Heavy snow on Saturday forced the postponement of the women’s freeski slopestyle final to Sunday, and the extra 24-hour wait really paid off, as the ladies had a well-groomed course and bluebird skies for their competition, enabling them to ski to their fullest potential.
Yuki Tsubota, who qualified through the LCQ, was the first rider to drop, and she set the bar with a score of 74.20. Thanks to miscues from the other competitors in the lineup, that run would hold up as the top score after the first set of runs.
Things got heavier on the second set of runs though. Tiril Sjastad Christiansen had an equipment malfunction on her first run but proceeded to continue down the course and give the judges a preview of what was to come with a switch right 1080 on the final jump. On Run 2, the Norwegian avoided equipment issues and put down a full run capped off with that switch right 10. That run earned her an 86.00 and put her into the lead. Tiril would maintain the lead with two riders left to drop – Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru and Sweden’s Emma Dahlstrom.
Kelly Sildaru dropped the hammer on her second run. (Photo: Bryce Kanights)
At just 13 years old, Kelly Sildaru might be the smallest competitor in the field, but she brought the biggest run of the contest, spinning all four directions and showcasing technicality on the rails in the process. On the jumps, Kelly landed a switch right 900, right corked 720, switch left 900 and left 720, and the judges rewarded her with a 90.80 to put her into 1st place and bumping Tiril down to 2nd.
The top qualifier in the semifinal, Emma Dahlstrom was last to drop. Landing a nice corked 720 in her run, Emma was able to crack the podium with an 83.40 to put her into 2nd behind Kelly and Tiril.
Might Kelly’s win be a sign of the future for women’s slopestyle? At such a young age, the potential seems to be limitless for the talented Estonian – expect to be seeing her on more podiums in the years to come.
Kelly (center) tops the podium, with Tiril (left) and Emma (right) also placing in the top three. (Photo: Chris Ortiz)
1. Kelly Sildaru, 90.80
2. Tiril Sjastad Christiansen, 86.00
3. Emma Dahlstrom, 83.40
4. Johanne Killi, 77.20
5. Yuki Tsubota, 74.20
6. Dara Howell, 29.60
KELLY SILDARU, WINNING RUN
TIRIL SJASTAD CHRISTIANSEN, 2ND-PLACE RUN
EMMA DAHLSTROM, 3RD-PLACE RUN