Runner-up from the women was Great Britain’s Zoe Atkin, who capped off a huge week for herself with her second-straight podium, after she claimed the win at X Games last weekend despite sitting out the first half of the season to focus on her university studies.
Leading things off with a big left 540 mute and including a right 720 opp tail and a switch right 720 safety later in her run, Atkin would earn a score of 92.75 for her third career World Cup podium
Third place would go to Canada’s Rachael Karker, who entered competition all but guaranteed of earning her first career halfpipe crystal globe, and left Mammoth with the globe and an exclamation mark. Karker earned a score of 91.75 for a second run that featured her signature amplitude from top to bottom, back-to-back 900 Japans – first right, then left – and a stylish corked 720 safety.
The podium was Karker’s 11th straight on the World Cup, dating all the way back to the start of the 2019 season, and the 25-year-old was finally rewarded for her consistently elite pipe skiing with the trophy that has seemed to just slip her grasp at the end of the the past few winters.
“I came into this season just really wanting to get the globe,” Karker said from the finish area, “I was really nervous coming into today’s competition, because of the wind, and I’m really feeling the wear and tear of the last few weeks on my body. I just wanted to stay safe today and get through in one piece, and it feels pretty good to get another podium and get the globe.”
Behind Karker’s 320 points on the 2022/23 halfpipe World Cup standings would be her teammate Amy Fraser, with 216. Friday’s winner Zhang would round out the season podium in third with 205 points.
IRVING’S LAST-RUN HEROICS EARN MAMMOTH WIN AND DECISIVE CRYSTAL GLOBE
Coming into the fourth and final halfpipe World Cup competition of the 2022/23 season, the USA’s Birk Irving held a strong – but not unassailable – lead atop the men’s halfpipe standings. With his performance on Friday he put to rest any questions about who the top dog in halfpipe skiing is this season with inspired performance on home soil at Mammoth.
Irving’s U.S. teammate David Wise lead things for much of the afternoon after an exceptional first run, and that score kept him on top through most of run three as well – until it was Irving’s time to drop.
Leading things off with a switch left 1080 tail grab, Irving would then go into a right double cork 1260 Japan, into a huge left double 1440 safety, and then a switch right 720 Japan down the pipe, before finishing things off with his signature left double flatspin 720 for a score of 94.00 and his fourth career World Cup victory.