Run after run throughout the ladies finals offered incredible surprises, beginning with Queralt Castellet (ESP) in her first run turning what looked like it was going to be one of her signature 900s into a huge 1080 - the first time we’ve seen the 29-year-old rider perform the trick in World Cup competition.
Then, in run two, it was Arielle Gold’s (USA) turn to drop a new trick on us, taking a page out of Castellet’s book and also stomping a clean 1080 in the spot in her run where she would typically do a 900.
However, both Castellet and Gold would be one-upped by Kim in her final run, as the 18-year-old, who had already secured the victory and was dropping last, began what could have been a mellow victory lap with her massive, signature method, before launching a 1080 tail grab into a cab 1080 melon combo that had the thousands lining the sides of Laax’s pipe in bedlam.
Kim would finish off what would be far-and-away the highest-scoring night of the evening in the ladies’ competition with a frontside 900 tail and backside 360 indy for a score of 93.75, her second World Cup win at Laax, and her seventh win in 11 career World Cup events.
“I kinda wish I had got the grab better on the cab 10, but other than that I’m happy I put it down,” said Kim from the finish area, “I was a little nervous about the night final, but it turned out well. The pipe was sick and the ladies were killing it and it was so fun to be a part of this contest.”
Castellet would finish in second place with a score of 80.50 to better her third-place result from Laax last season, while Gold would round out the podium in third with a score of 77.25 for her first World Cup podium since she came second at Laax two seasons ago.
With her second victory of the season, Kim moved to within 100 points of China’s Cai Xuetong on the halfpipe World Cup leaderboard, after Cai finished just off the podium in fourth on the evening to give herself 2100 points to Kim’s 2000.
- Kim - method, frontside 1080 tail, cab 1080 melon, frontside 900 tail, backside 360 indy
- Castellet - method, frontside 1080 indy, cab 720 mute, frontside 540 lien, backside 540 mute
- Gold - frontside 1080 tail, cab 720 mute, frontside 720 indy, cab 720 mute, crippler indy, Michalchuk melon