18-year-old Emilia Wint, of Denver, linked a switch rodeo 540 into a monster 720 mute-grab on the final jump Friday to win the women’s slopestyle at the New Zealand Freeskiing Open in Snow Park.
Wint, a Grand Prix podium finisher last season, battled strong winds and cold temperatures to stomp a second run score of 84.8 for a huge 5.8 point margin of victory. The newest addition to the U.S. Freeskiing team, Wint represents the pacesetters of a new generation of women’s freesking.
“This is a great way for me to set my pace for the season, especially with the Argentina World Cup taking place next week,” said Wint. “I’m pretty pleased with the seven in my run, the wind definitely made jumping a bit tricky, but I have been training hard and I felt comfortable in the air and with my landing. … Hopefully I will be able to keep this up for next week’s World Cup and the start of the Olympic qualifying period.”
U.S. Freeskiing teammate and Olympic hopeful Gus Kenworthy (Telluride, CO) was the top American man in fifth. Australia’s Russ Henshaw took first among men with Swede Jesper Tjader in second and France’s Jules Bonnaire in third. For the women, Canada’s Dara Howell was second and New Zealand’s Rose Battersby took third.
The New Zealand Freeskiing Open is an Association of Freeskiing Professionals (AFP) Gold event, the highest level below the Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix.
The New Zealand Freeskiing Open comes to a close with men’s and women’s halfpipe finals on Sept. 1.
The following week is the first FIS Slopestyle World Cup of the season at Ushaia, Argentina Sept. 6-7. It will also be the first qualifying event toward the sports addition in the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.