With a perfectly-shaped superpipe and all world’s best athletes on hand at Park City, the final event on the freeski side of the Utah 2019 World Champs delivered an extraordinary show. Big tricks were stomped run after run and the level of riding was arguably the best we’ve ever witnessed at a FIS-sanctioned halfpipe competitions.
In the ladies’ competition the Estonian lady Kelly Sildaru was on an a mission on Saturday, upping her level from run to run as she pushed for gold, eventually becoming the youngest halfpipe World Champion of all time when she stomped her third and final run.
Sitting in third-place before dropping in for her gold medal-winning effort, the sixteen-year-old freeskier from Estonia decided to throw everything she had left in tank, putting down the first switch 1080 ever performed in competition by a female rider on her last hit. Fittingly, the judges rewarded her in a big way, with a high score of 95.00 points.
Back at the top of the pipe still to drop in was top seated and reigning Olympic champion Cassie Sharpe from Canada, who had been throwing the biggest and most stylish runs of the competition up to that point. However, the Canadian halfpipe legend wasn’t quite able to land her top trick clean and, knowing she wouldn’t be able to match Kelly Sildaru’s score, gave up on her run, leaving Kelly Sildaru ride away with the victory.
“I still can’t believe it” said rejoiced Kelly Sildaru “I wasn’t sure if I should go for a switch 1080, because I simply haven’t tried it before and I didn’t know if I was going to land it. I decided to save it for my last run and I did it. I’m shaking right now, because I’m so happy.”
Cassie Sharpe had to settle for the second spot on the day for her second FIS World Championships medal, while the US favourite Brita Sigourney rounded out the ladies’ podium in third place.