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Iwabuchi, Kleveland and Gasser big winners at season finale in Silvaplana
Anna Gasser (AUT) ends the 2020/21 FIS World Cup season as the big winner with two crystal globes - for slopestyle and Park & Pipe overall.
: / Mateusz Kielpinski / FIS Snowboard
Sunday, March 28, 2021
The final event of the 2020/21 FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe season took to the slopes of a brand-new venue for the world’s best riders, and the slopestyle competition that went down on the unique and exciting course at Silvaplana’s Corvatsch 3303 resort did not disappoint. In the end, Reira Iwabuchi (JPN) and Marcus Kleveland (NOR) would take the wins with standout performances on Sunday, while Kleveland and Anna Gasser (AUT) would end the season as the big winners with double crystal globe finishes.
After the originally planned final event of the season in Spindleruv Mlyn (CZE) was cancelled due to pandemic restrictions in the region, Silvaplana stepped up at the last minute with an offer to host the
FIS Snowboard World Cup finals
in conjunction with the long-running FIS Freeski World Cup event that was already scheduled for the same weekend.
As it turned out, this arrangement could not have gone much better for any party involved, with the course crews and organisers in Silvaplana providing a competition venue that was widely praised throughout the week mand allowing a heavy field of the world’s finest one more opportunity to showcase their stuff in what has been a challenging season for everybody.
Iwabuchi saves her best of 2020/21 for last
One of the most consistent riders on tour since she first hit the World Cup in the 2017/18 season, Japan’s
came into competition in Silvaplana on something of a cold streak after finishing 20th in the
Aspen 2021 World Championships
slopestyle, eighth in the big air, and then sitting out the
Aspen slopestyle World Cup
to rest after taking some hard slams in her time there in the USA.
However, on Sunday in Silvaplana the 19 year-old was back to her old self once again, putting down the kind of big airs and progressive tricks we’ve come to expect from her, with her consistency and style on full display.
The top rider from the morning’s qualification action, Iwabuchi dropped last in run one and put it down clean, beginning with a frontside lipslide 270 out, into a backside air on the quarterpipe, then laid down a front bluntslide 270 out to finish off the top section. Then, heading into the jumps, she started off with frontside double cork 900 indy, into a cab 900 stalefish, and then a backside double 1080 weddle, before finishing things off with frontside crippler on the shark fin hit at the bottom to earn the only women’s score in the 90’s - a 91.00 to finish the season off with a victory.
“I struggled a little bit to get on the podium this year,” Iwabuchi said following her win, “I was worried at the start every competition this season, but I’m happy to get the first place this time. This course (in Silvaplana) was really interesting and I really loved it, I was able to do some good tricks.”
Second place on the day went to Iwabuchi’s 16 year-old teammate
, for her first-ever World Cup slopestyle podium and her second podium of the season along with her second-place finish at the Kreischberg big air. With Sunday’s performance Murase was able to leap into second place and silver medal position on both the slopestyle and the Park & Pipe overall final rankings.
Third place for the women went to Australia’s
, which she added to her third place at the Laax Open (SUI) World Cup and her third at the Aspen 2021 World Championships to cap off the best season of her young career. With Sunday’s podium Coady finished up 2020/21 with the slopestyle bronze medal for the season, while finishing sixth on the overall rankings.
Which brings us to
of Austria who, though she finished just off the podium in fourth on Sunday in Silvaplana, was the season’s top rider on both the slopestyle and Park & Pipe overall final rankings, and stood holding both crystal globes by the day’s end. With a fifth place back in January in
, a win last weekend at the Aspen World Cup, and today’s fourth, as well as a third-place finish at the
(AUT) big air, Gasser finished the season with 195 slopestyle points and 255 points total to put her just ahead of Murase’s 166 in slopestyle and 246 total points.
“I’m so happy to get the two globes today,” Gasser said following the awards ceremony, “It was such a fun contest today and the level of riding was insane, so I’m not even that sad about the fourth place…especially now that I’ve got the two globes! It was a difficult season with the whole coronavirus situation, not knowing what was going to happen. And for myself, I had some highs but also some bad results that I wasn’t really used to - a lot of just missing the podium. But I think by getting the globes I showed I was at least consistent. This spring and summer I’m going to be working hard to come back even stronger next season.”
finished the season in third place on the women’s Park & Pipe overall standings with 200 points.
