Snowboard Iskola

Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 11.02.46 AMThe second and final big air World Cup competition of the 2021/22 season went down on Saturday at the Visa Big Air presented by Toyota at Steamboat Resort (USA), where Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi climbed to the top of a World Cup podium for the first time in two seasons with the women’s win, and Su Yiming (CHN) made history by becoming the first Chinese rider ever to win a big air World Cup with a mind-blowing performance in the men’s contest.

The perfect weather that had blessed us in Steamboat all week continued through Saturday’s finals, and while firm conditions on the landing of the big jump proved to be tricky for some of the riders, and the end of the day we saw some phenomenal snowboarding go down.

Iwabuchi back on top of big air podium

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The 2018/19 and 2019/20 big air crystal globe winner and a five-time big air World Cup winner before Saturday’s competition, Iwabuchi is no stranger to the top of the BA podium. However, she had struggled somewhat in her previous two big air World Cups, with a fourth place last season in Kreischberg (AUT) and a seventh at the season opener this year in Chur (SUI).

On Saturday in Steamboat she was back on top of her game, stomping a frontside double cork 1080 indy on her first hit, and then rising to the occasion on her third and final run to stomp a backside 1260 melon to leapfrog Anna Gasser into top spot with a two-jump combined score of 178.25.

“I was super nervous before I dropped for my third run,” said Iwabuchi before the awards ceremony, ”I couldn’t breathe before I started. But I’m so happy to land the double 10 and the back 12. I haven’t landed those two runs together in finals before so I’m so stoked. The women are getting to another level before the next Olympics, so I’m just doing my best.”

The backside 1260 would also earn Iwabuchi women’s “Best Trick” honours and an extra $2500 for her efforts.

As mentioned, all-time great Gasser would have to settle for second behind Iwabuchi, after opting for what is considered by her lofty standards to be something of a safety combo, with a backside double cork 1080 melon and her patented cab double underflip 900 weddle grab giving her a score of 148.00.

Third place on the women’s side was Annika Morgan (GER), who made a bit of history both for herself, with her first career World Cup podium, and for German snowboarding, by earning the first-ever women’s big air World Cup podium for her nation. Stomping a super stylish cab double underflip 900 and a backside 1080 melon, Morgan finished with a score of 132.25 and a place in the record books for her efforts.

Su comes through with historic big air win

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The history-making theme continued on the men’s side of things, as 17-year-old Chinese phenom Su Yiming pulled off what is certain to rank among the greatest achievements yet for snowboarding in his nation by earning the first-ever podium in either big air or slopestyle for a Chinese rider, and earning that podium in the form of an emphatic victory.

Not only that, but by stomping a backside triple cork 1800 indy and a frontside 1800 tail grab for a score of 155.15, Su became the first rider ever to land 1800s two ways in FIS competition – announcing to the world that he is very much in the medal conversation come time for Olympic competition on his home soil at Beijing 2022.

“It feels incredible,” an emotional Su said from the finish area, “I still cannot believe this just happened. I’m really hyped to ride with all the boys, they killed it. And even the jump was so nice. This feels incredible cause when I started snowboarding I was always watching these people, the guys videoing like Mark McMorris. I have so much respect for them. They make me want more and more. I’m hyped to ride with them.”

Second place behind Su went to Austria’s Clemens Millauer, as the 26-year-old put down a backside double cork 1620 tail grab and a switch backside 1620 nose grab that were both oozing in style for a score of 139.50 and his first World Cup podium in just over three years.

Rounding out the men’s podium in third place was Mons Roisland (NOR), as the burly Norwegian came out of the gate hard with a frontside triple cork 1800 tail grab that would win him the men’s “Best Trick” award on the day. Paired with his backside triple cork 1440 indy on run two, Roisland would finish with a score of 134.00 and his sixth career World Cup podium.

With Steamboat wrapped up, the FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe World Cup will stay on in Colorado for halfpipe action at Copper Mountain, with qualifications going down on December 9th and finals on the 11th.