The Stubai competition was Kelly Sildaru’s first time back in the bib since spraining her ACL while training at last season’s X Games. Even though she was competing with a heavily bandaged hand because of a broken thumb, the 19-year-old Estonian looked to be back in her old form throughout the week, qualifying in second on Friday and then putting down two standout finals runs on Saturday - either of which would have been enough to give her the victory.

On her second run Sildaru started strong through the jump line with a switch left 1080 mute followed by a switch right 900 tail, and then stepped things up on the rails with a right 270 on to pretzel 270 out, left 270 on to continuing 270 out, a switch on to pretzel 270 out, and finally a right front 270 on to finish things off with a score of 88.68.

“I feel amazing,” said Sildaru after her victory, “The last few years haven’t been easy for me, so to take the win while competing with a broken hand is great. I’m just so stoked, so happy.”

The result was Sildaru’s first World Cup slopestyle win since 2018/19, and it came almost three years to the day that she claimed that previous victory at the very same venue in Stubai.

Second place on the day went to Sarah Hoefflin (SUI), giving the Swiss veteran her second-straight podium to open the 2021/22 season after she also finished second at the Big Air Chur competition four weeks ago.

Starting things off with a switch double wobble 1080 on the first hit, and throwing down a tidy rail line that included a frontside Switchup and a blind 270 on, Hoefflin was solid and stylish through the Stubai course to finish with a score of 80.30 and the 12th podium of her World Cup career.

Third place for the women went to another comeback kid, as Johanne Killi (NOR) made her return to competition just over 10 months after blowing her knee at the Kreischberg big air competition last January.

Always one of the most consistent freeskiers on the planet, Killi looked close to her old form on Saturday, with a switch right tails-over to 270 out into left 270 on to continuing 270 out combo on the first two rails helping her lockdown a score of 78.32 and her second podium in a row at Stubai after she claimed runner-up last season.

There was a scary moment in Saturday’s women’s competition when top qualifier Mathilde Gremaud (SUI) crashed in her second run and was airlifted from the course. However, early reports suggest there are no serious injuries for the 21-year-old, and we wish her a speedy recovery.

1. Kelly Sildaru (EST) - switch left 1080 mute, switch right 900 tail, right 270 Pretzel 270 out, left 270 continuing 270 out, switch on pretzel 270, right front 270

2. Sarah Hoefflin (SUI) - switch right double wobble 1080 mute, switch left 720 safety, switch left lip 270 to forward, frontside switch up, blind 270, right front 270

3. Johanne Killi (NOR) - left 900 tail, switch right 720 Japan, switch right tails pretzel 270, left 270 continuing 270, switch lip, right-front 270

 

Source: FIS

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