Second-place qualifier Xuetong Cai - and the rest of the field - had the unenviable position of having to drop in on their third runs after the USA’s own Maddie Mastro made some World Cup history with her second run, becoming the first women’s rider to stomp a double inverted trick in World Cup competition when she rode away clean from her last-hit double crippler.
Maddie Mastro would earn a score of 94.00 for her second run, holding what seemed like an unassailable lead into the third and final runs.
Xuetong Cai, however, would not be intimidated, dropping in for the second-to-last run of the women’s final and putting down one of the best we’ve seen from the five-time crystal globe winner. Starting off with a perfect method, Xuetong Cai then went frontside 900, backside 540 mute, air-to-fakie melon, before finishing things off with an outstanding switch frontside 900 melon, all of which would earn her a score of 94.80 for the win.
“It feels like…I can’t believe it happened,” an emotional Xuetong Cai said from the finish area, “I’m so happy. Everybody was riding so well and it’s an incredible day. I wanted to do that same run on my second run, but I struggled on my first hit. So I just put all my energy into my last run and it paid off.”
When top qualifier Liu Jiayu fell early into her final run, Xuetong Cai was rewarded with her 11th career World Cup victory - a result that not only tied her with Liu Jiaiyu on the all-time World Cup wins list, but also moved her into a tie with her Liu Jiayu atop the FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup leaderboard with 3000 points apiece.
After Maddie Mastro stomped her history-making second run, no one anticipated that she would end up in second place once things were all said and done. However, despite what must have been a disappointing outcome for the 19-year-old, she still walked away with her third World Cup podium of the season, and with the double crippler in her pocket and room to improve on some of the other tricks, her first World Cup win should be coming very soon.
Liu Jiayu would finish up in third place with a score of 91.20 for her fourth World Cup podium in four events this season.