Snowboard competition closed out on Saturday morning at the Copper Mountain World Cup, where blue skies, low winds and an exceptional jump resulted in an oftentimes incredible display of riding by a heavy collection of the world’s best, and when it was all said and done it was World Cup rookie Mari Fukada of Japan […]" />
Snowboard Iskola

Snowboard competition closed out on Saturday morning at the Copper Mountain World Cup, where blue skies, low winds and an exceptional jump resulted in an oftentimes incredible display of riding by a heavy collection of the world’s best, and when it was all said and done it was World Cup rookie Mari Fukada of Japan and Norwegian wizard Marcus Kleveland taking the wins at the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota.

15-year-old Fukada did the unheard of on Saturday, waltzing into her first World Cup finals to face down Olympic medallists, X Games champions and World Cup crystal globe winners, and walk away from it all with a W.

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You could say that Fukada has some World Cup experience, as she took part in training for the Edmonton Style Experience big air World Cup last week. However, the young rider elected to pull out of that competition when she couldn’t dial her speed in on the imposing scaffold jump and was removed from the start list well before the start of the event, meaning that Saturday’s finals in Copper will go down as her first official World Cup start.

Fukada showed no signs of nerves on such a momentous occasion, making a statement on her first run of the competition with a massive switch backside 900 weddle, before putting down a squeaky-clean frontside double underflip 900 on her third and final run to earn a two-run combined score of 155.75 – setting her up with a lead that would not be beat.

Second place with a score of 151.50 went to the USA’s own Hailey Langland, as the 22-year-old earned her first big air World Cup podium in just over six years. Langland kicked things off with one of the highlight tricks of the day – an absolutely huge cab 1080 Indy – before wisely putting down a safety trick frontside 720 melon on run two.

Langland tried to up her second trick to a frontside 1080 melon on run three, and had she stomped it there’s no doubt she would have ended up in first. Instead, however, she slammed heavily, and would instead have to settle for some bruises and second place.

Rounding out the podium in third place was Fukada’s Japanese teammate Miyabi Onitsuka, as the 24-year-old grabbed her first big air podium in almost exactly three years with a two-jump combo of a frontside 1080 weddle and a cab double underflip 900 weddle for a score of 149.75.

With some riders we haven’t seen in the podium mix yet this season ending up in Saturday’s top-3 at Copper, the names atop the FIS Snowboard women’s World Cup rankings did not change this week, with Reira Iwabuchi (JPN) and Jasmine Baird remaining tied in first place with 160 points.



Over on the men’s side of things we witnessed a mind-boggling display of technical snowboarding, with eight out of the 10 finalists stomping a run with a spin of 1620 or higher.

However, the rider that walked away the winner didn’t just rely on the gnarliest rotations currently possible to earn the victory, as Marcus Kleveland instead brought together a combination of brute spinning and purely unique style to what would end up being his seventh career World Cup win and his first big air win in five years.

After falling on his first hit backside 1620 when he went a little too big, Kleveland decided to simply up the ante on run two, putting down a backside 1800 Indy (with a sneakily stylish nollie butter pop on the takeoff) straight to bolts.

With his big spin in the bag, Kleveland brought out something truly special on his third and final run of the day, stomping a physics-defying nollie double frontside rodeo 1440 tailgrab. It’s a trick that likely no one else in the world can do, and certainly not in the finals of heavy-hitting World Cup.

With his 1800 scoring 93.25 and his nollie dub 1440 earning him a 91.00, Kleveland’s two-jump score of 184.25 would put him nearly 12 points clear of his nearest competitor.

“It was for sure a bit nerve-wracking not getting my first run” Kleveland smiled from the finish area after finals, “The practice was really good, the jump was running really nice the whole day. I’m super happy to do the backside nollie-ish 18, and then the frontside nollie double 14 as well. Two kinda new tricks for me which I’m super stoked on and yeah, it’s been a good day.”

Second place for the second-straight competition went to the USA’s Chris Corning, who lead his day off with an absolutely massive backside triple cork 1800 melon, before putting down a new trick in run two – a switch backside triple 1620 weddle to stalefish.

While Corning was certainly expecting a better result than the 80.25 he scored on the second trick, his two jump score of 172.50 and his second podium in as many weeks have solidified the fact that he is very much back amongst the top tier of big air snowboarders, after going nearly three years without a BA top-3.

Finally, third place on the day went to another World Cup rookie, as Italy’s Ian Matteoli made good on the promise he showed after earning first place in qualifications on Thursday. Matteoli once again put down the highest scoring trick of the day – a frontside 1800 weddle to tail grab – and then backed that up with cab 1440 indy for a score of 160.00 and a podium in his very first big air World Cup start.

Matteoli’s performance on Saturday was a historic one, as not only did the 16-year-old establish himself immediately as one of the most explosive snowboarders on the World Cup circuit, but he also became the first Italian ever to earn a big air World Cup podium.

As with the women, there were no changes at the top of the men’s World Cup leaderboard, with Australia’s Valentino Guseli continues to hold onto the yellow leader’s bib for both big air and Park & Pipe overall after finishing 11th at Copper. However, with his runner-up result, Corning has closed the gap to just four point on the big air rankings, with 160 points to Guseli’s 164.

Best trick honours – and a cool $2500 – would go to Julia Marino on the women’s side for her third run cab double cork 1080 nose grab, and Kleveland for the nollie madness he pulled off in run three.

With Copper in the books it’s now time to break for the holiday season. We’ll return to action in the new year for the fourth and final big air competition of the 2022/23 World Cup season, coming to you from 13-14 January in Kreischberg (AUT).