As previously discussed, the Burton High Fives event that now goes down annually in New Zealand is one of our favourites from the season. Not only does it have a rad team format where the overall winners are also chosen by driving and shooting ability, the actual snowboarding contests are played out in a jam format, not just encouraging progression but actively pursuing it.
Unfortunately it looks like the weather had a part to play in this year's event, not that it seems to have stalled any of the top riders in any way... The women's slopestyle was taken out by Jamie Anderson, of course, her dominance of the game seamlessly carrying over into this season. Her back lip/tail at 1.15 above sure sealed the deal for us.
Miyabi Onitsuka from Japan came in second despite missing a few of her grabs, leaving Kiwi Christy Prior in third, though the huge back 180 she finished her run on clinched her the overall style award for the contest - WL approves.
The huge back 180 Christy Prior finished her run on clinched her the overall style award for the contest
In the men's event Japan was on the podium again as Yuki Kadono scored third place with some varied rails and one of the cleanest back dub 10s of the week. Canadian Darcy Sharpe surprised many people by getting the silver, Sage-inspired grab combinations scoring highly. He even landed a backside 720 nose-to-tail-to-double tail!
But it was Emil Ulsletten who came out victorious, tech flatspins leading into a double frontside rodeo that can only be described as fucking dope doing the job. Bam.
Weather wise, it was a similar story in the pipe, though over the two hour jam some riders did get lucky. Not Hikaru Ooe from Japan though, her homeland's foggy tree riding vision scoring her into third despite an impenetrable fog. China’s Xuetong Cai was slighlty luckier, but leaving no one in any doubt as to who deserved the gold was Chloe Kim, the 14 year old dominating the entire field.
An interesting side effect of the team aspect was that after the team captains had bid for their riders, some were left without a fully rounded out squad, forcing predominantly slope-focused Jamie Anderson and Silje Norendaal into the pipe. Anderson still managed to place sixth though!
Yiwei Zhang became the first ever Chinese snowboarder to top an international podium - could this be the start of a new dominance in snowboarding?
A historic day in the men's pipe as Yiwei Zhang became the first ever Chinese snowboarder to top an international podium. We weren't his biggest fans in Sochi, but since then it looks like he's tightened up his style somewhat - could this be the start of a new dominance in snowboarding?
Australian Nathan Johnstone came third, whilst Seamus 'Shameless' O'Connor managed a second place finish, still claiming Irish heritage on his rider form. Weirdly, the Japanese Sochi medalists Taku Hiraoka and Ayumu Hirano both finished well wide of the podium, though we're pretty sure we'll see more of them this season.
Overall, Carlos Garcia Knight's team consisting of Emil Ulsletten, Ho-Gwang Ok, Silje Norendal, Miyabi Onitsuka, Kirra Kotsenberg, Tim-Kevin Ravnjak, Shuhei Sato, Seamus O`Connor and Hikaru Oe came away the victors, claiming a cool $70,000 between them! Not bad for a week's work...