Le compte rendu FIS (en anglais)
Sildaru dominates in comeback win
The Stubai competition was Kelly Sildaru’s first time back in the bib since spraining her ACL while training at last season’s X Games.
Despite the fact that she was competing with a heavily bandaged hand because of a broken thumb, the 19-year-old Estonian looked to be back in her old form throughout the week, qualifying in second on Friday and then putting down two standout finals runs on Saturday - either of which would have been enough to give her the victory.
On her second run Sildaru started off strong through the jump line with a switch left 1080 mute followed by a switch right 900 tail, and then stepped things up on the rails with a right 270 on to pretzel 270 out, left 270 on to continuing 270 out, a switch on to pretzel 270 out, and finally a right front 270 on to finish things off with a score of 88.68.
“I feel amazing,” said Sildaru after her victory, “The last few years haven’t been easy for me, so to take the win while competing with a broken hand is great. I’m just so stoked, so happy.”
The result was Sildaru’s first World Cup slopestyle win since 2018/19, and it came almost three years to the day that she claimed that previous victory at the very same venue in Stubai.
Second place on the day went to Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), giving the Swiss veteran her second-straight podium to open the 2021/22 season, after she also finished second at the Big Air Chur competition four weeks ago.
Starting things off with a switch double wobble 1080 on the first hit, and throwing down a tidy rail line that included a frontside switchup and a blind 270 on, Hoefflin was solid and stylish through the Stubai course to finish with a score of 80.30 and the 12th podium of her World Cup career.
Third place for the women went to another comeback kid, as Johanne Killi (NOR) made her return to competition just over 10 months after blowing her knee at the Kreischberg big air competition last January.
Always one of the most consistent freeskiers on the planet, Killi looked close to her old form on Saturday, with a switch right tails-over to 270 out into left 270 on to continuing 270 out combo on the first two rails helping her lock down a score of 78.32 and her second podium in a row at Stubai after she claimed runner-up last season.
There was a scary moment in Saturday’s women’s competition when top qualifier Mathilde Gremaud (SUI) crashed in her second run and was airlifted from the course. However, early reports suggest there are no serious injuries for the 21-year-old, and we wish her a speedy recovery.
Ruud’s win highlight of three-podium day for Norway
Killi’s podium was the first of what would be three on the day for the Norwegians, making this the second-straight season that the Scandinavian nation has rolled into Stubai and claimed half the podium spots up for grabs.
However, while last year Norway finished 2-3 in the men’s competition, this season it was Birk Ruud stepping it up a notch to land in top spot with an exceptional, technically explosive display of slopestyle skiing.
Starting things off with a switch left double 1620 mute, Ruud followed that up with a right double 14 safety before beginning his rail line off with a left 270 lipslide continuing 450 out, right 450 disaster to forward, a switch on backslide and finally a heavy switch left 450 disaster to finish things off for a score of 87.60 and the second slopestyle World Cup win of his career.
“My day’s been really good,” Ruud said after the awards ceremony, “My practice wasn’t that good, but I managed to lace up and find my inner focus in the comp. I’m super happy. Really stoked to see all the boys out there killing it. It’s amazing.
“I’m gonna celebrate this one and then get focused on the next one. There’s always a competition coming up, so I gotta keep my head on straight and stay grounded.”
The feel-good story of the day came from Max Moffatt (CAN), as the 23-year-old skied his way to his second career World Cup podium in front of his mom, who had travelled all the way from Canada to watch her son compete.
With a right double bio 14 Japan to left double 14 safety combo through the jumps to kick off his run, and a right 450 disaster to finish it, Moffatt continued his strong start to the 2021/22 season with a score of 86.26 and second place on the podium.
Third place at Stubai for the second-straight season was Ferdinand Dahl, who capped off the big day for the Norwegians with some manic stuff on the rails - including a blender switch left 270 lipslide to 270 out into a right-side superfed on the S-rail combo to finish off his run.
With a score of 86.06 Dahl earned the ninth podium of his World Cup career.
With Stubai in the books it’s now over to North America for the FIS Freeski World Cup Visa Big Air presented by Toyota at Steamboat Resort, which is slated to take place from December 3-4, 2021.