting social schedule. On the agenda for tonight’s entertainment Carlsberg presents the Post Office Lane (Wanaka) Outdoor Cinema from 8pm. Two films will be screened: Kyle Decker and Tom Wallisch’s The Wallisch Project and Nick Martini/ Stept Productions’ Mutiny.
For further information visit www.nzfreeskiopen.com
Credit: Nick Johnson
7 years ago