The second Obsidian challenge went down today, with 31 of the world's top freeskiers and snowboarders battling it out in the Park Challenge in a custom built rail garden at Cardrona.
An epic throwdown saw all four teams getting equal parts technical and creative to impress the judges and try and get ahead in the Obsidian challenge. The Park Challenge format went back to the roots of freeskiing and snowboarding, utilising a knockout format.
After each ten minutes elapsed, the lowest ranked athlete was dropped off the leaderboard and out of the competition. Once the top four athletes were left on the board, they battled it out for 20 minutes trying to out-do each other and claim the top spot.
Although Team Europe had some phenomenal performances today, Team Americas retained their lead. Alex Hall, Beijing 2022 Freeski Slopestyle gold medallist, led the charge for Team Americas taking the men’s freeski category win, stomping technical tricks, finding creative lines and transferring onto the rails in unique ways.
The snowboarders were up first today, with a tightly contested competition. We saw Cool Wakushima (Team Oceania), Annika Morgan and Mia Brookes (both of Team Europe) battling it out right to the end. Wakushima was throwing down huge inverted tricks off the whale's tail rail, but current Snowboard Slopestyle World Champion Brookes was in a class of her own, claiming the top spot.
In the men’s snowboard category Sven Thorgren (Team Europe) took the win. Thorgren was a crowd favourite, with enthusiastic spectators cheering him on from the chairlift overhead. His teammate Nicolas Huber was working hard to give his team the best chance, carrying snowboards and skis for his teammates to help them get extra laps on the course.
After the snowboarders session, Team Europe and Team Americas were tied for first place, with 39 points apiece. It was the freeskiers turn to drop in, and after watching their snowboard teammates compete they were frothing for their turn in the rail garden.
In the women’s freeski category, Team Oceania’s Ruby Star Andrews had an absolute standout performance. She took the lead within the first ten minutes of the jam, and remained at the top for the duration, with no one able to beat her creativity and technical skills on the rails.
Andrews explained; “I love this format because you get to choose any feature and any trick. It's a jam so it's not nerve wracking, you just get to ride with your mates and have a great time. I have been loving the team vibe, everyone is cheering each other on at the top and everyone is super hyped, it was a great session!”
The men’s freeski category was an absolute showdown, with the athletes combining their incredible technical skills with insane style, pushing each other further and further with every run.
Hall and his team mate Max Moffatt worked together, strategising ways to get the most points from the judges. A shout out to Gen Fujii from Team Asia who threw some mind blowing tricks on the whale's tail rail, to the delight of the crowd.
After today’s Park Challenge Team America retained their top spot on the leaderboard with Team Europe in second place, just seven points behind them. Team Oceania is sitting in third with 66 points and Asia in fourth with 83 points.
Up next is backcountry freestyle challenge, likely to be held on Wednesday 13 September, the final decider of which team will take home the Edgar Challenge Trophy.