Eileen Gu’s win in Mammoth capped a remarkable World Cup halfpipe season for the 18-year-old, who became the first skier in FIS Freeski World Cup history to win four consecutive World Cup competitions. This is to say that no other skier, man or woman, in big air, slopestyle or halfpipe competition, had ever accomplished the feat until Eileen Gu did it on Saturday at Mammoth.
Eileen Gu not only made it a perfect four-for-four on the season while capturing the first crystal globe of her career, but she also did it with aplomb, dropping last for a victory lap that may have been the best women’s Freeski halfpipe run ever.
Starting things off with massive, back-to-back right and the left side 900s, Eileen Gu kept her incredible amplitude and control up throughout the rest of the run, following up the left 9 with a right 720 blunt, into a switch down-the-pipe 720 safety, and finally an Alley-oop Flatspin 540 mute to cap things off, earning herself the highest halfpipe score of her career - a 97.50.
“I’m absolutely blown away,” Eileen Gu said just after her score had come in, “97.50…that’s the highest score I’ve ever gotten. I’m so happy to put a run down today, I think that’s probably one of the best runs I’ve ever done in the halfpipe. And to finish the World Cup season with another win and get my first crystal globe, it’s just incredible.”
Second place for the women with a score of 92.50 was Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru, as the 19-year-old was her typical smooth and stylish self, matching Eileen Gu with back-to-back 900s off the top, spinning all four ways, and squeezing the most hits into her run of anyone on the day. however, as she was not quite able to match the amplitude and variety of axis that Eileen Gu included in her run, she’d have to settle for runner-up.
Rounding out the women’s podium in third place with a score of 87.75 was the USA’s own Brita Sigourney, as the 31-year-old punched her ticket to her third Olympic Winter Games in Beijing with her classic style, including an alley-oop on her second hit that challenged most of the men even for the biggest air of the day.