Sadowski-Synnott beats Anderson to repeat as snowboard slopestyle champ
If Jamie Anderson is looking for her successor as the queen of women’s slopestyle snowboarding, there is little question Zoi Sadowski-Synnott can handle the crown.
The 30-year-old Tahoe superstar and 19-time Winter X Games medalist — the most among women — finished second to Sadowski-Synnott in Friday’s world championship final at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen. Only six weeks earlier, it was Anderson who edged the now 20-year-old from New Zealand at X Games.
“Everyone wants gold, but I feel honestly so happy. I gave it my all,” Anderson said. “We’ve been kind of battling all year and that last run she put down was flawless, so I knew right away she had the W. I’m genuinely really happy for her, and I’m happy for me and Tess and all the girls.”
Sadowski-Synnott scored 85.95 on her third and final run after crashing on her first two runs to edge Anderson’s first-run score of 81.10 for gold. Australia’s Tess Coady, also 20, won bronze with the 78.13 she scored on her second run.
This was the second straight slopestyle world championship for Sadowski-Synnott, although this one was maybe more satisfying. Her win two years ago in Utah came after she led qualifying and the finals were canceled because of weather. She also led after qualifying this week in Aspen, but was able to back it up in finals. The Kiwi even won slopestyle silver at worlds in 2017.
“I was really wanting to get ahead of her this time around,” Sadowski-Synnott said of Anderson, who beat her in both contests this year, those being X Games and the Laax Open. “I fell on those first two runs and I was pretty bummed, but I knew if I landed my run I’d have a good chance of taking the top spot.”
Finishing just off the podium in fourth was Finland’s Enni Rukajarvi (77.90) and in fifth was Japan’s Kokomo Murase (77.08). Austria’s Anna Gasser, the reigning Olympic big air champion, was sixth (76.96), Germany’s Annika Morgan was seventh (70.16) and New Zealand’s Cool Wakushima was eighth (67.81).
Among Sadowski-Synnott’s other notable wins are the 2019 U.S. Open in Vail and X Games Aspen 2019, both for slopestyle. She won Olympic big air bronze in 2018. More recently, she won Travis Rice’s Natural Selection Tour stop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, the legendary big mountain rider’s new backcountry competition.
“This whole season has been so crazy,” Sadowski-Synnott said. “I never expected to have done what I’ve done this year. But coming off Natural Selection, I’ve been on such a high and having so much fun snowboarding and training.”
Sadowski-Synnott also will compete in the big air contest at worlds but doesn’t plan to compete in next week’s Grand Prix as she’ll head to Alaska to instead compete in the next stop of the Natural Selection Tour.
“The future is in good hands,” Anderson said of Sadowski-Synnott. Anderson also competed at Natural Selection. “Zoi has been such a little boss. I remember meeting her when she was probably 15 in New Zealand and we shared a podium together and she was really such a sweetheart and she’s been riding so well.”
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Warm and dry conditions to start the winter have kept all but the higher elevation slopes free of snow. That is expected to change by the end of the week and the avalanche hazard could start to climb, according to Colorado Avalanche Information Center.