The Air + Style Beijing 2019 Big Air World Cup is over and it’s safe to say that we witnessed incredible snowboarding and most likely one of the best big air competitions of all time. This all went down in the new venue that will host Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in just over two […]" />
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Onitsuka and Parrot win Air + Style Beijing 2019

The Air + Style Beijing 2019 Big Air World Cup is over and it’s safe to say that we witnessed incredible snowboarding and most likely one of the best big air competitions of all time. This all went down in the new venue that will host Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games in just over two years. At the end of the day it was Japan’s Miyabi Onitsuka taking the women’s victory and Max Parrot of Canada returning to the site of his last World Cup action before stepping away from competition to battle cancer taking victories in the groundbreaking event.

The new Beijing Big Air venue

Set to be the host venue for Olympic big air competition in just over two years time at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, the Shougang Park jump is without parallel in the world – a permanent big air structure that can be shaped and adjusted like no other before – and the riders on hand responded with some heavy performances on what is now arguably the best big air jump in the world!


Bottom qualifier Onitsuka storms finals for victory

She barely made it to the finals as the eighth place qualifier in the women’s event, Onitsuka announced that she wouldn’t be messing around come finals time with the very first hit of the competition, where she stomped a perfect backside double 1080 to get the proceedings underway.


Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN)

As the other riders put down their tricks through the rest of run one, Onituksa recognized the level of competition that she was taking part in and stepped it up in her second hit, landing a frontside double cork 1080 mute that she had only put down one previous time in her life, just over a month ago in Saas Fee. With two jumps landed and in the books, Onitsuka went into the final run of the day holding the lead amongst the world’s very best riders with a score of 165.00, giving her the honours of dropping in last in the competition according to the new rule for this season that reorders the finalists for the final run.

When neither Anna Gasser (AUT) nor Laurie Blouin (CAN) could put their final attempts down cleanly, all that was left for Onitsuka to do was send herself off the big Beijing jump one more time and ride home to her victory.

“The level of riding was so high and so good that all the other girl’s riding pushed me tonight to change my normal finals run,” Onitsuka said through a translator, after the awards ceremony, “I was going to do a cab 900, but I had to go out of my comfort zone and put down a brand new trick in the finals. I’m really thankful to the other girls to push me to this level.”

The winner of the previous two Air + Style big air World Cups, Anna Gasser would have to settle for second at this season’s event with a score of 158.00 for her back double cork 1080 melon and cab double cork 900 mute two-jump combo. Meanwhile, Blouin would finish in third place, earning a score of 155.75 for a cab double 900 mute and her own version of the frontside double cork 1080 mute.


Anna Gasser (AUT)

Parrot closes the circle with Beijing win

On the men’s side of things it was a result that could not have been scripted any better, as Max Parrot returned to the location of his last World Cup competition before he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer last year to simply do the incredible by taking the win on a night when the world’s best were riding at an outlandish level.


Max Parrot (CAN)

Parrot had been a standout through every practice session on the Beijing jump, but still came into finals as the sixth-overall qualifier. However, Parrot is a competitor without parallel in the world of snowboarding, and with his first finals run he stomped a cab triple 1620 indy that was clinical in its perfection.

In his second run he one-upped himself, putting down the frontside triple cork 1620 that he alone in the world is capable of doing, with even cleaner execution than the cab triple. The judges responded by running his two-jump score up to 186.00.

Still, that score had him only one point ahead of last year’s Air + Style Beijing winner Sven Thorgren (SWE), who had 185.00 on the strength of his backside 1620 stalefish and frontside triple cork 1440 mute. Thorgren would try to up the score on his 1620 on his final hit but ultimately would fall just short, leaving Parrot with a win that was nothing short of inspirational.

It was Parrot’s second win in two events since returning to competition post-cancer treatment, after he took the victory at the X Games Norway big air in August, and the significance of his ability to compete at such a level after undergoing what he did was not lost on the 25-year-old.

“I got Norway under my belt, and that kind of confirmed that I was back, but everything is kind of different now,” Parrot said under the lights of the finish area, “I really live more day-by-day now, and I feel like much more of a warrior than I did before. And now I’ve made it two out of two since I’ve come back, so I’m pretty stoked on that (laughing). Let’s keep it going! The jump was really amazing and I’m really stoked to be able to put down the front triple 1620 in competition. I think I’m maybe the first one who’s ever done that. I’m stoked to progress the sport again and I’m going to try to keep on doing that.”



And now, to give you an idea of the level of competition that went down on Saturday, see that we’re at the end of the recap and only just now mentioning the fact that Chris Corning (USA) became the first rider ever to land a quad cork on a city jump, when he stomped a perfect backside quad 1800 melon on his second hit. At 97.75 points it was the highest-scoring jump of the evening and “completely insane” according to Parrot’s interview after the competition, but still, when combined with his final hit frontside 1440 melon, would only give him a score of 181.25 and third place on the evening.

Corning and Reira Iwabuchi would finish the day wearing the yellow big air World Cup leader’s bibs after three competitions so far.

Riding the high of Beijing, the world’s best big air snowboarders will head back across the Pacific to the USA, when the Land Rover US Grand Prix Atlanta Big Air World Cup is waiting for them at Atlanta’s Sun Trust Park. The competition will go down from December 20-21.

Check out the full Beijing results.

Check out the women’s winning runs Onitsuka / Gasser / Blouin & men’s winning runs Parrot / Thorgren / Corning.

Source: FIS
Photos: Buchholz/FIS Snowboard