BUKOVEL, UKR, 23 FEB 2013 – The FIS Freestyle aerials World Cup finals took place in Bukovel, UKR on Saturday night under a stunning light set-up and in excellent conditions.
Despite the absence of most of the dominant Chinese team – with skiers Zongyang Jia and Mengtao Xu choosing to go home to celebrate Chinese New Year after having already secured the respective men's and ladies' aerials Crystal Globes prior to the Bukovel event – a strong, if slightly depleted, international field was on hand to battle for points, position, and prestige prior to the upcoming World Championships to be held in Voss, Norway.
On the ladies' side, it was American Emily Cook who was able to capitalize on the absence of perennial powerhouse Xu to take the third victory of her career and first in just over a year with a back full, double full that earned her a score of 83.89.
Cook narrowly edged hometown favoUrite Nadiya Didenko (UKR), whose back full, full earned her a score of 83.16. 3rd place went to Tanja Schaerer (SUI) for the second week in a row, as the 23 year old skier capped a consistent World Cup season that saw her place in the top-10 in all but one event she entered.
World Cup aerials “Rookie of the Year” Kiley McKinnen, also of the USA, finished in 4th place.
On the men's side, it was David Morris (AUS) who stepped up to claim his first-ever World Cup win and his second-ever World Cup podium at the final stop on the 2012-13 tour. The Aussie's performance moved him into 2nd on the aerials overall points list, ahead of the absent Guangpu Qi.
2nd place on the night went to the USA's Dylan Ferguson, whose back full, double full, full earned him a score of 105.31 to Morris' 112.67, and capped the strongest day of the season for the American aerials team. Belarus' Maxim Gustik took 3rd place on the day for his second podium of the season after a win earlier in Deer Valley, while Swiss veteran Thomas Lambert rounded out the top 4.
China's Mengtao Xu and Zongyang Jia claimed the respective ladies' and men's aerials Crystal Globes, despite opting not to compete at the Bukovel aerials World Cup finals
the USA had a strong day, with Emily Cook taking the victory in the ladies' event, and Dylan Ferguson taking 2nd on the men's side
David Morris, choosing to compete at Bukovel instead of skipping the event to train for World Championships like many of his teammates, took the win and moved into 2nd place overall on the men's side
local jumper Nadiya Didenko thrilled the hometown crowd with a 2nd place finish on the women's side, earning her first podium of the season
Maxim Gustik (BLR) claimed 3rd place on the men's side, while Tanja Schaerer (SUI) did the same in the ladies' event