FREESTYLE SKI & SNOWBOARD: Snowboard sweep for Japan in Modena

Japan's Snowboard star Reira Iwabuchi (Photo: Yonhap)

The 2018-19 World Cup season in Europe for Big Air for Freestyle and Snowboard got started in Modena (ITA) over the weekend with a powerful display by Japanese snowboarders.

In the men’s Big Air, it looks like Takeru Otsuka, 17, collected his second World Cup medal and first World Cup win of his career with two superb runs that scored 90.25 and 96.00 for a total of 186.75. Corning, 19, who was fourth in the Big Air contest at the PyeongChang Games, had the first-round lead at 92.50 and repeated that score in the second round for a total of 185.00, just short of Otsuka’s total.

“I think Takeru and I are going to battle it out all season,” said Corning. “It’s going to be fun season for both of us. He rode really good today and I couldn’t put it all together so he won fair and square, but I’ll be coming for him next time.”

The women’s competition was a re-run of the season opener in New Zealand back in September, with Reira Iwabuchi and Miyabi Onitsuka going 1-2 with Olympic gold medalist Anna Gasser (AUT) in third. Iwabuchi, just 16, was competing in just her sixth World Cup event ever and won her fourth medal. In her six starts, she’s only been lowered than fourth once!

In the Freestyle Big Air event, Norway’s Birk Ruud came from behind in the third round to score 87.50 and pass American Alex Hall for the win. Ruud scored 90.75 in the second round to get close to Hall’s first-round effort of 91.25; those were the only two 90+ scores of the day. But Hall was only able to muster a 86.25 mark for his final run and ended up second by 178.25-177.50.

It was Hall’s second career World Cup medal and first in Big Air. Ruud won his third career World Cup medal, but first outside of Norway.

Swiss Mathilde Gremaud won the women’s Freestyle Big Air, earning a medal for the third straight World Cup season and her second win. Summaries:

FIS Freestyle World Cup
Modena (ITA) ~ 3-4 November 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Big Air: 1. Birk Ruud (NOR), 178.25; 2. Alex Hall (USA), 177.50; 3. Andri Raggetli (SUI), 173.75; 4. Fabian Boesch (SUI), 172.74; 5. Henrik Harlaut (SWE), 171.75. Also: 9. Colby Stevenson (USA), 100.00.

Women’s Big Air: 1. Mathilde Gremaud (SUI), 172.50; 2. Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), 160.25; 3. Kea Kuehnel (GER), 159.00; 4. Elena Gaskell (CAN), 146.00; 5. Lara Wolf (AUT), 124.50.

FIS Snowboard World Cup
Modena (ITA_ ~ 3-4 November 2018
(Full results here)

Men’s Big Air: 1. Takeru Otsuka (JPN), 186.75; 2. Chris Corning (USA), 185.00; 3. Kalle Jarvilehto (FIN), 179.75; 4. Ruki Tobita (JPN), 174.25; 5. Marcus Kleveland (NOR), 170.50.

Women’s Big Air: 1. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 166.50; 2. Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN), 165.00; 3. Anna Gasser (AUT), 159.50; 4. Lia-Mara Boesch (SUI), 145.25; 5. Silje Norendal (NOR), 130.75.