The USA dominated today in Wanaka as two-time Winter X Games 14 Gold Medalist Bobby Brown and Jamie Crane-Mauzy made history as the first freeski slopestyle world champions at the 2010 FIS Junior Snowboard & Freestyle World Championships.
Bobby Brown led the day from the start, qualifying with a solid first run which featured a massive double cork 1080 off the 70 foot kicker. In the finals an almost flawless first run featuring a switch rail slide with a 450 out into a cork 900 tail grab into a switch 900 mute grab, double cork 1080 finishing with a misty 450 out a rail, put him nine points in the lead. However, that lead was closed on the second run by freshly inked Armada Skis rider Gus Kenworthy (USA) but Brown held onto the title with an impressive 45.1 score. Jonas Hunziker of Switzerland skied up into third place, taking the final spot on the podium.
“It was a super fun day and it’s awesome to be standing on the podium next to one of my best mates, Gus Kenworthy,” said Brown. “The introduction of freeskiing into FIS is going to be interesting. It’s great to have freeskiing at this event and it’s a good way to excel our sport.”
In the women’s event, Jamie Crane-Mauzy qualified over 11 points ahead of her nearest rival, Blake Peterson (17), also of the States. In the finals a fall in her first run put her to the bottom of the table but her second run which featured a rail slide to back cross to 360 mute followed by a front flip truck driver, finishing with a rail slide, enabled her to just beat Canadian Keltie Hansen to the win by 0.4 points and take the world title. Fellow American, Devin Logan, rounded out the podium.
Mauzy truck drives her way to a world championship – Photo by: Bel Jones
“My goal was to land my run – I knew if I could do that I would do OK,” said Crane Mauzy. “It feels so good to be world champion!”
All three native New Zealanders finished in the top 10 – Byron Wells in fifth, Hamish McDougall in seventh and Matt Johnson in ninth.
Dean Gosper of FIS said it was a great compliment to the event that there was such a high caliber field and a broad cross section of athletes with the wider selection of events has attracted a very exciting field.
“NZ should feel complimented by the level of excitement within FIS about this event, he said. “FIS is very excited by New Zealand’s initiative to not only to host the first world championships in the Southern Hemisphere but also the first combined discipline world championships. The integration of the two sports provides a wonderful opportunity in competitive snow sports. They can sit comfortably side by side with a high cultural overlap and there is also a good level of respect between the disciplines. We see the Junior World Championships as the beginning of a closer working relationship between the disciplines at all levels of FIS.”
With regards to the possibility of snowboard and freeski slopestyle and freeski halfpipe entering the Olympics, Gosper commented, “There is a high level of interest from spectators and media so there’s a strong pull from the outside for these events to come to the Olympics rather than an internal push from the sports. The fact that the terrain is complimentary to these disciplines is also a very attractive feature – they’re exciting, contemporary and commercially attractive and can be delivered efficiently- these are very persuasive arguments to an organization like the IOC.”
The FIS Junior World Championships continue tomorrow with the snowboard halfpipe qualifiers at Cardrona Alpine Resort.