Cardrona, New Zealand (31 August 2018) – FIS Junior World Championship titles were awarded in Freeski and Snowboard Slopestyle today, on day eight of competition at the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ at Cardrona Alpine Resort. Japan dominated the Snowboard competition with gold medals won by top qualifiers Takeru Otsuka and Kokomo Murase. Freeski gold medals were won by Sweden’s Oliwer Magnusson and Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru.
13-year-old Murase, who won gold in Big Air earlier in the week, had her second Junior World Champs title in the bag with her very first run, stomping back to back 720s for a score of 90.20 and the win.
“Today’s competition was really hard and all the girls brought their A Game and were trying to land hard tricks. So it was difficult for me but it was a lot of fun,” said Murase.
It was a close call for second and third, Germany’s Annika Morgan finishing just 0.4 points ahead of Sommer Gendron (CAN).
“I’m so happy right now,” said Morgan.
Gendron was also “pretty stoked” to be backing up her silver medal in Big Air with bronze in Slopestyle.
NZ’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who qualified in second place, came in to today’s competition ready to lay down a new run combination but a crash in training gave her shake up and she never really found her feet, sketching the rails on run one and then going too big on her backside 900 and not making the landing.
In the men’s Snowboard final, Otsuka was smooth and technical through the rail section and laced up the win with stomped back to back 1260s for a top score of 95.40 on his second run of three.
“I am very stoked to get a second gold medal,” he said, having also claimed the Big Air title earlier this week. “Yesterday I wasn’t very happy with my run (in qualifying) but today was so good with my jump section.”
Dutch riders Niek van der Velden and Casper Wolf rounded out the podium in second and third respectively.
The women’s freeski podium came down to a tussle between trick execution and ground-breaking trick progression.
Kelly Sildaru laid down three outstanding runs with near perfect execution, all scored in the 90s, but it was her first run of the day and score of 95.2 that won her the JWC title.
“I’m so happy. It’s been really hard coming back from injury. I’m so happy I’m able to ski and compete again.”
Russia’s Anastasia Tatalina saved her best for last, scoring a 90.00 on run three for second place after landing the first ever double cork 1260 mute grab in women’s freeski competition. The judges rewarded her for progression but it did not top Sildaru’s trick execution.
Japan’s Kokone Kondo landed the bronze.
The judges had their work cut out for them deciding the men’s freeski podium with the top three competitors laying down world cup standard runs. The scores were close but Magnusson was the standout, showing a variety of well-held grabs, a unique line through the rail features utilising the lollipop feature, and a perfectly executed left double 1440 tail on the final hit.
Magnusson explains how the competition played out for him:
“The first run I had bad speed and landed short and didn’t do the trick I wanted, the second run I landed everything but not as clean I wanted and then I cleaned it up on the third run so I’m feeling really great.”
Sebastian Schjerve (NOR) was second and Kim Gubser (SUI) third.