While Kelly Clark seems to have halfpipe completely sewn up right now. Jamie Anderson is threatening to do the same in slopestyle. The American gave a masterclass in both kickers and rails to take gold at the Winter X Games in Tignes last week.
After a Thursday plagued by ropey conditions that led to the cancellation of the men's qualifiers, Friday was a cracker, and the women headed out early to hit the sunny set-up. After losing out to Finland's Enni Rukajarvi at the recent Burton US Open, Jamie was there to show why she took the top spot on the TTR Tour this year. A clean switch backside 540 off the 55-foot booter set her up nicely for the middle rail section, where she stomped a backside boardslide on the down rail followed by a super-tech half cab to backside tailslide to 270-out. A smooth backside 180 and cab 540 on the final two hits gave her an overall total of 95.33.
Jamie notched up the high score on her first run, leaving the rest of the field fighting to catch up. Silje Norendal managed to jump back into the medals on her last attempt, linking up a clean frontside rodeo 720 with a backside 5. Her rail routine couldn't compare to Jamie's though, so the silver was hers. Enni Rukajarvi attacked the course like a woman possessed, hitting everything at high speed including a gap to 5050 on the flat-down rail. A big back 5 and front 7 on the last two kickers got her up into third.
All things considered, it was the right result. Jamie may not have thrown anything bigger than a 540, but she spun three different ways off the three kickers, and her rail skills were head and shoulders ahead of the others'. Britain's Jenny Jones, who finished in 8th place, said afterwards that a more techincal rail routine is what she'll need to work on to reclaim X-Games gold. She's got a point: a solid yet fairly basic showing on the rails meant Cheryl Mass finished down in 5th, despite landing the first ever backside 900 in women's slopestyle.
With a truly world-class standard, and Cheryl's landmark moment, women's slopestyle may well have been the event of the Games this year. Video highlights of the winning runs are coming soon, so check back soon to see them for yourself.
WINTER X-GAMES EUROPE 2011
WOMEN'S SLOPESTYLE RESULTS
1. Jamie Anderson (USA)
2. Silje Norendal (NOR)
3. Enni Rukajärvi (FIN)