Wise, Yater-Wallace atop podium
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — American skiers took the top two podium spots at the FIS World Freestyle Ski Championships halfpipe competition, with David Wise unleashing twin doubl-corked 1260s to take the gold, and Torin Yater-Wallace throwing down an alley-oop double-corked 1080 for second place. Full results are online here.
The U.S. duo delivered a clinic on the state of today’s halfpipe skiing Tuesday under the lights of the Oslo Vinterpark, with the ladies competition also showcasing strong skiing from the 12th place qualifier right through to the top.
“It’s a serious honor … That was one of the most exciting finals I’ve ever been a part of,” Wise said. “To come out here and have a true World Championships, with all the world’s best, to be standing on the top is a huge honor and I’m so grateful.”
At the end of the day it was red-hot Swiss skier Virginie Faivre (who was able to walk away with the gold medal and the world champion title. Faivre’s run wasn’t the most technical of the day – that distinction went to French silver medal winner Anais Caradeux, but Faivre’s combination of clean style, clean landings, and consistent amplitude was enough for her to claim the win with a score of 83.6.
“I’ve over the moon. I’m very happy. And I’m dedicating my victory here tonight to my friend Sarah Burke,” Faivre said. “I really hope I make it to Sochi because we never know what can happen. We take lots of risks every day and I just want to go back there next year.”
Caradeux, for her part, showed some impressive skiing, including a first-hit 900 that was likely the cleanest of the day, and for her efforts was rewarded with a score just strong enough to eke out 2nd place ahead of top qualifier Ayana Onozuka. Onozuka skied solidly throughout qualification and finals but just couldn’t up the ante on her final, contest-ending run when she needed it the most.
2011 world champion Rosalind Groenewoud was in the hunt for gold in both of her finals runs, but her inability to cleanly put down a final-hit 1080 kept her well off the podium.
On the men’s side, fans were treated to an event that certainly had to be one of the most progressive contests of the season, with a level of technical proficiency, amplitude, and style on display that at times neared the sublime.
If there was a gold medal for biggest air of the day, Joffrey Pollet-Villard (FRA) would have taken it before being carried away on the shoulders of the fans. His 3rd hit, seven-meter-plus flat-spin 540 was absolutely astonishing, putting the young skier in the conversation for “biggest single contest hit ever.” The smoothest style award might have gone to 1st-place qualifier Matt Margetts (CAN), while the warrior award would have been given to Kevin Rolland (FRA), who laid down a solid second run after crashing hip-first into the lip of the pipe from 15 feet in his first run.
Thomas Krief (FRA) threw down what was perhaps the best run of his life to take an early lead in heat one, but when Yater-Wallace dropped in three skiers later, it was clear that that lead would be short-lived. Yater-Wallace’s run was absolutely explosive, and his score of 95.6 – to Krief’s 94.2 – looked like it might be unbeatable.
However, beatable it was, as the next skier down the pipe was Mr. Wise. Wise and Yater-Wallace ski similarly, both with the ability to spin off any edge, over any shoulder, from any spot in the pipe. However, Wise’s incredible right-side double-corked 1260 mute to left-side double-corked 1260 mute combo to finish off his run, stomped clean, was the clincher, and the 22 year old father of one took him a brilliant gold medal and the title World Champion.