Kleveland head and shoulders above the field for third straight win
From the beginning to the season where he almost didn’t have enough FIS points to compete at the big air opener in Kreischberg (and ended up finishing an inauspicious 47th there), to Sunday’s Silvaplana competition where he capped off a streak of three straight highlight-reel wins to finish the winter as the most dominant rider in snowboarding, it was a 2020/21 season of redemption for
Still just 21 years-old, Kleveland has quickly come to be considered one of the most talented and progressive riders to ever strap on a board, stomping one of the first-ever quad corks and reimagining what’s possible on a jump by essentially inventing the “knucklehuck” genre. However, when it’s come to slopestyle competitions, Kleveland has struggled with injuries and inconsistencies over the past few seasons.
All of that was put behind him in 2020/21, however, as he started his slopestyle campaign with a third at the Laax Open before claiming Aspen 2021 World Championships gold, then a win at the Aspen World Cup a few days later, and finally Sunday’s victory at the Silvaplana World Cup finals to cap off the season with the slopestyle and Park & Pipe overall crystal globe titles to his name.
In his winning run on Sunday Kleveland kicked things off with a frontside 270 boardslide, and then an alley-oop backside 180 melon on the quarterpipe, into a frontside bluntslide cork 610 out. Through the jumps he then took things up a notch, beginning with a frontside triple cork 1440 weddle, then a backside triple cork 1620 melon, then a cab triple cork 1620 melon, and finally a 50-50 backside 540 out on the “Elephant tusk” rail to finish things off.
“It feels unreal just to be back competing when the body feels good,” Kleveland said after his victory-lap final run, “To be able to go back home now with another win feels incredible. (To win the globes) wasn’t my goal for the season. I was just trying to get back to the top again, get comfortable with riding again, and the globes are basically just a bonus. I’m super happy for that.”
Oh, and if you want to talk about consistency - in all of his last three slopestyle competitions Kleveland also qualified in first place, which is to say that no rider even came close to stomping as many runs at as high a level a Kleveland did this season.
Second place in Sunday’s competition went to Canada’s
, as the 18 year-old who only just graduated to Canada’s national team this season proved his mettle with his second World Cup podium. With the result, Brearley made a couple of huge moves up the rankings, ending up in second on the slopestyle standings and taking bronze on the Park & Pipe overall standings.
Third place for the men went to seven-time crystal globe winner
of the USA, for his first top-3 World Cup finish since his win at last year’s Atlanta big air competition.
Finishing in third on the slopestyle final rankings behind Kleveland and Brearley was
of Germany, while it was Japanese halfpipe ace
who completed the men’s Park & Pipe overall podium, earning the season silver medal behind Kleveland.
To cap off the extended end-of-season prize-giving ceremony we saw Japan earn the FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe Nations Cup, while the Austrians on hand claimed the Overall Nations Cup on behalf of their compatriots across all FIS Snowboard events.
•Reira Iwabuchi (JPN) - frontside lipslide 270 out, backside air, front bluntslide 270, front double cork 900 indy, cab 900 stalefish, back double cork 1080 weddle, frontside crippler
•Kokomo Murase (JPN) - front lipslide 270, backside air, frontside 2 on 2 out, cab 5 indy, front 7 melon, back dub 10 weddle, wildcat
•Tess Coady (AUS) - switch backside blunt 270 out, cab 360 weddle, front 180 on 360 out, switch backside 900 melon, front 720 melon to tail, back 720 weddle, frontside crippler
•Marcus Kleveland (USA) - front 270 to boardslide, alley-oop backside 180 melon, front bluntslide cork 610 out, frontside triple 1440 weddle, backside triple 1620 melon, cab triple 16 melon, 50-back 5 out
•Liam Brearley (CAN) - switch backside bluntslide, switch up 270 out on the transfer rail, front 720 melon, switch front 270 to switch on the elbow rail, cab 1440 indy, switch back 1260 stale, back triple 1440 indy, boardslide cork 450 melon/tweak out
•Chris Corning (USA) - switch frontside 180 to 50-50 to frontboard 270 out on the double kink, alley-oop back 180 weddle, frontside 180 on switch backside 360 off, cab 1260 nose, front 1440 chicken salad, back triple 1440 melon, 50-50 back rodeo 540 nose grab
Full Silvaplana results
Final 2020/21 World Cup standings
More World Cup Silvaplana press resources
Follow FIS Snowboard events on their
Markus Kleveland | 1st place | Slopestyle | Silvaplana | FIS Snowboard
Reira Iwabuchi | 1st place | Slopestyle | Silvaplana | FIS Snowboard
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