Jaxin Hoerter of Breckenridge podiums at Winter Games New Zealand
What a start to the 2019-20 ski season for Breckenridge born-and-raised local Jaxin Hoerter.
The 19-year-old member of the U.S. Rookie Halfpipe Team skied to third place in the halfpipe at the Winter Games New Zealand on Wednesday at Cardrona Alpine Resort.
Of the dozens of halpipe freeskiers who dropped into the 22-foot-high Cardrona pipe Tuesday, Hoerter qualified in first place with a score of 91.00. Hoerter achieved that top qualifying score by lacing together a five-hit run through the pipe beginning with a left-side flair, followed by a right-side 720 with a safety grab, into a switch-left 720 with a mute grab, then a right-side 900 with a Japan grab before capping the run with a left-side 900 with Hoerter’s stylish truck driver grab.
Then on Wednesday, Hoerter, who dropped in last of the 10 finalist skiers thanks to his top-qualifying score, held the lead for two out of three runs. Hoerter took hold of the competition on his first of three runs with a score of 83.33. He earned that mark with a five-hit run through the pipe that began with a left-side flair with a tail grab, into a right-side 720 lead with a trail grab, followed by a switch left-side 720 with a mute grab, then a right-side 900 with a Japan grab before finishing off the run with that left-side 900 with a truck driver grab.
Hoerter was joined on Wednesday’s final round podium by runner-up and fellow U.S. rookie halfpipe skier Cassidy Jarrell of Aspen (85.33) and champion Bingqiang Mao of China (87.66). Both Jarrell and Mao usurped Hoerter’s score on their third and final runs of the competition, with Mao winning the event with a five-hit run through the pipe that began with back-to-back massive tricks: a left-side double-cork 1260 with a safety grab and a right-side 1080 with a tail grab.
The 2019-20 season will be Hoerter’s second consecutive season on the U.S. Halfpipe Rookie Team. Last year, Hoerter reached new heights with a top five finish among freeskiing’s best, including American Aaron Blunch and New Zealand’s Nico Porteous, among others, at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain.
Hoerter likely will compete next on the Summit County home front at the opening FIS World Cup freeski halfpipe event of the season, the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain Resort from Dec. 20-21.
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