Also to watch out for is Beijing 2022 slopestyle bronze medallist Tess Coady of Australia, last season’s third-place finisher here in Silvaplana. Coady has only entered one World Cup up to this point in 2021/22, but she made that one count, grabbing top spot in Laax for her second career World Cup win.
The above-mentioned Baird and Pepperkamp can also be counted on to be in the mix come finals time, with both riders looking to finish off consistently strong seasons on a high and lock in what would be the first top-3 finish on a World Cup ranking for either rider.
One rider who could very likely end up changing things up on the women’s slopestyle standings before the weekend’s end, however, is Laurie Blouin of Canada. Blouin currently has 160 points – 11 points back of Pepperkamp’s talley of 171 and 14 points back of Baird’s 174. With a win and one third-place finish in her two slopestyle World Cups entered this season – as well as a fourth-place result in slopestyle at the Beijing 2022 Games, Blouin is a strong bet to finish near the top this weekend.
Others to watch out for on the women’s side include Switzerland’s Ariane Burri, who’s fresh off her first career World Cup podium in Spindleruv Mlyn (CZE) last week, and Katie Ormerod of Great Britain, who’s been riding strong in training and looking to put it down when it counts after falling on both her finals runs at the same competition in the Czech Republic.
COLLINS LOOKING TO MAKE HISTORY FOR NEW ZEALAND
For the men, it’s currently Tiarn Collins of New Zealand leading the slopestyle World Cup finals after earning his second career World Cup victory in Spindleruv in impressive fashion.
Collins shot at his first career crystal globe got a big – if bittersweet – boost this week, when it was announced that current second-overall rider Leon Vockensperger (GER) will be out of commission for the foreseeable future after undergoing surgery on his shoulder last week.
With Vockensperger out of the globe battle due to injury and third-ranked rider Sebastien Toutant (CAN) not on hand here in Silvaplana, the closest rider on the rankings to Collins on the startlist this weekend is the USA’s Luke Winkelmann, who sits 66 points back of the Kiwi with 134 points. Winkelmann looked excellent last weekend in Silvaplana where he finished third, and he’s going to need either a win or a runner-up this weekend and a big misstep from Collins if he’s to rise to the top by the end of competition on Sunday.
Also still mathematically in the hunt and on hand in Silvaplana is the Netherlands’ Niek van der Velden, who sits 75 points back of Collins with 125 points. The same story applies to van der Velden as it does to Winkelmann when it comes to crystal globe hopes – a win or a second-place finish for him and a rough outing from Collins.
Add it all up, and it’s looking highly likely that 22-year-old Tiarn Collins is on his way to making some history this weekend in Silvaplana by becoming the first ever FIS Snowboard crystal globe winner from New Zealand.