The cancellation of finals also meant that Valentino Guseli would finish in second place at the Mammoth Mountain slopestyle and thus become a singular figure in FIS Snowboard World Cup history.
With his big air win in Edmonton back in December, his second-place finish from earlier in the day at Mammoth in halfpipe, and his second-place finish based on Wednesday’s Mammoth slopestyle results in slopestyle, Guseli on Saturday became the first rider in FIS Snowboard World Cup history to earn podiums in all three Park & Pipe events in one season.
In an era of competitive snowboarding that is the most ruthlessly technical and high-stakes that it has ever been, the capability to excel at just big air and slopestyle in the same season is out of reach for the majority of riders on the contest circuit.
To not only compete, week-in and week-out, in big air, slopestyle and halfpipe, and also to be among the upper echelon of snowboarders in all three of those events, earn podiums in those events, and do it in the same season – it’s nearly unfathomable.
However, for those of us who are lucky enough to witness Guseli’s relentless enthusiasm for snowboarding and boundless energy on a daily basis, his latest achievement has been nothing if not inevitable.
It was destined to happen, it did happen, and now the young Australian stands alone with a feat that may never be matched.
“I’m just super hyped to have landed my tricks this week and got some pretty good results,” Guseli said before slopestyle awards, downplaying his history-making week, “It’s a little bit unfortunate we didn’t get to have at it today in slopestyle, but I’m happy pipe ran and I’m happy with my riding.”
Pushed to consider all the great riders who had come before him and not accomplished what he’s done this season, Guseli dove into it a little further.
“Wow. I guess I’m not really feeling it too much yet, but I’m honoured. I’m so hyped. I just want to keep pushing – for podiums, wins, records…I guess (laughing). But really I just want to keep loving my life and snowboarding and hanging out with awesome people and being in awesome situations like this one.”
In third place behind Guseli on the men’s side of things was Chris Corning (USA), for his first slopestyle podium in almost two years. Meanwhile, the women’s podium was rounded out by Reira Iwbuchi (JPN) in second, and Annika Morgan (GER) in third.
With the win, Henricksen takes over the men’s slopestyle World Cup lead, while Iwabuchi maintains her lead on the women’s side of things.
Valentino Guseli, already the big air crystal globe winner this season, sits second on the slopestyle rankings, third in the halfpipe rankings and in a commanding lead atop the FIS Snowboard Park & Pipe overall rankings.
Watch this space.