Only one of his runs worked out well, but that was all he needed to win Ski Halfpipe gold for Aaron Blunk from the USA, who was ranked third in the World Cup before heading to Sierra Nevada. 91.80 points the score from the first of three runs, which nobody else could beat.
What’s more, he didn’t change the strategy he’s used throughout the season. «I didn’t do any new tricks. I did the run I’ve been doing most of the year. I actually took out one trick, then improvised», Blunk admitted before stepping onto the podium.
Kevin Rolland came closest early in the final with a score of 88.40 points, but on his second run and giving it everything, a fall on the lip of the pipe after an eight metre jump, left him on the deck and clearly in pain. The crowd watched on anxiously, but in the end it wasn’t serious for the Frenchman, who later went on to make his third run.
Indeed, the wind proved a key challenge for competitors, with all falls coming in the same part of the pipe. Rolland settling for bronze in the end, beaten by Canadian Mike Riddle to the silver and of course, Blunk with the golden first run.
In the ladies event, Ayana Onozuka of Japan scored 89.80 with her second run of the night. Enough for gold and almost three points ahead of Marie Martinod of France in second, with Devin Logan of the USA third.