COPPER MOUNTAIN, USA, 12 JAN 2013 – In the bitter Colorado cold, with temperatures reaching -20c, the best slopestyle skiers in the world took to air and metal yesterday at the FIS US Freeskiing Grand Prix at Copper Mountain.
With 40 women and over 120 men competing, the Copper stop featured one of the biggest fields you're likely to see in any FIS Freestyle event.
In ladies' competition it was Keri Herman (USA) who owned the day, setting an early standard with a clean jib line followed by a switch 720 into a perfect switch 540, with a right-side 540 tail grab on the final jump to cap off her winning run. Herman's run was enough to best the smooth style of Dara Howell (CAN), whose clean corked 720 to rodeo 540 on the final two jumps looked like they might be enough to bump her into the lead. Anna Segal (AUS), rounded out the top 3 in a competition that did well to showcase the rapidly progressing world of ladies' slopestyle skiing.
In something of a surprise result, the host Americans were completely held off the podium by a strong international field at the Copper event, as a Brit, an Aussie, and a Canadian went 1-2-3 on the day.
It was James Woods (UK) who took the win, utilizing bib number one and the last-run honours that go along with it to drop in and drop the best run of the day to finish off the entire weekend. Woods' run was a lesson in technical competition skiing, and by the time he stomped his right-side double cork 1260 truck driver-grab over the last jump he had completed some 12 full rotations on his way through the Copper park.
It was Woods' second win of the World Cup season, as he also took the opening slopestyle event Ushuaia, ARG, in September. Bold, brash, and insanely talented, Woods looks like the one to watch as the qualifying period continues towards Sochi 2014.
Coming in 2nd was the powerful and consistent Australian skier Russ Henshaw. He was followed up by 18 year old Canadian Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, who took not only 3rd place but also “Trick of the Day” designation for his switch double-corked 900 truck-driver grab (in which the skier begins backwards, spins 2.5 times while flipping twice, and grabs both his skis while he's at it).
With the caliber of skiing on display and the rate of progression slopestyle bears witness to at every new event, there seems to be no doubt that the sport is going to make a big splash in its Olympic debut in 2014. Get familiar with these athletes now, because come February 2014, some of these are going to be household names.
FULL LADIES' RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE
FULL MEN'S RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE