August 5, 2010
The Volkl New Zealand Freeski Open kicked off Thursday with a stellar field of international riders vying for a spot in Friday’s slopestyle semi-finals and finals at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
And once again, the bar is being raised as the top qualifiers unveiled right-side double corks to complement the more common left-side double corks that are becoming a must-do trick to advance in world-class competitions.
The top qualifiers were successfully combining the two tricks in a single run, a progression that only began to emerge toward the end of the 2010 Northern Hemisphere season.
Christopher Laker (US), Vincent Gagnier (CAN) and Charles Gagnier (CAN) were the top three qualifiers to advance to tomorrow’s semifinals.
“If the Gagnier brothers have to go through qualifying, that tells you how strong the field is this year,” said Chief of Competition, Nick Draxl.
The Gagnier’s will be chasing defending champion and X-Games Gold Medallist Bobby Brown, as well as Wanaka’s Byron Wells and Australia’s Russ Henshaw, among other top riders who were pre-qualified and will likely feature in both the semi-finals and finals.
Taylor King was the lone New Zealander to advance from today’s qualifiers, finishing in sixth, but he’ll be joining other top New Zealand riders in Friday’s finale. Kiwis Matt Soundy and Beau-James Wells narrowly missed the cut.
“The park at Cardrona is in great shape, and we had excellent weather this morning,” added Draxl. “Everyone is looking forward to an epic day tomorrow.”
The Women’s semifinals begin at 9:20am, followed by the Men’s semifinals, the Women’s finals, and at 2pm the Men’s Finals.
For more info: http://www.snowsports.co.nz/.
Here are the top 12 qualifiers for Mens Slopestyle, their country and their overall score:
1 Christopher Lake, USA, 74.75
2 Vincent Gagnier, CAN, 74.50
3 Charles Gagnier, CAN, 69.75
4 Nick Goepper, USA, 67.00
5 Erik Hughes, USA, 66.75
6 Taylor King, NZL, 66.50
7 Maks Gorham, USA, 66.50
8 Jonas Hunziker, SUI, 62.75
9 Toni Höllwart, AUT, 62.25
10 Patrick Baskins, USA, 60.25
11 David Ortlieb,, SUI, 58.00
12 Kai Mahler, SUI, 55.25