WINTER SCOREBOARD: Hall wins Freestyle World Cup Big Air, Britcher and Gustafson wins U.S. Luge titles

U.S. national Luge champion Summer Britcher

The first winter weekend in North America and Europe saw an American take top honors at the Freestyle Big Air World Cup in Italy and Summer Britcher win her second straight national title in Luge. Reports:

● FREESTYLE SKI & SNOWBOARD ● Hall scores first World Cup Big Air win in Modena

American Alex Hall is more of a Freeski Slopestyle guy than a Big Air guy, but he’s happy to try Big Air, as long as the event is in Modena, Italy.

For the second straight year, Hall, 21, won a World Cup medal in Big Air in Modena, but this time he went to the top of the podium. It’s only his third-ever World Cup in Big Air, but he’s now finished 14-2-1 and moved from silver in Modena in 2018 to gold this time.

Jumping seventh in the order in the final, he took control right away, jumping into the lead at 92.25 in the first round, which turned out to be the second-best jump of the entire event.

He added to his lead in the second round with a run scoring 91.75 for a two-best-runs total of 184.00 and that was good enough to win. The best run of the day followed Hall in the second round; Birk Ruud of Norway’s run got 93.25 and he finished second overall at 181.75.

Swiss teen Mathilde Gremaud scored her fourth career Big Air gold with a win in the women’s Freeski division, defending her Modena title from 2018.

In the Snowboard Big Air events on Saturday, Canada’s Nicolas Lafromboise, 19, won his first career World Cup medal – and first victory – after finishing fourth in the Cardrona (NZL) season opener in August.

Teammate Mark McMorris, returning from injury in only his second competition since the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games – and first World Cuo in two years – finished second, 172.50-168.00. Japan’s Reira Iwabuchi was an easy winner in the women’s division, scoring 83.50 and 93.00 for a total of 176.50. No one else scored more than 86.40; that was comebacking Austrian star Anna Gasser on her first run and she finished third to Canada’s Brooke Voigt. Summaries:

FIS Freestyle World Cup
Modena (ITA) ~ 3 November 2019
(Full results here)

Men/Big Air: 1. Alex Hall (USA), 184.00; 2. Birk Ruud (NOR), 181.75; 3. Andri Ragettli (SUI), 176.75. Also: 6. Colby Stevenson (USA), 169.25.

Women/Big Air: 1. Mathilde Gremaud (SUI), 178.00; 2. Giulia Tanno (SUI), 159.50; 3. Dara Howell (CAN), 151.50.

FIS Snowboard World Cup
Modena (ITA) ~ 2 November 2019
(Full results here)

Men/Big Air: 1. Nicolas Laframboise (CAN), 172.50; 2. Mark McMorris (CAN), 168.00; 3. Chris Corning (USA), 166.25. Also in the top 10: 5. Justin Henkes (USA), 155.00.

Women/Big Air: 1. Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), 176.50; 2. Brooke Voigt (CAN), 126.75; 3. Anna Gasser (AUT), 109.75.

● LUGE ● Britcher repeats as women’s U.S. champion in shortened Nationals

Bad weather caused the planned two-day USA Luge National Championships to be shortened to a single day, but that didn’t bother defending champ Summer Britcher, who won her second national title by just 0.006.

Britcher had the fastest first run at the famed Mt. Van Hoevenberg track in Lake Placid, New York at 44.047, ahead of Olympic medalist Emily Sweeney. But Sweeney came back to take the second run, 44.112-44.245 and closed to within 6/1000ths, but that was only good for second.

The men’s race went to Jonny Gustafson, who won his first national title over Sean Hollander, 1:43.522-1:44.039, winning both runs. Eight-time winner Chris Mazdzer has a torn arm tendon and a neck problem and did not race. Tucker West crashed on his first run and did not continue. Summaries:

USA Luge National Championships
Lake Placid, New York (USA) ~ 2-3 November 2019
(Full results here)

Men: 1. Jonny Gustafson, 1:43.522; 2. Sean Hollander, 1:44.039; 3. Zach Digregorio, 1:44.339; 4. Ian Smith, 1:45.414; 5. Keaton Jens, 1:49.920.

Women: 1. Summer Britcher, 1:28.292; 2. Emily Sweeney, 1:28.298; 3. Brittney Arndt, 1:28.621; 4. Ashley Farquharson, 1:29.015; 5. Raychel Germaine, 1:29.222.

● SHORT TRACK ● Korea’s Hwang and Canada’s Boutin each win two at opening ISU World Cup

The ISU Short Track World Cup season opened at the Utah Olympic Oval in Salt Lake City, Utah in the first of two North American meets. The stars were Korea’s Dae Heon Hwang and Canada’s Kim Boutin.

Hwang, the two-time World Champion at 500 m, won the first of the two 500 m events and then took the 1,000 m race. In the sprint, he defeated Russia’s Victor An, the six-time Olympic champion from Korea (2006) and Russia (2014), who has come out of retirement and returned to racing.

In the women’s division, Canada’s Boutin won the second 500 m race and the 1,500 m, defeating Dutch star Suzanne Schulting. The latter came back to win the 1,000 m over China’s Yutong Han, in which Schulting won the Olympic title in 2018.

The World Cup heads to Montreal next week before moving to Japan later this month. Summaries:

ISU Short Track World Cup
Salt Lake City, Utah (USA) ~ 1-3 November 2019
(Full results here)


500 m I: 1. Dae Heon Hwang (KOR), 39.729; 2. Victor An (RUS), 39.961; 3. Shaoang Liu (HUN), 40.006. 500 m II: 1. Dajing Wu (CHN), 39.702; 2. Shaolin Sandor Liu (HUN), 39.732; 3. Abzal Azhgaliyev (KAZ), 39.881.

1,000 m: 1. Hwang (KOR), 1:23.948; 2. An (RUS), 1:24.134; 3. Ji Won Park (KOR), 1:24.228.

1,500 m: 1. Semen Elistratov (RUS), 2:16.025; 2. Dong Wook Kim (KOR), 2:16.118; 3. Alexander Shulginov (RUS), 2:16.138.

5,000 m Relay: 1. Russia (Eybog, Sitnikov, Elistratov, An), 6:43.662; 2. Korea, 6:43.743; 3. Canada, 6:43.883.


500 m I: 1. Martina Valcepina (ITA), 42.603; 2. Yara van Kerkhof (NED), 42.865; 3. Petra Jaszapati (HUN), 42.962. 500 m II: 1. Kim Boutin (CAN), 42.336; 2. Chunyu Qu (CHN), 42.452; 3. Lara van Ruijven (NED), 42.858.

1,000 m: 1. Suzanne Schulting (NED), 1:28.517; 2. Yutong Han (CHN), 1:28.664; 3. Chutong Zhang (CHN), 1:29.621.

1,500 m: 1. Boutin (CAN), 2:22.061; 2. Schulting (NED), 2:22.211; 3. Han (CHN), 2:22.282.

3,000 m Relay: 1. China (Fan, Han, Qu, Zhang), 4:08.746; 2. Korea, 4:08.979; 3. Canada, 4:09.009.


2,000 m Relay: 1. Russia (Eybog, Efremenkova, Prosvirona, An), 2:37.585; 2. China, 2:37.70; 3. Korea, 2:37.817. Also: 4. United States (Aaron Tran, Kristen Santos, Maame Biney, Thomas Hong), 2:39.123.