South Tahoe’s Anderson wins at Mammoth, eyes gold medal defense
With the 2022 Winter Olympics nearing, South Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson has shown to be in peak form.
On Saturday, the two-time defending women’s slopestyle champion outdueled a field of 26 riders at the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain to take first-place in the final Olympic qualifying event of the season.
Anderson, 31, had already met the criteria to make the U.S. Team to make her third Olympic appearance next month.
Anderson’s winning second run featured a backside blunt to fakie on the rails, and a lipside 270 on the rainbow feature. In the jump section, she landed a backside 540 melon, which led into a Cab double cork 1080 weddle, marking the first time she’s landed the trick in slopestyle.
“It feels good,” said Anderson in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “Competing is really hard, it’s such a mind game. I haven’t competed much this year, so it feels good to have fallen on my first run, clear that, and pull it together for my last run. And I’ve never done a Cab 1080 in a slopestyle, so I’m really stoked on that.”
Anderson finished the event with a high score of 86.32. New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synnott was third with a score of 82.50, and Japan’s Kokomo Murase was third with a score of 77.94.
“I’m hyped all the girls are sending it, after 15 years on tour I couldn’t be more impressed with women’s riding,” added Anderson. Looking ahead to her third Olympics, the defending gold medalist said, “I’m excited for the opportunity to represent the U.S. on such a big stage. I’m also excited to motivate young girls to follow their dreams.”
Hailey Langland, who grew up competing for the now defunct Tahoe Select Snowboard Team, was fifth and second among U.S. riders with a score of 71.02. Her finish sealed her a place on the women’s Olympic team.
WISE, SIGOURNEY EARN OLYMPIC BERTHS
A pair of skiers with ties to the Tahoe area earned Olympic nominations Saturday during the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix Freeski halfpipe finals.
Reno’s David Wise, 31, locked up his third Olympic bid, taking second place.
The two-time defending gold medalist in halfpipe described his second-place run to U.S. Ski & Snowboard as a bit of a throwback, noting that he still struggles on his switch right doublecork 1080 since breaking his femur in 2019.
Wise’s run featured five different directions of spinning, starting off with a switch right 900 tail grab, into a switch left dub 1080 Japan, to a left alley-oop flat spin 540 tail, a left dub 1260 mute, into a right dub 1260 mute.
“I never doubted I was going to make the Olympic team, but then there were moments along the way where I couldn’t help but be like, well, things aren’t going the way I want them to,” he added. “It was kind of a fight, so today was really satisfying. Coming out of the gate first run and landing my best run of the season in the last qualifiers for the Olympics knowing before I even dropped in for my second run that I was on the Olympic team was so satisfying.”
Brita Sigourney, who grew up skiing at Alpine Meadows, also qualified for her third Olympic team, finishing in third place.
Sigourney’s best run included a left 900 tailgrab, an alley-oop tailgrab, a left 720 mute, into a switch alley-oop 360 Japan grab, into a left 540 mute, before finishing off with a 720.
“I’m really happy to just lock it in today with my family here in California where I grew up skiing,” said Sigourney in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’m beyond elated just to be able to put down some runs today and ski with an amazing field of women.”
In men’s snowboard halfpipe, Truckee’s Toby Miller, 21, finished 15th at Saturday’s event in Mammoth.
Another local, Cody LaPlante, 19, competed in Sunday’s men’s freeski slopestyle at Mammoth Mountain and finished 36th.
SCHOONMAKER WINS NATIONAL TITLE
North Tahoe’s JC Schoonmaker opened 2022 by winning his first national title.
Competing at Soldier Hollow Nordic Center in Utah, Schoonmaker, 21, outlasted the field to win the finals of the last week’s freestyle sprint and claim the national title in the event, edging second place by 0.83 seconds.
Schoonmaker continued competing at Soldier Hollow last week and managed to claim a third-place finish in the men’s National Championship 15-kilometer classic race. Schoonmaker followed that performance up with a third-place finish at Soldier Hollow in the US Super Tour classic sprint.
SUGAR BOWL’S WINTERS LANDS 1ST TOP-10 FINISH
World Cup alpine racing headed to Adelboden, Switzerland, on Sunday for a round of slalom racing.
Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy alumnus Luke Winter, 24, posted a career-best day on the notorious course, claiming 10th place.
“It feels good to put two together, I haven’t done that much in my career so far, especially here,” said Winters in an interview with U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “I’ve qualified three out of the four times, but I’ve had two bad second runs both years.”
Winters’ best finish in slalom before Sunday’s race was 19th.
Also in alpine, Team Palisades Tahoe Skier Nina O’Brien, 24, took 19th in Tuesday’s World Cup slalom race in Schladming, Austria. The result came two days after posting a 25th in slalom at the World Cup event at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.
Justin Scacco is a staff writer with the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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