Sochi proved why it's one of Russia's best seaside resorts today with sunny skies (see below) for the women's qualification in the halfpipe. And although it was less than ideal for the pipe conditions, we still saw some strong runs in both heats and the semi-finals.
Favourites Kelly Clark and Torah Bright turned up to comply with their hype - qualifying top in each of their respective heats. They were followed closely by Queralt Castellet and Hannah Teter who both had very strong runs scoring over 90 points.
In the Semi-Finals Kaityln Farrington really stood out, with strong performances from Chinese riders Jiayu Liu and Shuang Li too.
Full details of todays events below:
Coming into the heats we saw some tentative runs, it appeared at first that most riders wanted to play it safe in the slightly unpredictable conditions. Kelly Clark was sitting pretty with a fairly stock first run before firmly secured her place with her second - throwing a huge 1080 and scoring 95.00.
Ursina Haller carried on the family tradition, following her brother and qualifying in 5th place to go into the semis...
Queralt Castellet showed promise that she might find redemption after her disappointment in Vancouver. She scored a 93.25 with a front 9 in the mix - and the judges clearly weren't put off by the double backside airs.
Holly Crawford on the other hand unfortunately couldn't put a run together/ and or bring out the front 5 stales we were looking for - it's unlikely she'll compete in the Olympics again at age 30. In general this was a dissapointing heat for the Aussies as only Stephanie Magiros qualified out of the three riders they had going.
Down at the bottom of the Semi-final spots - it was good to see Sarka Pancochova back after her slam - she snuck in to the semi's with a second run of 66.25 - clearly struggling a little bit to find speed down at the bottom of the pipe.
Here's how things finished:
After the break, with the air temperature heated up to 9 degrees, the sun switched ends and Heat 2 got started.
The big upset of the morning was that we wouldn't be seeing Arielle Gold compete. She's out due to injury - after she apparently took a faceplant in training and has been disabled by a blow to her shoulder/arm.
In heat two Xuetong Kai kicked things into gear to take set the bar at 74.25. She held 1st only for a second though as Kaitlyn Farrington then smashed it out the park with a back 9 and 87 points...
Jiayu Liu had a pop too putting together 5s and 7s to score 81.5 - which she improved on in run two, with back-to-back 5s then 7s for an 83.5.
Mercedes Nicoll took a nasty slam in run two - with the usual, slightly too relaxed, response from the medics.
And Canuck Katie Tsuyuki had a crazy trick that none of us could make sense of...
Xuetong then came back with a vengence with some huge air to qualify third and send herself straight into the finals.
Hannah Teter went in! Her first run was a massive backside indy, front 5, back 5, front 7, cab 3, frontside air, back 9! She added a cab 7 in place of the 3 in run two to take it up to 92 points.
Torah Bright however was on another level with amplitude - mixing up 3s, 5s, 7s and going big for run 1. She didn't need her second run and finished it off with plenty of slashes after taking a seat. She'll go straight through to the finals comfortably with her 93.00...
Here's the full table for heat 2:
By the time we reached the semi-finals the last of the sun had gone - and the 12 qualifiers were ready for a second chance to join the existing 6 riders in the final.
But it was a slow start for the first round - with no clean runs for the first 7 riders. It took Mirabelle Thovex to break the deadlock with a score of 74.5 - enough to secure her place in the finals.
Ursina Haller then followed suit with a similar set of tricks (and just a slightly higher score) to take 4th spot - neither managed to better themselves and stayed put after run 2.
To close out the first set of runs, we then had a double whammy from the Chinese team - Jiayu Liu and Shuang Li both putting up 80+ points to go top of the board.
...But it was short lived - with Kaitlyn Farrington getting tech and mixing up the formula: front 1 drop in, switch back 5, cab 7, alley oop back 5, back 5, straight air and back 9.
In the second set of runs, there was very little to mix up the leaderboard - with the top 7 staying unchanged.
Canuck Katie Tsuyuki put in an admirable performance and was cut out of qualification by a couple of glitches in her runs - she was still stoked to be there though...
Anyway here's the final standing: