MAR 23, 2017
The 2017 Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships went down last weekend in Sierra Nevada, Spain. Athletes from all around the world were competing for their respective countries in order to gain points for the upcoming Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. The Atomic athletes, representing many different countries, were able to claim the podium in both the Men's and Women's Slopestyle and Superpipe competitions.
On Saturday night, the men and women kicked off the Freestyle Ski World Championships in Superpipe. Due to the rapidly changing weather conditions, the competition was delayed for 30 minutes, as the crew had to keep maintaining the pipe. However many difficulties may have given the other riders, Japan's Ayana Onozuka absolutely dominated the rest of the field, by successfully stomping all three of her runs. It was her second run, highlighted by a first-hit left 900 and a switch right 720 safety, that earned her the winning score of 89.80. The veteran Winter X-Games medalist, Onozuka won her first Gold this year, despite this being the last competition of the 2016/17 season. All eyes will be on her in PyeongChang!
The Men's Superpipe competition followed in Sierra Nevada, as Canada's Mike Riddle showed true determination amongst the world's best. After struggling in the 2015/16 season with injuries, Riddle fought hard to comeback to help provide himself a spot in South Korea with a Silver medal. After several years competing at the Dew Tour and Winter X-Games, Mike combined some amazing style, along with a very technical approach to earn a score of 89.60. Riddle's run consisted of a left double cork 1260 mute, right 1080 tail, switch left 720 double Japan, right 900 tail, to left double cork 900 safety and was enough to win second place, his first major podium of the year.
Last up at the 2017 Freestyle Ski World Championships was the Men's and Women's Slopestyle event on Sunday. After some disappointing weather circumstances all week, the qualifiers and finals were held in the same afternoon. Again braving through the struggling conditions, France's Tess Ledeux shined through with another stunning victory. The World Cup newcomer, at age 15, became the youngest world champion in the history of FIS sanctioned freestyle skiing. Tess's second run execution of both 540's, 720's, and highlighted a backside 450 off the a-frame box led her to a winning score of 85.60. Ledeux completes the 2016/17 season after winning another World Cup in France, and several Silver medals at the Winter X-Games in Aspen and Norway.
And finally, the Men's Slopestyle would provide Atomic with yet another medal at the World Championships. Along with the world's best slopestyle skiers, Gus Kenworthy again showed why he was the Winter Olympic Silver Medalist in Sochi, with another silver in Spain. After a difficult day before not qualifying in Superpipe, the young American started off a bit shaky in his first two runs. However, the determined Kenworthy stepped it up for his final run with style including an impressive switch 2 pretzel 6, followed by another switch 2 to continue 450 out in the technical rail section. His final score of 91.80 was just bested by his American teammate, McRae Williams in the final run.
Atomic Freeskiing is very proud of the commitment by it's athletes to represent themselves and their respective countries. We are very excited to see what is coming up in the next Winter Olympic Games and will continue to support our athletes and their dreams for the gold.
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