Farrell, Winkelmann Lead U.S. Charge at World Cup Big Air Qualifier
Lyon Farrell (Haiku, Hawaii) led four U.S. Snowboard Team riders in the qualifying round at the opening FIS Snowboard World Cup big air of the season at Cardrona Alpine Resort in New Zealand Friday.
Farrell qualified third, followed by Luke Winkelmann (Blowing Rock, N.C.) in sixth, Red Gerard (Silverthorne, Colo.) seventh, and 2018-19 FIS Snowboard overall champion Chris Corning (Silverthorne, Colo.) in ninth.
“I feel great,” said an elated Farrell. “I was so stoked to put my first run down. I had a hard time in practice and almost missed my run, but was able to put it all together when I dropped in. Also, I could not be happier to see all my teammates ride well and make it through. I’m looking forward to hopefully getting finals in the books this weekend.”
Under a blue sky with virtually no wind, Farrell secured his place in finals by putting down a beautiful backside 1620. First-year U.S. Snowboard Pro Team rider Winkelmann landed both of his runs, gradually improving throughout the competition. This is a great trend for the pro team rookie heading into the first World Cup final of the season.
“It feels super good to get that contest rust out of the system,” said Winkelmann. “It’s always nice to land both of my runs at the first contest of the season. Also, it’s insane that there are three other U.S. riders heading into the finals. No other country got more than one, so really excited to ride with my teammates and make a run at the podium. My strategy is to mainly have fun with it and hope to put down another couple of solid tricks.”
Olympic gold medalist Gerard put the pressure on by falling on his first run, and in a very rare scenario, found himself sitting 28th heading into his second run. On Gerard’s final opportunity, he put his clutchness on display and earned a top-10 score. Corning, who was arguably the favorite coming into the event, landed a solid first run, but it would only be good enough for ninth place. Corning, who won the event last season, will need to put together two strong runs in the finals to catch the competition.
American rider Storm Rowe (Jamaica, Vt.) landed his first backside triple cork in a contest and finished 11th, just missing finals by one position. Rowe held is own in a diverse international field of 35 athletes. Safe to say the future is bright for this young rider.
Finals are scheduled to take place on Saturday, Aug 24. Tune in on the Olympic Channel to catch the action live.
HOW TO WATCH
*All times EST
Subject to change
Friday, August 23
5:15 p.m. - World Cup men’s and women’s big air - Cardrona, New Zealand - Olympic Channel-TV & OlympicChannel.com