Good weather aids Winter Games

Last updated 05:00 24/08/2013

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Day nine of the Winter Games saw more bluebird skies at Cardrona for the FIS Freestyle Skiing World Cup Slopestyle qualifying. 

A total of 16 men and eight women progressed to tomorrow's finals, drawn mostly from the United States and Scandinavia.

They include the reigning men and women's overall champions on the AFP World Tour, American Gus Kenworthy and Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen of Norway.

The men's final features the four best freeski slopestyle athletes in the world - Nick Goepper (USA), Russ Henshaw (AUS), James 'Woodsy' Woods (GBR) and Kenworthy - plus 11 of the top 20 from the 2012-13 AFP World Tour, reaffirming the Association of Freeskiing Professionals' decision to award this event Platinum Level sanctioning.

Kenworthy was consistently excellent scoring 91.20 and 86.20 on his two runs.

Joining him and the rest of the top four in the men's final are fellow Americans McRae Williams (who scored highest overall with 92.60), Lyman Currier and Willie Borm, Sweden's Henrik  Harlaut, Jesper Tjader and Oscar Wester, Norwegian skiers Per Kristian Hunder, Johan Berg and Oystein Braaten, Antti Ollila from Finland, Canada's Noah Morrison and Benedikt Mayr from Germany.  

Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen was the first woman dropping in and immediately stamped her mark on the comp with a score of 89.00 that only she was able to beat with a stomping second run of 90.6. 

Lisa Zimmermann from Germany qualified second with 87.40 followed by USA's Devin Logan who continued her great form after winning halfpipe gold on Saturday with a first run score of 81.40.

Other women qualifiers, in order of best scores, are Eveline Bhend (SUI), Dania Assaly (CAN), Maggie Voisin (USA), Dara Howell (CAN) and Anna Vincenti (GBR).

New Zealand's Anna Willcox-Silfverberg finished 19th from 22 skiers. No Kiwi men made their final. Jossi and Beau-James Wells finished ninth and 27th respectively out of 28 skiers in heat two.

Beau-James stuck both his runs and looked impressive but Jossi took a fall off the last kicker of his first run which he thought may have damaged his gear causing him to lose a ski half way through his second.

Byron Wells did not compete at the Games due to injury but the future looks bright for  youngest brother Jackson who finished his first ever World Cup event in the top half of heat one just weeks after turning 15, the minimum age for FIS World Cup competitors.

Meanwhile, New Zealand Paralympian Adam Hall achieved a career first when he won a second gold medal at the IPC Adaptive Slalom World Cup series at Coronet Peak yesterday, reinforcing his gold medal win in the same event yesterday.

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Conditions for the World Cup race on the Rocky Gully Race Arena were hard and slick with 19 of the 42 competitors knocked out of the race in the first run on the demanding 50-gate course.

Tyler Walker of the USA blitzed the men's sitting category winning in 1.41.00 ahead of teammates Heath Calhoun, ranked 18th, in 1.53.69 and 17th-ranked Jasmin Bambur in 1.55.75. 

New Zealand's Corey Peters, ranked 37, had to make a recovery on both runs on gates close to the finish line and was placed fifth overall in the sitting section, following his silver medal win yesterday.

The men's visually impaired world number one, Spain's Yon Santacana Maizetegui and his guide Garces Galindo, displayed their top class form with a clear win in 1.35.06 ahead of world number 17, Alessandro Daldoss and his guide Davide Riva, in 1.48.83.

It was back-to-back gold medals for USA's Stephani Victor in the women's sitting category. 

The world number four skied two unbeatable runs clocking a combined time of 2.07.71. 

Seventh ranked Laurie Stephens of the USA won her second silver of the series in 2.32.12. 

American Danielle Umstead and her husband and guide Robert, ranked eighth, won the women's visually impaired category in 2.08.89 ahead of world number five, Jade Etherington and her guide Caroline Powell who scored 2.11.81. 

Third place went to the 11th ranked Korean, Jae Rim Yang and her guide Ji Youl Lee in 2.14.81.

Great Britain's Heather Mills, ranked 28, who won the silver medal yesterday in the women's standing category fell at the top of the course in her first run today but was pleased with her results from the first slalom, which will lower her world ranking as part of her quest for selection for the Sochi Olympics. 

- The Southland Times

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