A hugely successful Calgary Snow Rodeo came to a close on Sunday morning at Canada Olympic Park with a highly-charged FIS Snowboard slopestyle World Cup competition, where a pair of first-time World Cup victors were crowned as Laurie Blouin thrilled the Canadian fans with a win on home soil in the women’s competition and Tiarn […]" />
Snowboard Iskola
Blouin and Collins take World Cup wins at Snow Rodeo slopestyle in Calgary

A hugely successful Calgary Snow Rodeo came to a close on Sunday morning at Canada Olympic Park with a highly-charged FIS Snowboard slopestyle World Cup competition, where a pair of first-time World Cup victors were crowned as Laurie Blouin thrilled the Canadian fans with a win on home soil in the women’s competition and Tiarn Collins of New Zealand lead the way for the men with an impressive performance.

Blouin takes maiden World Cup win on home soil

While she won slopestyle gold at the Sierra Nevada 2017 world championships, took silver the following year at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, and had seven career World Cup podiums coming into competition in Calgary, 23-year-old Blouin had never stood atop the World Cup podium until Sunday, when it all came together under near-perfect conditions on Canadian soil.

As the top qualifier, Blouin had the honour of dropping last on Sunday, and stomped a clean first run that would hold up as the best through all other riders’ second runs. However, instead of a cruising through a victory lap, Blouin dropped in and stepped it up a notch, to the Snow Rodeo fans’ delight.

Starting things off with a frontside 180 on to halfcab off on the down rail, Blouin put down a smooth back lipslide, and a 50-50 frontside 360 tailgrab off on the up-rail to finish off the rail sections. Then through the jumps she dropped a crippler indy on the “shark fin” feature, into a backside 720 melon, and then a perfect frontside 900 tailgrab over the final kicker to bump her score up to 79.56 for the career-first.

“It’s crazy,” Blouin smiled from the finished area, “I’m really stoked to get my first World Cup win here Calgary. I didn’t have to up my score, but I really wanted to do the frontside 9 so I was like ‘Might as well go full on.’ Today was just so nice. I mean, every time I drop I still think ‘Just go have fun’ and I had that same mindset today. It’s so nice that we have a World Cup in Canada. The last one was in Quebec and we’re not going to have it anymore, so it’s nice that there’s an international contest in Canada.”

Second place went to Silje Norendal of Norway, who made a strong return to World Cup competition after injuring her shoulder at the Beijing Air +Style Big Air World Cup back in December. Riding smoothly all day, what Norendal’s first run lacked in blockbuster tricks it more than made up for in perfect execution and stomped landings, and her score of 75.68 would give her her first slopestyle podium since she took second at the Utah 2019 world championships last season.

In third place for the women was 2019/20 World Cup yellow bib-wearer Katie Ormerod of Great Britain, for her fourth-straight slopestyle podium of the season – and her fifth altogether when you factor in big air. The epitome of consistency this season, Ormerod was able to stomp her signature double wildcat on the final hit of her second run for a score of 68.71.

Ormerod now has 2600 points with just one slopestyle World Cup left to go in the season, next month in Spindleruv Mlyn (CZE), though Blouin has closed the gap to just 400 points, as the Canadian now has 2200 points on the year.


Collins caps epic week in Calgary with his first major contest victory

In the men’s competition, Tiarn Collins finally returned to the sort of slopestyle form he was showing two years ago, before a crash in training at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games resulted in a separated shoulder and a long road back to the World Cup podium.

Collins’ only career slopestyle World Cup podium before Sunday came just before PyeongChang at Aspen Snowmass in January 2018 – where he took third – but in Calgary he bettered that result in a significant way.

With the exceptional Charles Beckinsale-built course and the excellent weather offering near-perfect conditions, the men’s field was pushing hard for the podium throughout the day. However, riding at the edge often leads to mistakes, and there many small bobbles here and there that lead to reduced scores up and down the startlist.

Collins, however, was able to bear down and stomp the run he wanted without so much as a hand touch on his second go-around, kicking things off with an unreal switch backside 270 on to pullback on the downrail, then a frontside boardslide through both rails of the transfer set-up, and then a cab 270 on 450 off on the up-rail to close out the top section.

On the shark fin he dropped a super-stylish switch backside 900 mute, into a backside 1260 melon, and finally a cab double 1440 nosegrab, holding on through the snowsnakes in the landing to ride away clean for a score of 80.50 and the win.

“I just had the best day, cruising along, snowboarding, and I walked away with the win,” the 20-year-old Collins grinned from the finish area, “I just really wanted to land that run, that’s what I came here to do, and it paid off. I had two years off of slopestyle competition because of my shoulder, but I’m back riding comps this season and this is a good way to get back into it for sure.”

Second place went to top-qualifier Ruki Tobita of Japan, who looked like he might be on his way to topping Collins with his final run of the day, but came up short when he lost speed before the final jump.

Still, with a first run that included one of the gnaliest rail sections of the day and a massive backside 1260 mute on the final hit, Tobita would take his second runner-up result of the season, while moving into top spot on the men’s slopestyle World Cup leaderboard with 1616 points. Collins, meanwhile, moves into second overall, with 1340 points.

Third place belonged to a young man making just his fourth World Cup start, as 16-year-old Liam Brearley of Canada’s Next Gen team continued what has been a breakout season with his first World Cup podium.

Brearley recently earned medals in all three of the slopestyle, big air, and halfpipe competitions at the Lausanne 2020 Youth Olympic Games, and with his score of 76.58 and a World Cup third place on Sunday suggests that he’s now ready to run with the big dogs, too.

With Calgary in the bag, the FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe World Cup is all but finished for the season, with only the slopestyle World Cup finals left to close things out in the Czech Republic from March 20-21.



Source: FIS Snowboard
Photos: Rich Hagerty/Canada Snowboard