Cardrona, New Zealand (8 September 2018) – The FIS Snowboard World Cup Big Air provided a spectacular finale to the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ snow sports schedule at Cardrona Alpine Resort today. The USA’s Chris Corning was able to celebrate a gold medal win on his 19th birthday, while Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi claimed the ladies’ gold medal at the 2018/19 World Cup season opener.
Conditions were once again clear and calm, setting the stage for some jaw-dropping action on the 75-foot jump. Competitors each had three runs, with their best two jump scores combined to determine the medal placings. As well as a FIS World Cup, today’s competition was also sanctioned as a World Snowboard Tour Elite International Event.
At the end of the first run Corning was sitting in second place having put down a tidy flat spin 1440 for a 90.60, while 2018 Junior World Champion Takeru Otsuka held the lead with a score of 95.6 for his cab 1620 indy.
Corning laid it all on the line on run two with a backside quad 1800 melon grab, the biggest trick of the day, which had his fellow competitors cheering and landed him a score of 98.00 to take the lead.
Otsuka’s frontside triple 1440 mute on run three was enough to secure him the silver medal but there was no stopping the birthday boy Chris Corning who upped his score on run three with a frontside 1440 chicken salad for the win.
“I couldn’t ask for a better birthday,” said Corning. “I haven’t done the quad since the Olympics and I’ve had a bad taste in my mouth since that (where he finished fourth). I’ve been thinking about doing it and when I landed my first trick I knew I had two chances to go for it.”
Norway’s Mons Roisland claimed World Cup bronze, recovering from a crashed landing on run one to land a switch backside 1620 mute on run two for a score of 93.6, and a backside triple 1080 mute on run three with a score of 81.8.
Top qualifier in the ladies’ field, Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi held the lead from her very first run, when she landed a backside 720 mute grab. A frontside 720 mutegrab on run two and the gold medal was all hers.
“I did what I wanted to do and I’m really happy,” said Iwabuchi.
Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN) and Klaudia Medlova (SVK) battled hard for the silver medal, PyeongChang silver medallist Medlova initially in front with a score of 85.6 for her backside 540 indy on run one and Onitsuka scoring 80.00 for her cab 900 stalefish. A stomped backside 720 mute grab on her third run had Onitsuka leapfrog in to second place, with Medlova only just getting her frontside 720 mute grab down but taking the bronze medal.