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Despite quite strong wind gusts in the morning, the mother nature decided to play along one more time, and the weather calmed down just in time as the first athletes were about to drop in the perfectly-shaped superpipe to kick off the final phase of the second World Cup pipe event of the season.

It was an early start for the halfpipe finals in a big day of FIS Snowboard World Cup competition in Secret Garden, with bluebird skies and an impressive crowd of local fans welcoming the top six ladies and top ten men who came ready to throw down in each of three runs of the competition.

On the ladies’ side of things, fan favourite and top qualifier Cai Xuetong took an early lead with her first run of back-to-back 5s, air to fakie, and back-to-back 7s for a score of 88.75 points, and that score would hold to grant the Chinese ripper her first victory of the season. That was her second time on the podium in 2018/2019 following her third place finish at Copper Mountain. With 1600 points to her name Cai will now head home for holidays holding top spot in the World Cup rankings and holding on to the yellow leader’s bib.

Xuetong Cai

Finishing just behind Cai was Swiss rider Verena Rohrer, who stomped a similar combo of back-to-back 5s and 7s in her run and grabbed her career’s first World Cup podium.

Verena Rohrer

Third place on the day went to Japan’s Kurumi Imai, also taking her first ever top-3 World Cup spot.

Kurumi Imai