New Zealand, new season: Snowboard World Cup gets underway this weekend
SUMMIT COUNTY — The 2019-20 International Ski & Snowboard Federation World Cup snowboard season will begin this weekend at a World Cup big air event in Cardrona, New Zealand.
The event will mark the anniversary of last August’s World Cup big air event in Cardrona, where Silverthorne’s Chris Corning became the first snowboarder to land a quadruple-cork 1800 — four inversions and five 360-degree rotations — in a World Cup competition. The trick and Corning’s victory in Cardrona propelled the 19-year-old to his second consecutive FIS Snowboard World Cup season championship.
“I am excited to be back in New Zealand,” Corning, who now splits time between Summit and Eagle counties, said in a U.S. Snowboard release. “I hope to bring home a win again. The jump is usually pretty great, and if the weather holds out, it should be a good contest.”
The World Cup big air event will be part of Winter Games New Zealand, with qualifiers slated for Saturday and finals on Sunday.
U.S. Snowboard announced Tuesday that fans will be able to watch Saturday’s qualifying round at 6 p.m. Mountain Time on the Olympic Channel and at OlympicChannel.com. You can also view the action on the U.S. Snowboard Team’s YouTube page at Youtube.com/user/fissnowboardchannel/videos.
U.S. Snowboard also announced in the release that Olympic slopestyle gold medalist Red Gerard, 19, of Silverthorne, is scheduled to compete at the World Cup big air event, though it’s worth noting Gerard opted for slopestyle competitions rather than big air competitions for the majority of last season. Gerard followed up his 2018 Olympic gold in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with slopestyle victories last winter at the Burton U.S. Open in Vail and at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain.
Fellow American riders scheduled to compete include Luke Winkelmann of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, who is trained by Summit County-based coach Chris Waker; Lyon Farrell of Hawaii; and Storm Rowe of Vermont.
“We are excited to be back on snow down here in New Zealand,” Dave Reynolds, U.S. Snowboard slopestyle and big air pro team head coach, said in the release. “We have a small but very capable crew out here with four out of our top five ranked riders competing.”
The World Cup snowboard season will continue Nov. 2 with the second big air competition of the season, the Modena SkiPass in Italy. The third big air World Cup event is slated for Nov. 29 and 30 in Beijing while the halfpipe season will kick off at Copper Mountain Resort from Dec. 12 to 14.
The first slopestyle World Cup event of the season is scheduled for the Laax Open (an event Corning won last season) in Laax, Switzerland, from Jan. 13 to 17.
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The Meadow Mountain venue provided a more authentic ski mountaineering race atmosphere, according to organizers and competitors, which the recreation district had not been able to achieve in its on-resort races at Beaver Creek.