James Woods picks up second World Cup slopestyle win
British skier takes home a historic gold at the FIS US Freeskiing Grand Prix
James Woods on course at the US Freeskiing Grand Prix. Photo: Copper Mountain via Instagram
James Woods on the podium with US skier Keri Herman, who won the women's slopestyle event. Photo: FIS Freestyle / Matt Sklar Media
The Sheffield-born slopestyle star has shown that his historic World Cup slopestyle win in Ushuaia last September was no fluke, as he rose to the top of the field to take the win in the US Freeskiing Grand Prix in Copper Mountain on Saturday 12 January.
Woods posted a 93.4 in his final run to take a narrow victory over Russ Henshaw of Australia, but with a second victory in the five-stop FIS World Cup series, “Woodsy” now has a substantial amount of space between himself and his nearest competitor on the World Cup Leader Board. Although four months have passed between Woods’ first gold in Ushuaia and the victory at Colorado’s Copper Mountain, the back-to-back wins have given British skiing another historic first.
20-year old Woods, who cut his teeth on the dry slope at Sheffield Ski Village, is clearly in the form of his life as he conquered a field consisting of over 120 men to take the win in temperatures of -20C. He finished with the best run of the day, performing under pressure to put down a run that included both left and right side tricks and double-corks. If you don’t know what a switch right 900 high mute-grab is, you’re not alone – but Woods’ ability to get to the top of the judges score sheet shows that he’s definitely one to watch as slopestyle skiing makes its Olympic debut next February in Sochi, Russia.
The results in the men’s slopestyle finals at Copper Mountain were also notable in that the host nation failed to make the podium. The Grand Prix was vaunted as being the perfect chance for US slopestyle athletes to pick up all important FIS points on home turf, as the Sochi 2014 qualification period is well underway. Despite numerous high-profile US athletes in attendance, including Tom Wallisch, Nick Goepper, Sammy Carlson and Bobby Brown, it was the consistently impressive Aussie Russ Henshaw and relative newcomer Alex Beaulieu-Marchand from Canada who rounded out the podium. Another British skier, Paddy Graham, also finished cracked the top-30, finishing 29th in a field of well over a hundred competitors.
While Alpine skiing events are overwhelmingly dominated by North American and European skiers, the inclusion of freestyle events in the Winter Olympics (slopestyle and halfpipe skiing, as well as slopestyle snowboarding) means that countries such as Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand will be looking forward to Sochi 2014 with genuine medal contenders, as this latest World Cup shows that they can compete, and win, against the very best in their sport.
Stay tuned to Ski Club News for more news and results from a big weekend of wintersports, with British athletes competing across a number of disciplines as they aim to secure their places in the British squad for the upcoming Winter Olympics.
Follow James Woods on Twitter: @JamesWoodsy
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