Wow what a couple hours it has been on the Winter Olympics slopestyle course. Our hearts are literally racing. So much to report on from the opening qualification round of the women’s snowboard slopestyle. It was sometimes creative, often controlled, a bit hard and definitely tricky. Phew. So where to start? How about with HEAT 1!
First up to drop in for the first ever women’s Winter Olympic slopestyle contest was Brit and 3 times X Games gold medalist, Jenny Jones. A tough position to be in setting the bar for the rest to follow suit, she played it safe with a back 5, back 3 followed by a front 3. A consistent first run to kick things off smoothly for the games and her best of the day. She took 5th place in the heat narrowly missing out on a straight to finals spot.
Sina Candrian was second to drop, throwing down a nice nose to tail grab off the cannon. Creative moves like this are what the girls contest is all about! Spencer O’Brien then threw a couple nice backside 5’s in her first run, which were floatier than a butterfly. Waiting to boost out her trademark 7 off the toes during her second run. A sure fire place in the final for the Canadian.
So far it was all about the kickers with most of the girls playing it safe through the upper rail sections. But it was Christy Prior’s turn next… She put down a nice run with a back 180 off the cannon. Tech on the rails will get you points, she is one to watch in the semi’s on Sunday!
The flipping brilliant Aimee Fuller was limbered and ready for her Olympic debut. Smile beaming from under her balaclava. She went for a cannon front 180 out, cab underflip, then her backflip to revert threw her off.. and paved the way for a creative ending. A straight air suitcase (a.k.a. front hand is able to grab the toe edge and hold the board ‘like a suitcase’). Keeping it fun as always! Her second run, a little more consistent but not quite her top form. It’s all about Sundays semi for her too.
Kiwis, Possum Torr (first name Rebecca), threw the first 7 of the comp on her final kicker. Up-ing the ante. Then ‘Triple Torah’ was up next with, as commentator Tim Warwood put it, ‘a smile that could bring about world peace’. We imagine that she smiled all the way down the course as she put down a gap to backlip, nosegrab, boardslide to fakie, fakie 50 50, cab 5, back 3 and front 360. Wow! Not a favourite for a medal in this discipline, but qualifying for the final, she is surely one to watch?
A few misfortunes to follow as, despite Shelly Gotlieb’s impressive first handrail hit, she had to forfeit the kickers and in run 2 she attempted a cab 9, but didn’t quite land (props for trying). Veteran Kjersti Buaas took a mighty toe edge slam and Jenny Jones sketched out on her 2nd run. This course is not for the faint hearted! It’s HARD packed and huge. The TV doesn’t even do it justice, only the slams wake you up to the sheer size of the features…
After throwing a sweet first run, Enni Rukajarvi‘s second was not so lucky. She took a giant knuckle slam, somehow managing to come out unharmed. There she is, above, smiling after the slam. Good sport! Likely because the Finnish rider was still straight to the final thanks to her first run…
Top qualifier from the round, Isabel Derungs run number 2 was a more than impressive couple of minutes, with a boardslide fakie, fakie board, 50-50, 50-50 back 180, switch back 5, backside 720 AND a backside rodeo to finish it off. OH MY WORD. Could she be a medal hope?
So that’s just some of what happened in heat 1, we literally scribbled this down in excitement. What an amazing first heat, all the girls pushing themselves on the course, smiling at the end and representing. Isabel Derungs, Spencer O’Brien, Torah Bright and Enni Rukajarvi all bagged a direct ticket to Sundays final, with the rest of the ladies ready to fight it out in the semi’s. It. is. far. from. over!
Get commenting below on anything we failed to mention or any personal highlights/thoughts from heat 1.
And be sure to follow @CoolerMag on twitter for live updates on Sunday.