Isabel Derungs and Anna Gasser Lead The Heats in Women's Sochi 2014 Slopestyle Qualifiers

Mike Brindley Mike Brindley
torah-bright
Torah Bright gives the kickers a sense of scale… Photo: Nick Atkins / Scene Images

The ladies were second to drop this morning in the much anticipated Olympic Slopestyle event. The discipline is a new addition for this year’s competition and the women certainly didn’t disappoint – styling out HUGE slow spins on the kickers and putting on a great show…

Format of the day was two runs per rider - best score counts and top four riders from each of the two heats got a fast-track straight to the finals. The remaining group will battle it out to decide who joins them in the semi finals on Sunday.

British multi-X-games-medal winning Jenny Jones kicked off proceedings for heat 1 – putting down a solid run and showing just how comfortable she is with monster booters. 

qualification for the 2014 Sochi winter Olympics snowboard slopestyle
Jenny Jones in training on the flat down… Photo: Nick Atkins / Scene Images

…In fact, for the most part, we saw the ladies stepping up on the big kickers – the one notable exception being Sarka Panchochova – who had a great run, while sticking to the smaller of the available kicker lines. We’re expecting big things if she can take her front 5, cab 5, back 7 combo and upscale it the big kickers at the weekend.

Kjersti Bauss took a nasty slam – landing face first down the landing …

Kjersti Bauss Injury sochi olympics 2014

… but she’s OK. Last we heard she was getting plenty of Facebook love and has come away with a ruptured muscle – which is obviously painful but could have been a lot worse.

Then there were a tonne of promising runs across the board:

  • Torah Bright proved that you can compete in multiple events, enjoy it, and put down a flawless long grab back three…
  • Spencer O’Brien gave us a tidy front 7 off the toes in round 2, which we’d happily see back for seconds…
  • Isabel Derungs killed it – with a strong second run: boardslide-fakie, fakie-board, 50-50, 50-50 back 180, switch back 5, backside 720, backside rodeo – way to step up!
  • Shelly Gotlieb gave a cab 900 a go but couldn’t bring it under control…
Jamie Anderson gives it some steeze in the top section. Photo: Nick Atkins / Scene Images

On the more unusual end of things – Ty Walker did some obstacle dodging and got a 1 point for her run – we suspect because of injury…

Her teamate Jamie Anderson on the other hand put in a super clean first run – securing her finals spot before choosing to let run two fly – it definitely looks like the US have a ‘don’t ride if you don’t have to’ attitude going on right now.

Not so for Anna Gasser - who was fully deserving of the top spot in heat 2. The relative newcomer to the scene was sending it super deep with a sick rail section and the BIGGEST kicker section of the day with a huge line – cab underflip, front 720 and back 360 combo on the jumps. She’s a real contender – and we’re impressed considering she’s essentially come out of nowhere this season!

Someone who we expect there will be a lot more to come from at the weekend is Norwegian X-Games boss Silje Norendaal - she had a strong start on the rails today but didn’t quite get into her flow on the kickers – no doubt she’ll be back with a vengeance come Sunday…

So, here’s how things looked after the qualifying rounds (Heat 2 starts half way down the table…)

2014-ladies-slopestyle-qualifier-resultsSo that’s Isabel Derungs, Torah Bright, Spencer O’Brien and Enni Rukajarvi guaranteed places in the final from Heat 1.

And Anna Gasser, Jamie Anderson, Elena Koenz and Karly Shorr cruise through from Heat 2.

As for the remaining riders, we’ll have to wait to see who else make the cut from the Semi Finals this Sunday.

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