The final event of the 2023 FIS Park and Pipe Junior World Championships went down today with the Big Air Finals. After qualifiers the expectation was high, and the athletes did not disappoint, laying down hugely technical tricks.
It was an amazing day, with perfect weather and a world class jump allowing the junior athletes to show the world their talent. The thrilling day started with the freeski finals for the women and men who had qualified through on Sunday.
Linshan Han of China was initially the one to beat after stomping double cork 1080 mute grab on her first run, but Flora Tabanelli of Italy (slopestyle silver medallist from slopestyle) answered back swiftly with her own massive double cork 1080 rotation.
Combined with her first run score, she was unbeatable and was crowned the champion today. Tabanelli explained; "It feels really good, I am really happy. I hope to continue with these results into the 2024 Northern Hemisphere season."
Tabanelli was joined on the podium by Linshan Han in second place and Ruyi Yang in third place, both of China.
The men's freeski finals were dominated by one athlete from the get go - Leo Landroe of Norway. Claiming the two highest scores of the day, he was untouchable from the moment he dropped into run one. This was also Landroe's second 2023 Junior World Championships podium, he also claimed bronze in Slopestyle earlier in the week.
Landroe was understandably stoked after his win, saying; "It feels amazing, it was so much fun to ski today, I am super happy. Landing the triple cork 1800 mute grab was my favourite trick, and today was just the third time I have ever done this trick. I was nervous but then I was so happy when I landed!"
The men's freeski podium was rounded out by Matthew Lepine of Canada and Fadri Rhyner of Switzerland, for whom this was also his second podium at this Junior World Champs.
Up next we saw the snowboarders in action, with the women dropping in first. It was a hard fought battle for the women's podium, with the women pushing each other to their limits.
Emeraude Maheux of Canada was crowed the Junior World Champion today. Despite coming into finals as the sixth overall qualifier out of the 12 women in finals, Maheux showed she had the nerve and the quiver of tricks to rise to the top come time for the main event.
After stomping a big switch backside 720 Weddle on her first run, Maheux wasn’t able to put her frontside double cork Indy down clean in run number two. However, with her final run of the 2023 JWCs the 17-year-old stepped up and stomped that trick down, adding a score of 87.25 to her 81.75 from run one for a total of 169.00 and the gold medal.
Maheux explained, "It feels great. So happy I landed that run. It was a really good day. Stressful but fun and landing the frontside 900 was my favourite trick today!"
Eun Seoung You of Korea finished in second place, with Kiara Morii of Japan rounding out the tightly contested podium in third.
Taiga Hasegawa of Japan, who is the current overall men's snowboard big air world champion, was the favourite today to win the men's finals.
He started off his finals with a statement trick, putting down a near-perfect cab 1620 frontside grab for a score of 92.00 that had him well in the lead after run one. However, after washing out on the landing of on run two, Rocco Jamieson of New Zealand was holding the top spot after the second of three runs.
After Jamieson's third and final run he remained in the top spot, but with six riders who had qualified into finals ahead of him still to drop, it was a nervous wait. The final athlete of the day Hasegawa dropped in and stomped a regular frontside 1620 frontside grab, giving him a dominant big air gold.
Jamieson finished in silver medal position, in the biggest podium results of his young career, with Italy's Ian Matteoli rounding out the podium in third.
And with that, the 2023 FIS Park & Pipe Junior World Championships were in the books, showing that the next generation is ready to set the world alight and setting the stage for the season to come.