The win in Mammoth was Marino’s first World Cup podium in just over three years and that, along with her slopestyle silver medal win last winter at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, has put the 25-year-old once again in the conversation about the best women’s slope riders in the world. With a limited field on hand here in Calgary, the likelihood of Marino once again landing in the top-3 and moving herself ahead of current World Cup leader Reira Iwabuchi (JPN) is very good, indeed.
Also highly likely to find herself in the top-3 come Sunday is Canada’s own Laurie Blouin, Snow Rodeo winner in 2020 and third-place finisher last season. While Blouin finished a disappointing 13th place in Laax at her one other slopestyle World Cup start this season, she’s inarguably Canada’s finest slope rider, and gives the host nation one of their best hopes of a home podium this week.
Also a strong hope for the Canadian team is Jasmine Baird, who’s returning to competition after sitting out the last few weeks with a minor injury. While Baird may not be riding at 100% here in Calgary, even a less-than-full effort from the 23-year-old is usually pretty strong.
Also to keep an eye on for the women are Melissa Peperkamp from the Netherlands, who currently sits in ninth on the slopestyle rankings and sixth on the Park & Pipe overall standings, and Miyabi Onitsuka, who has three top-5 finishes this season, including third place at the Copper Mountain big air World Cup.
DOMINANT DUSTY ON A ROLL HEADING INTO THE RODEO
For the men the Calgary Snow Rodeo slopestyle startlist is full of heavy hitters, with the USA’s Dusty Henricksen leading the way.
If one were to custom-engineer an iconic snowboarder in a lab, that rider might come out looking like Henricksen. The recently-turned-20-year-old boasts a combination of an incomparable style and an outrageously deep – and ever-evolving – bag of tricks that is simply unmatched in the world right now.
With a runner-up finish at the Laax Open a few weeks ago and the win last weekend at his home resort event in Mammoth Henricksen continues to prove that not only is he the people’s champ, he’s a competition beast who can put it all together when it matters, week in and week out.