Kokomo Murase opened the 2021/22 season impressively at the Big Air Chur World Cup back in October by capturing her first career World Cup win. On Saturday the 16-year-old reached another career milestone when she opened the 2022 calendar year with her first career slopestyle World Cup win here in Calgary.
Kokomo Murase fired up her first run on the rails with a stylish boardslide pretzel, into a half-cab 50-50 frontside 360 out, and then a gap lipslide 270 out on the Toyota rail feature.
Flowing into the jumps, Kokomo Murase then stomped an off-axis frontside 720 tail grab, into a backside 720 Weddle grab, and then finished off her run with a crippler melon grab on the final Swatch side-hit for a score of 77.58 and the first of two Japanese podiums on the day.
“Today was tough because I was nervous before the competition,” said Kokomo Murase before receiving her traditional Snow Rodeo Cowboy hat at the awards ceremony, “But I’m so happy to win my first slopestyle World Cup today.”
Second place went to Kokomo Murase’s compatriot Miyabi Onitsuka, as the Japanese team’s most veteran woman grabbed her first slopestyle World Cup podium in almost exactly three years, riding with confidence that we haven’t seen from her lately.
Stomping a perfect half-cab on backside 360 out on the second rail followed by a heavy 50-50 transfer to frontside boardslide on the Toyota rail, and then going cab 900 melon, backside 720 Weddle and finally a classic frontside 360 indy to finish things off, Miyabi Onitsuka earned second place with a score of 77.18 - just half a point back of Kokomo Murase.
Third place on the women’s side went to Canada’s own Laurie Blouin, as the winner of the Snow Rodeo last time it was in town back in 2019/20 once again grabbed a piece of the podium with some more consistently strong riding.
With a rail section punctuated by a 50-50 transfer to frontside lipslide on the Toyota rail, Laurie Blouin would then stomp a huge Cab double Underflip 900 on the first jump, into a frontside 720 tail on the second hit, and a crippler indy to finish things off with a score of 75.73 and the ninth podium of her World Cup career.
With her victory, Kokomo Murase moved to the top of the FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe overall standings with 236 points, followed by her teammate Reira Iwabuchi in second with 172, and Anna Gasser (AUT) in third with 160.
Head Image: © Canadian Snowboard Team