Hall Second At Modena World Cup Big Air
Twenty-year-old U.S. Freeski Team member Alex Hall (Salt Lake City, Utah) wrapped up the FIS Freeski World Cup big air in Modena, Italy, with a second-place finish Sunday. Norway’s Birk Ruud won the event, while Swiss Andri Ragettli rounded out the podium in third.
“I’m so hyped to get on the podium today,” said Hall, who scored his second career World Cup podium. “The level of riding was insane, so it’s an honor to be on the podium. Also, the vibes were all time!”
For the women, the gold and silver medalists from PyeongChang Olympics wasted no time getting back on the podium this season with Swiss freeskiers Mathilde Gremaud and Sarah Hoefflin first and second respectively, while Germany’s Kea Kuehnel was third.
After failing to make the big air finals in the opening World Cup of the season in Cardrona, New Zealand, Hall was on a mission in Modena. He landed a switch double cork 1440 with a very unique seatbelt cuban double grab that was rewarded by the judges. Hall was in the top spot going into their second round of three jumps. After a fall and a jump not scored in the second round, Hall landed a double cork 1620 opposite tail grab which put him in second place where he would remain to close out the competition.
First-year U.S. Pro Freeski Team member Colby Stevenson (Park City, Utah) finished ninth overall and put up some incredible highlights when he pulled a double cork 1440 with two grabs, which he learned in training the day of the competition. He landed this trick flawlessly but unfortunately missed his grabs slightly on both attempts. Although Stevenson didn’t end up on the podium with a fall on his third run, it was a positive step in the right direction moving into the 2018-19 season.
“I just learned that trick today, so I’m really happy to put it down,” said Stevenson. ”I learned it right here on the scaffolding before finals so I’m blown away.”
U.S Freeski Team members Caroline Claire (Manchester Center, Vt.) finished ninth, and just missed advancing to the finals, while U.S. Rookie Team member Mac Forehand (Winhall, Vt.) finished 22nd overall. Americans Quinn Wolferman (Missoula, Mont.) and Ryan Stevenson (Washington, N.J.) finished 31st and 41st respectively.
The crowd was not disappointed in Modena. With technical and innovative tricks including multiple triple corks, a nose butter takeoff from Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut; pre grab take-offs from Kai Mahler (Switzerland); double grabs and even a mid-air inverted pretzel from Jesper Tjader (Sweden) - as described by freeskiing legend and U.S. Freeski Team Ambassador Tom Wallisch. Also, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (Canada) kept it fun throwing it back to freeskiing roots with a huge corked Cossak on his third and final run.
Competition continues for the U.S. Freeski Team at the Stubai, Austria, World Cup slopestyle Nov 22-24. The U.S. Snowboard Team athletes will move onto Beijing, China, for the air & style big air World Cup event Nov 23-24. Both teams then head to Copper Mountain, Colo. for the first halfpipe competition of the season at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Dec. 6-8, which also serves as a FIS World Cup event.