Sweden’s Thorgren and Austria’s Gasser win big air in Beijing
At the famous Bird’s Nest Beijing Olympic stadium in Beijing, China, on Saturday, Silverthorne local Chris Corning finished off the podium at the Air + Style Beijing World Cup big air snowboarding event when he narrowly missed executing his trademark quad-cork 1800 on his final run.
It’s a trick he landed at a World Cup big air event in Cardrona, New Zealand, earlier this year, which requires him to rotate five full 360-degree horizontal rotations while also inverting on his vertical axis four times. On Saturday on the slick stadium big air jump in Beijing, Corning completed all of his rotations and inversions but came up short on the landing. As a result, the 19-year-old Corning finished in ninth place on Saturday, though he still remains in second place for the International Ski and Snowboard Federation’s season-long snowboard World Cup competition, behind his fellow international teen star Takeru Otsuka of Japan (2,600 points to 2,090).
It was Sweden’s Sven Thorgren who won the men’s competition on Saturday with a total score of 184.00 after he came back from injury. In the women’s competition, Anna Gasser of Austria picked up yet another big air win with a final round score of 182.25.
American snowboarding icon Shaun White was in attendance at the event as he is the owner of Air + Style. The six women finalists began the competition with a bang as four of the six competitors stomped double corks (two inversions on their vertical axes) and all six also landed their first jumps. Gasser took the lead after the first round with a backside double cork 1080 (three horizontal rotations) that earned her a score of 94.00 — the highest scored women’s jump of any of the night.
On the second run for the women, Gasser landed her signature double underflip, essentially clinching victory heading into her final jump.
“I’m really happy to win this one,” Gasser said to reporters in Beijing. “Usually I start with my double underflip but tonight I switched it up and went with the back 10(80) so I would have two tries for the cab double, and it worked for me.”
Despite struggling in the final on Saturday night after qualifying in the lead, Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi remains wearing the yellow big air World Cup leaders bib for the women after three season events.
In the men’s competition, Thorgren entered the 11-rider final as the top qualifier, an impressive accomplishment considering this was his first competition back after a lengthy break due to a serious shoulder injury.
Dropping last in the first run of three in the final round, Thorgren landed a backside 1440 with a nose grab that put him in second place behind Max Parrot of Canada.
At the end of the second of three runs in the final, Japan’s Takeru Otsuka was in first place. Then on the third and final run, Thorgren stomped a frontside triple cork 1440 with a mute grab that earned him the highest score of the men’s competition, a 93.75, leading to that best two-out-of-three final round total of 184.00 for the overall victory.
“It feels unreal,” Thorgren said. “I haven’t landed the triple frontside 1440 ever in a competition, and having it all come down to the last trick … I’m just happy I put it down.”
Following the competition, Otsuka took over the solo season World Cup rankings lead with his second-place score in Beijing of 176.25. Going into the event, he and Corning were tied atop the leaderboard. The International Ski and Snowboard big air World Cup series takes a break and returns next in March with the Quebec Snow Jamboree.
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American riders invited to compete in X Games from Jan. 29-31, who have continuously tested negative while in mandatory quarantine in Austria, are expected to compete at the event later this month in Aspen.