“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 Kokomo Murase, 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 Tess Coady, 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 Anna Gasser 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 Laax, a win last weekend at the Aspen World Cup, and today’s fourth, as well as a third-place finish at the Kreischberg (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.”
The USA’s Chloe Kim 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 Marcus Kleveland.
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.