Cardrona Big Air to Kick-Off Snowboard World Cup Season
U.S. Snowboard Team athletes will compete in the first FIS World Cup big air event of the season this week in Cardrona, New Zealand Aug 23-24.
U.S. Pro Team riders Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.), Luke Winkelmann (Blowing Rock, N.C.), Lyon Farrell (Haiku, Hawaii), Red Gerard (Silverthorne, Colo.), and American Storm Rowe (Jamaica, Vt.) are all scheduled to compete.
“I am excited to be back in New Zealand," said Corning. “I hope to bring home a win again. The jump is usually pretty great and if the weather holds out it should be a good contest. Being in a contest after the summer can always be more nerve-wracking than one in the middle of the season, but I’m looking forward to it.”
Big air will serve as one of the marquee events in the Winter Games NZ program, which also hosts freeski, alpine, and cross-country competitions. It has become a tradition to kick off the freeski and snowboard World Cup competition season in the southern hemisphere. Last year, on Corning’s 19th birthday, he stunned the crowd and his fellow athletes with a perfectly stomped backside quad-corked 1800 melon grab on his second run. That was the first time the trick was landed in World Cup competition. Corning’s performance earned him the top spot on the podium. His teammate and PyeongChang Olympic big air silver medalist Kyle Mack (West Bloomfield, Mich.) just missed the podium, finishing fourth.
Corning is coming off yet another impressive season where he earned his fifth and sixth FIS Crystal Globes in March by winning the snowboard slopestyle and overall titles. He is certainly a favorite this weekend, but there are plenty of contenders ready to put up a fight including teammate and Olympic gold medalist Gerard. Gerard also had a successful season last winter taking home the gold at the 2019 Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, as well as at the 2019 Burton U.S. Open Slopestyle finals. In addition, first-year pro team member Luke Winkelmann is searching for his first World Cup podium. U.S. Snowboard slopestyle and Big Air Pro Team Head Coach Dave Reynolds is excited about the team he has on the ground in New Zealand.
“We are excited to be back on snow down here in New Zealand,” said Reynolds. “We have a small, but very capable crew out here with four out of our top five ranked riders competing. We don’t get many on snow big airs (vs. scaffolding) and the crew is pumped to get the first big air of the season in the books.”
While this weekend’s original schedule called for qualifications on Saturday, Aug 24, and finals on Sunday the 25th, a winter storm front approaching means that that is all very likely to change. The one window of good weather projected for this weekend appears to be for Friday, Aug 23, when blue skies and mellow winds are expected. With this forecast in mind, organizers and officials have decided to move qualifications up to Friday. And while hopes are high that a fitting finals will be able to go down sometime between Saturday and the Monday weather day, there is the distinct possibility that those qualification results may have to stand in as official results should finals not be possible.
Don’t miss your chance to watch the first snowboard World Cup event of the season. Tune in on the Olympic Channel to catch the action live.
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST
Subject to change
Saturday, August 24
8:00 p.m. - World Cup men’s and women’s big air - Cardrona, New Zealand - Olympic Channel-TV & OlympicChannel.com