Americans Chloe Kim, Chase Josey sweep Laax Open halfpipe podiums
LAAX, Switzerland – With perfect weather in a perfect halfpipe, Americans dominated the Laax Open on Saturday, Jan. 21, which also served as the first 2017 stop of the FIS World Cup tour. Chloe Kim of Torrance, California and Chase Josey of Hailey, Idaho earned the wins for the women and men, respectively, while Laax Open 2016 winner Arielle Gold of Steamboat Springs took second for the ladies. Gold is also a pro rider for Unity Snowboards, the 27-year-old manufacturer based in Silverthorne.
After winning the season opener at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain in December, Kim made it back-to-back World Cup wins by taking top honors in Laax. She now leads the FIS halfpipe rankings and isn’t expected to slip from the top anytime soon. Kim is absolutely dominating the competition: her winning run at Laax was almost exclusively switch, featuring only one frontside spin — and it was a soaring 1080.
“I’m so stoked that I was able to put down some good runs today,” Kim said of her win at Laax. “I couldn’t be any happier.”
Gold also had an impressive showing in Laax and looks to build on the excellent results she gathered during the 2016 season. The two American ladies were joined on the podium by Xuetong Cai of China in third.
“I’m super excited,” Gold said after the event. “I had a bit of a rough practice — I only landed one run — so being able to put down my third run means a lot to me, especially after falling in my first two runs. The fact that it put me into second was the icing on the cake… This pipe is perfect, and it caters to going big. So I’ve been enjoying putting on a good show.”
On the men’s side, it was a huge win for Idaho rider Josey, who claimed his first World Cup victory with a run that included five consecutive doubles, two of which were back-to-back switch doubles. This technical prowess earned an enormous score of 97.75.
“My third run was just full throttle,” Josey said after the comp. “I just went for it. I gave it everything I had and I was fortunate to land it. It worked out for me today.”
Josey also earned a podium at the U.S. Grand Prix in Copper with a third-place finish and now leads the FIS points list for halfpipe. Joining Josey on the podium were Australia’s Scotty James in second and reigning Olympic halfpipe champion Iouri Podladtchikov of Switzerland in third.
Other highlights from the Laax Open, where a whopping seven American snowboarders made the men’s and women’s superpipe finals:
- Kim’s winning runs at a glance: 90.50 on her second run with a frontside 1080 tail, Cab 540 stalefish, switch backside 540 mute, Cab 720 stalefish.
- Josey’s winning run at a glance: 97.75 on his third run with a frontside double cork 1080 stalefish, switch double crippler Indy, switch double Michalchuk melon, cab double-cork 1080 mute.
- Gold took third with a score of 86.50 on her third run.
- Veteran Kelly Clark took fourth for the women, while Ben Ferguson of Oregon took fifth for men, Matt Ladley of Steamboat Springs took seventh, Greg Bretz of California took ninth and Rocky Mountain native Jake Pates of Eagle took tenth.
Up next for U.S. athletes is X Games Aspen from Jan. 26-29, where invited riders will compete in big air, halfpipe and slopestyle. Most events will be broadcast live on ESPN. Check back with the Summit Daily for results and photos throughout the weekend.
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