Last weekend weekend saw the first FIS Slopestyle World Cup of the winter in Stubai, Austria. With a new judging system in place, with each run now being judged section-by-section alongside an overall impression, and six Faction Athletes qualifying for the finals, this event turned out to be a classic.
In the Women's final, Kelly, Sarah and Mathilde led the way as all three scored over 80 points claiming top spots for a full podium sweep. We caught up with Kelly after the competition about her injury, the competition and what's next, which you can check out below.
In the Men's final, in his first World Cup finals, Mac Forehand earned himself a silver medal with a stellar performance both on the jumps and rail section, just 0.80 points behind 1st place.
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On her World Cup return from injury, Kelly smashed her second run with a switch right 10 mute and a switch left 10 mute on the jumps followed by some very clean tricks on the rails: switch 2 on pretz 6 (cannon), switch on kfed (downrail), left 2 pretz 2 (down rail), earning her 88.46 points and the gold medal.
Sarah earned 2nd place with a score of 86.36, just 2 points behind Kelly, with a high scoring overall impression. Sarah's second-place run went as follows: Switch right 10 high mute, switch left 5 mute, back 4 (cannon), left switch lip 2 to forward (down rail), front swap to forward.
Rounding out the podium with 83.46 points, Mathilde was the most consistent high scorer on the night earning over 80 points on both of her runs. On her 1st run, Mathilde opened up with a: Right bio 9 safety, switch left 5 mute (switch dub 9 bootgrab 2nd run), back 2 safety, front swap to switch, switch to switch (downrail).
Mac went big throwing down on his first run to earn a well-deserved first silver medal: Switch left dub 12 tweaked mute, right dub 12 dub japan, switch 2 cont 6 safety (cannon), back 3 swap transfer (up to down) pretz 2, switch right lip 2 pretz 2
Q: Hey Kelly, stoked to have you back! How does it feel to be competing again
It felt so good, I’ve missed it a lot and just seeing all the riders there riding together again and the vibe is always really nice, couldn’t be happier to be back on skis!
Q: What was your mind-set when it came to recovering from your injury?
It was pretty hard in the beginning, I knew that I couldn’t ski and compete for 9 months and that’s a long time. It was really hard to stay at home when Henry went skiing and he also sent me some videos of him skiing with our friends in Estonia and that made staying home much harder. But during these months Henry learnt so many new tricks and that motivated me to work even harder to get back on snow faster. Now I would say that these 9 months went so fast and I’ve never loved skiing as much as I do now.
Q: What were your expectations coming into the world cup?
It was my first bigger comp after my injury so my goal was just to get back to competing and you know, to get the feeling and confidence back. I guess it went how I planned.
Q: The course setup was a bit different to usual – how was it having the jumps first and the rails at the end?
Umm, it’s pretty hard to say, but I loved the course... jumps were really good and also the rails weren’t bad. I think that I like to have jumps first, you get done with these first and usually I’m not that nervous for rails so I like to get done with jumps and then I can enjoy rails a bit more.
Q: Four Faction athletes in the finals and a podium sweep! What’s it like being on a team with Sarah, Mathilde, and Giulia?
They are all so good at skiing, they are just so fun and amazing girls. It was great to see them as well after a long time. I really like being in the same team with them!
Q: Did you have some time to hit the jumps at Prime Park Sessions? How was that?
We were there for one session, but we didn’t have time to hit the Prime line, what’s a bit sad, because the jumps looked really fun. We just did the pro line and prepared for the World Cup. I really liked Stubai, the jumps are so good and smooth.
Q: What are your goals for the season?
I haven’t set any big goals yet but I would say I’ll just try to do different comps and give my best there.
Q: What’s next on the calendar now? Where are you going next?
We are off to Colorado. Going to do halfpipe World Cup at Copper and after that Dew Tour in Breckenridge. See you there!