Zoi Sadowski-Synnott has continued her dominance in women’s snowboarding, claiming the win last weekend at the FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup in Edmonton, Canada, in a star-studded field.
Big Air 2022 Olympic silver medallist Sadowski-Synnott was the top qualifier into the finals on Sunday, qualifying almost 20 points ahead of her nearest competitor.
After an uncharacteristic fall in her first finals run, Sadowski-Synnott was calm and collected as she dropped into her second run.
She stomped a switch backside 1260 with a tail grab, to the delight of the crowd, the commentator and her team.
The judges shared the sentiment and rewarded her with a whopping 97.25 for the trick, the highest score of the day in both the women and men’s competition.
With her third and final run to go, Sadowski-Synnott had only one high-scoring jump on the board.
No stranger to pressure, she took it in her stride and put down a huge backside double 1080 with a melon grab, scoring a 86.00 from the judges.
‘‘Managing the pressure going into run two, I knew I could land the switch back 1260 and just had my fingers crossed for the back 1080,’’ she said.
‘‘I have done that trick [back 1080] a lot of times, all the girls were riding so well, and it motivated me to put it down when it mattered.’’
The two tricks combined gave Sadowski-Synnott a huge score of 183.25 out of 200, a score which was untouchable by the last three athletes to drop in.
‘‘I am super stoked to take the win today,’’ Sadowski-Synnott said.
‘‘It’s the first comp of the season for me so it feels good to go into the first one and come away with the win.’’
Reigning snowboard slopestyle world champion, 16-year-old Mia Brookes of Great Britain, finished second. Two-time big air Olympic champion Anna Gasser of Austria rounded out the starstudded podium in third.
The weekend’s result continues Sadowski-Synnott’s incredible podium streak, which has seen her finish on the podium at every event she has dropped into for the past three seasons.
Fellow New Zealander Lyon Farrell (Arrowtown) competed in the hotly contested men’s final after qualifying in 10th place from the semifinals held earlier today. Farrell, hunting for a podium finish, gave his hugely technical backside 1800 two attempts, but unfortunately came unstuck on the landing both times and had to settle for ninth place.
The day before, Luke Harrold, 15, claimed the silver medal at the FIS Freeski Halfpipe World Cup at Secret Garden Resort in China.
The event marked the Lake Hawea teenager’s world cup debut and the first top-level competition of his young career.
‘‘It’s crazy. I can’t put words to it, coming here and getting silver is a massive dream,’’ Harrold said.
‘‘My goal was just to land my run and leaving with a silver medal, well it’s a silver lining.’’
Two-time freeski halfpipe Olympic medallist Alex Ferreira took the win, while fellow American Hunter Hess rounded out the podium in third.
Beijing 2022 freeski halfpipe Olympic champion Nico Porteous (Wānaka) was back in the bib for the first time since his history-making performance almost two years ago at the same venue.
After a crash on his first run, Porteous laid down a creative run, putting down a line that included a stylish carve into the left wall.
Porteous combined this style with his trademark hugely technical left and right double cork 1620s, and despite not landing cleanly, he showed he is back in competition form.
Fin Melville Ives (Wānaka, 17) finished in sixth place, equalling his best world cup result.
Melville Ives delivered a gutsy performance after crashing on his first run.