Most people would probably be surprised to learn that, before what has turned into the most successful season, Killi was contemplating not competing this winter at all.
“I was struggling with my mental health (before the season),” Killi said from the finish area just after the awards ceremony, “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to continue skiing, but I decided I would just travel with the team to see if I changed my mind. At some point I decided that I just wanted to do slopestyle comps, and now I have three slopestyle wins and I’m so, so happy. I can’t believe it. It makes me so much more motivated to keep skiing.
“Opening up to my team and my friends and family that I had kind of lost motivation actually really helped me to feel better about what I was going through. Now I’m making my own choices about skiing and it’s made me more relaxed about it.”
As mentioned, with a score of 82.00 it was Kirsty Muir who gave Killi the strongest challenge of the day on Saturday, as the 18-year-old followed up her top qualifying performance on Thursday with another strong day at the Mammoth venue on Saturday.
Super smooth through the rails and finishing her run off with a right corked 720 safety to left corked 900 tail grab on the final two jumps, Muir would easily earn her second career World Cup podium while moving herself up into fourth place on the slopestyle World Cup rankings.
Finally, third place for the women with a score of 70.80 was World Cup rookie Ruby Star Andrews (NZL), who dropped in on just the second World Cup competition of her young career and walked away with her first career podium.
Last season’s Leysin 2022 Junior World Champion in slopestyle, Andrews has made the transition to the World Cup tour look easy, stomping a Mammoth finals run highlighted by her stylish rail section where she went left slide frontside 270 out on the first rail, switch right 270 on the down, and then left backswap continuing 270 out on the rainbow rail.
With two World Cup slopestyle competition left in the season, Killi has a perfect 300 points, putting her 140 clear of Sarah Hoefflin (SUI) and her 160.
RUUD LEADS NORWEGIAN 1-2 FOR THE MEN
Over on the men’s side of things the Norwegian celebration carried on strong, as the phenom Birk Ruud returned to the top of the podium, where he was joined by his good friend and teammate Sebastian Schjerve in second place.
Ruud is having a World Cup season for the ages so far in 2022/23, with four victories in five World Cup starts – two big air wins and two in slopestyle. The only blemish on his perfect campaign is the third-place finish he earned in Laax two weeks – which was, interestingly, the first time he’s ever finished third in his international career.
However, that’s the past and Mammoth is the present, where Ruud kicked off his run with a left nosebutter 450 on to pretzel 270 out, switch right 270 on to pretzel 450 out, then a left 270 on to continuing 630 out on the rainbow rail, Through the jumps he then went switch right bio 900 safety, right double 1260 safety, switch left double 1620 mute, and finally a left double bio 1440 mute to finish things off with a score of 94.80.