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Just eking her way into the finals as the eighth-place qualifier in the women’s event, Onitsuka announced that she wouldn’t be messing around come finals time with the very first hit of the competition, where she stomped a perfect backside double 1080 to get the proceedings underway.

As the other riders put down their tricks through the rest of run one, Onituksa recognized the level of competition that she was taking part in and stepped it up in her second hit, landing a frontside double cork 1080 mute that she had only put down one previous time in her life, just over a month ago in Saas-Fee. With two jumps landed and in the books, Onitsuka went into the final run of the day holding the lead amongst the world’s very best riders with a score of 165.00, giving her the honors of dropping in last in the competition according to the new rule for this season that reorders the finalists for the final run.

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When neither Anna Gasser (AUT) nor Laurie Blouin (CAN) could put their final attempts down cleanly, all that was left for Onitsuka to do was send herself off the big Beijing jump one more time and ride home to her victory.

“The level of riding was so high and so good that all the other girl’s riding pushed me tonight to change my normal finals run,” Onitsuka said through a translator, after the awards ceremony, “I was going to do a cab 900, but I had to go out of my comfort zone and put down a brand new trick in the finals. I’m really thankful to the other girls to push me to this level.”

The winner of the previous two Air + Style big air World Cups, Anna Gasser would have to settle for second at this season’s event with a score of 158.00 for her back double cork 1080 melon and cab double cork 900 mute two-jump combo.

Meanwhile, Blouin would finish in third place, earning a score of 155.75 for a cab double 900 mute and her own version of the frontside double cork 1080 mute.

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Photo: Buchholz/FIS Snowboard

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