Julia Marino earned her second-straight World Cup victory in the women’s competition, and Canada’s own Darcy Sharpe put down one of the best runs we’ve ever seen on his way to a first career slopestyle World Cup victory.
With the sun breaking through the clouds and welcoming, unseasonably warm temperatures greeting the finalists for women’s finals on Sunday morning, and a unique, Charles Beckinsale-designed course in prime shape, nearly all the pieces were in place for a day to remember at Calgary’s Winsport Canada Olympic Park.
The most important ingredient for that to happen, of course, would be that the seven women and 10 men dropping in on finals delivered some top-tier runs - and they provided that in spades.
It was clear from the outset of the Snow Rodeo that Marino would be tough to beat, with the 25-year-old coming into Sunday as the top qualifier from Saturday and fresh off a victory on home soil at Mammoth Mountain last weekend.
Marino kept that momentum rolling straight into her first run of the day. Opening with frontside boardslide 270, Marino continued to pick her way through the multifaceted rail sections with a 50-50 to fronstside lipslide to fakie, then a switch backside bluntslide 270 out before heading into the course’s two jumps where she stomped a cab double cork 900 Weddle and a backside 720 melon, before finishing things off with a backside bluntslide 270 melon off on the cannon rail for a score of 78.36 and her seventh career World Cup win.
As well, with Sunday’s victory Marino takes over the top spot on the FIS Snowboard slopestyle World Cup standings from Reira Iwabuchi (JPN), with Marino now holding a virtually unassailable 83-point lead over her Japanese counterpart with only one slopestyle competition left in the 2022/23 season.
“I’m feeling pretty good about my riding right now,” Marino said from the finish area after her victory lap, “This is a super fun course. I had a blast this week riding this. We got a ton of time on the course to feel it out and get comfortable with it and put some stuff down. I wanted to go backside 1080 on my final lap but I got a little too hyped up, maybe went a little too big on my cab 900, and maybe landed a little weird, so…I would have loved to have got a back 10 in there but oh well, there will be other opportunities for that.”
Joining Marino on the podium were a pair of Canadians, with Laurie Blouin landing in second place with a score of 76.41 and Jasmine Baird making a strong return to competition after a brief injury break to earn a third-place finish, just back of Blouin with a score of 76.21.
Blouin’s Sunday podium was her third in three Snow Rodeo competitions since the slopestyle World Cup returned to Calgary in 2019/20 after an almost 10-year absence from the calendar, while Baird’s podium was her third of the 2022/23 season, to go along with her third-place finish at the Big Air Chur and her win at the Edmonton Style Experience big air.
Not only did Marino take over the slopestyle yellow World Cup leaders’ bib on Sunday, but with 253 points she also moved up into third place on the Park & Pipe overall standings behind Japanese riders Mitsuki Ono (360 points) and Iwabuchi (322 points).