Johanne Killi and Birk Ruud Sweep the Slopestyle Podium in Stubai
The best international freeski riders met from November 16 to 19 at the Stubai Glacier in the first event of the World Cup season. The Pro Line at the Stubai Zoo Snowpark was again the venue for the first slopestyle battle of the winter. 20 women and 60 men competed in the qualification on Thursday. The 8 best women and 16 best men were in the final on Saturday.
Under perfect conditions, Johanne Killi and Birk Ruud from Norway storm Stubai's podium at the Slopestyle season opener.
In the Women's category, Norway's Johanne Killi claimed her 4th World Cup victory, winning ahead of the Estonian double winner Kelly Sildaru, and the US-American Grace Henderson. Killi's last World Cup victory before Stubai came almost three years ago at the Beijing Big Air, and whose last slopestyle victory was nearly five years ago in Aspen Snowmass.
In the qualification Killy was only beaten by Kelly Sildaru, but in the Final the Norwegian was unstoppable. Killi kicked off her winning path with a left corked 900 reverse tail grab, followed by a big switch right 540 Japan through the jump line, before going right foot to backside 540 off, switch right lipslide k-fed, then left 270 on to switch through the three rail features, earning herself a score of 81.24 for her 15th World Cup podium.
“It means a lot to win here in Stubai. It’s always been a good comp for me, but I haven’t been able to end up on the top. But this year I made it, so many people watching, it’s very cool to be here, I’m really happy. I knew that Birk was able to win here today but wasn’t so sure if I could do it, so super to be two winners from Norway. It’s just an unbelievable feeling right now”, Killi said.
For Sildaru it was her 12th podium in 14 career World Cup starts, making for a run of consistency that’s one of the most impressive in FIS Freeski World Cup history, and which seems destined to continue well into the future for the 20-year-old.
For Henderson it was her first World Cup podium finish.
In the Men's competition was once again Norwegian Birk Ruud who took the win. Joining Ruud on the podium were the past two slopestyle crystal globe winners, Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli in second place, and USA's teammate Colby Stevenson in third place.
After claiming last season’s Freeski overall crystal globe with three wins and four podiums in five World Cup competitions, Birk Ruud kicked off the 2022-2023 in the best possible way, with a victory at the Big Air Chur season-opener and another outstanding performance in Stubai.
Ruud opened up his winning first run with a switch right double cork 1620 safety, followed by a left double bio 1440 mute through the two jumps, before going right foot backside 810 off on the first rail, and then a switch left 270 back swap 360 to forward, and finally a right side 450 on to 270 pretzel out on the final rail feature, riding out to a score of 88.96 and his second straight victory in Stubai.
"I love Stubai and I really like this event. So, a big thank you for Stubai for hosting the World Cup. I did not really expect to win today; I focused on landing my run and tried to do as best as possible and there are so many good riders out there, so to end up on top of the podium again and follow up from last year, it’s a little bit unbelievable for me to be honest. I’m really happy with it!", Ruud said.