The American snowboarder took a lead of nearly 10 points with her first run on the incredibly difficult conditions on Mondays final, scoring enough to take the gold with 83.00 and aborting her second run.
Riders Laurie Blouin and Enni Rukajarvi took silver and bronze, with Silje Norendal narrowly missing the podium.
Difficult conditions delayed the start of the women's Snowboard Slopestyle finals by an hour, with some athletes now slamming the staging of the event in high winds and blustery conditions and Austria’s Anna Gasser, describing the event as a "lottery."
The event had been modified from its standard format after high winds forced the cancellation of Sunday afternoon’s two-run qualifying stage, which typically narrows the field to 12 finalists for a three-run final. Instead, a total of 25 entrants competed in Monday morning’s two-run final with the best score counting towards their final position.
“I just kind of tried to stay in my zone, stay optimistic. I knew there was wind, obviously, but who knows when there’s not going to be wind"
The International Ski Federation reacted to claims the event was staged in dangerous conditions, saying in a statement; "The FIS is aware that the weather conditions for today's ladies' slopestyle competition were challenging for the competitors. The first priority for FIS is the safety of the athletes and FIS would never stage a competition if this could not be assured."
These conditions undeniably threw many of the women competing at the Phoenix Snow Park however, with only five of 25 finalists making it through their opening attempt without a fall.
- Jamie Anderson (USA) – 83.00
- Laurie Blouin (CAN) – 76.33
- Enni Rukajarvi (FIN) – 75.38
- Silje Norendal (NOR) – 73.91
- Jessika Jenson (USA) – 72.26
- Hailey Langland (USA) – 71.80
- Sina Candrian (SUI) – 66.35
- Sofya Fedorova (OAR) – 65.73
- Yuka Fujimori (JPN) – 63.73
- Elena Koenz (SUI) – 59.00
Anderson managed to survive the difficult run and, with a score of nearly 10 points on any other competitor, carrying her instantly to the gold medal.
“I’m feeling so happy," Anderson said after the event. “I’ve gone through so much this last year just preparing for the Games and defending the gold is definitely not an easy position to be in.
“The conditions were not ideal but it changes so quick. When we were practising and even earlier this morning when we all got there, it was really bad and they did delay it and did their best. I think there’s a lot of mixed feelings.
“I just kind of tried to stay in my zone, stay optimistic. I knew there was wind, obviously, but who knows when there’s not going to be wind. I think we talked about maybe running in a couple of days, when it may have been calmer. I was kind of down for whatever. I just try to keep it neutral and let the officials make the call."