On Thursday 22 March, the resort of Tignes hosted the floodlit final of the Ultimate Ears Freestyle Tour: the final stage of the ski halfpipe World Cup 2018.
On Thursday 22 March, the resort of Tignes hosted the floodlit final of the Ultimate Ears Freestyle Tour: the final stage of the ski halfpipe World Cup 2018. This has taken place in France for the last 4 years and, according to the athletes, is one of the nicest, most welcoming contests on the circuit.
The stakes of this gathering couldn’t be higher with this final competition of the season deciding the winners of the Crystal Globe (1st on the World Cup circuit) in both the men’s and the women’s categories.
The best skiers in the world were in attendance and amongst them were 6 Pyeongchang Olympic medal winners! At the end of an intense final it was the American Alex Ferreira and Canadian Cassie Sharpe who would crown their season with the highly sought after Crystal Globe in front of a charged up crowd of 10,000 people.
But the real star of the show was the French skier Marie Martinod, the two-time Olympic silver medallist, who finished her career with a magnificent 2nd place (for the stage) just behind Sharpe.
® Nico Schlosser
1 - BOWMAN Noah (CAN) - 94.20
2 - FERREIRA Alex (USA) - 92.20
3 - D'ARTOIS Simon (CAN) - 89.20
4 - IRVING Birk (USA) - 88.80
5 - SEATON Taylor (USA) - 88.40
6 - KRIEF Thomas (FRA) - 87.40
7 - PORTEOUS Miguel (NZL) - 86.60
8 - BRIGUET Robin (SUI) - 84.80
9 - WISE David (USA) - 60.80
10 - PORTEOUS Nico (NZL) - DNS
1 - SHARPE Cassie (CAN) - 90.40
2 - MARTINOD Marie (FRA) - 90.00
3 - SIGOURNEY Brita (USA) - 88.40
4 - MARGULIES Carly (USA) - 87.20
5 - BOWMAN Maddie (USA) - 85.60
6 - SUZUKI Saori (JPN) - 80.00
® Nico Schlosser
10 skiers lined up in the starting gates for the Tignes Superpipe. A 180m-long beast, 21m wide and 7m high requiring 45,000m3 of snow as well as 500 working hours on two machines to deal with the huge snowfalls in recent weeks.
They had 3 runs to prove themselves, the best run counting towards the final results.
Although the Olympic champion, American David Wise, started as the favourite after a 1st place qualification Wednesday 21st March, the tone changed dramatically over the course of the evening. Wise couldn’t put down any of his runs and even took a heavy slam on his 2nd run (he finished 9th).
A doorway had opened up to the other competitors and in this race to victory was 2018 Olympic runner-up, Canadian Noah Bowman, who stepped up and took revenge on Wise. After an impressive rise to power, he finished on an explosive 3rd run decorated by an extraordinary
switch alley oop dub 900 that justified his 94.20 points and earned him top spot on the podium for the stage.
The always consistent American, Alex Ferreira, bagged his best score of 92.20 points on the 1st run. Even though he couldn’t get past Bowman on the night, this performance was enough to stay at the top of the 2018 overall standings, lifting the Crystal Globe for the first time in his fledgling career.
In 3rd place was the Canadian Simon d’Artois who made mistakes in his 1st and 3rd runs but put down a really nice 2nd run of 89.20 points.
2 other outstanding performances this evening came from the American Taylor Seaton whose style, amplitude and execution won over the jury (he finished in 5th place with 88.40 points from his 1st run) and that of the Frenchman Thomas Krief, back after 2 years of injury. He finished just behind Seaton in 6th place. Although he’s a little bit behind the top three technically due to his lack of experience in recent seasons, Krief still proved that he has regained his confidence and that he’s back on the international scene. Perhaps he owes this to his coach for the night: the multi-medal winner Kevin Rolland (out due to injury) who replaced the trainer from the Freeski Project Greg Guénet who was suffering at the end of this week.
6 women went through from the qualifiers yesterday. Just like the men, they had 3 runs to shine in the final.
Even though the crowd were totally behind Marie Martinod (an astounding one voice Marseillaise during her 1st run), Canadian Cassie Sharpe didn’t want to give anything away in this last World Cup event of the season. She put down a solid 1st run with perfect execution and a good combination of tricks including a lovely cork 10 at the end of the course. With 90.40 points, she took the top spot in this contest, the overall season standings and with it, her 1st Crystal Globe.
Despite her best efforts, American Britta Sigourney relinquished her 1st place in the overall standings she held when arriving in Tignes at the start of the week. Her 2nd run earned her 88.40 points, taking her to 3rd place on the podium.
This evening, the local skier Marie Martinod was the queen of the night…She leaves the circuit with huge honour. Her 3rd run and last of her career clocked up 90 points, just .40 behind Sharpe. Although she regrets that her coach, Greg Guénet couldn’t be there for her salute, she must have listened to the astute advice from Kevin Rolland who encouraged her on her trick choices and supported her right up the last
® Nico Schlosser