Starting out on the 12th of November, 2016, the world’s foremost professionals within the field of men’s freestyle snowboarding all flocked to Milan, Italy to compete in one of the most prestigious big air competitions out there right now. The competition in question is the 2016 Snowboarding World Cup Men’s Big Air contest, and this is a competition that bears special importance for a variety of different reasons. For one thing, this is quite an important milestone for the 2016 Snowboarding World Cup season, given that it is worth a lot of World Cup points to the finalists who end up winning and taking podium positions at the conclusion of the event.
For freestyle snowboarding athletes who are competing to do well and hopefully advance within the parameters of the Snowboarding World Cup, accumulating WC points is one of the most important objectives to think about. The amount of WC (World Cup) points that an athlete can garner from the Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy is heavily dependent on each athlete’s scoring totals at the conclusion of the event, and in this way the WC points value can vary a lot depending on how each athlete fares.
The competitive field that showed up to do big air battle in Milan, Italy was a very diverse and international field of elite male freestyle snowboarding athletes, with many athletes having a European heritage and background. In the top ten ranking finalists within the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, there were only two American snowboarders in the whole group. This definitely tells us that this was a truly international event, since sometimes pro events can be dominated by American athletes, though this was not one of those occasions.
The facilities that were used in Milan, Italy to host this men’s freestyle snowboarding big air competition were truly in great shape for the event, and it was clear to see that the athletes felt quite comfortable on the big air ramp during the contest. For any snowboarding fans that happened to miss the coverage of the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy, the final contest results and overall rankings will be included below.
1st Place – Marcus Kleveland – Norway:
Heading off the competition in first place position was Norwegian freestyle snowboarding titan, Marcus Kleveland. Kleveland’s career has really taken off in the year 2016, given that he has finished favorably in a wide range of events, with this first place win at the Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy acting as yet another positive boost to his career standings and Snowboarding World Cup rankings. Marcus actually exhibited something of a dominating performance at the Milan big air contest, and this is evidenced by the fact that he was able to knock out the second place runner up contender by a margin of about ten whole points in the final scoring analysis.
Riding with the bib number ten, Marcus Kleveland seemed like he was absolutely fearless at the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan. He seemed to be very comfortable as well, given that he was pretty much trying out whatever he wanted to, and having almost everything work out favorably for him. Marcus is really starting to establish himself as being one of the most rock solid guys in the freestyle snowboarding big air game, as there are few competitors who can even come close to Marcus in terms of being able to stick landings on the most difficult of maneuvers and trick combinations. Whether he is throwing massive flip combos, running inverse combos using rodeo-style spins, or executing precise mute grab and spin combinations, Kleveland always seems to land on his feet even when he gets into trouble.
For example, at one point during the Milan big air competition Marcus Kleveland appeared to enter an over-rotation on one of his tricks, and in spite of the over-rotation he was able to course correct and bend his knees low into the landing. By rapidly re-adjusting and lowering his center of gravity upon impact, Marcus was able to avoid a fall, keep his scoring intact, and correct from what could have been a nasty over-roll. Marcus finished out the competition in first place and with a total overall scoring value of 188.00 points even, earning himself a phenomenal World Cup points payoff of exactly one-thousand WC points.
2nd Place – Seppe Smits – Belgium:
Seppe Smits is yet another rapidly rising star in the realm of men’s professional freestyle snowboarding, and he was able to prove that yet again with his second place, runner-up finish at the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy. While Seppe Smits is a Belgian freestyle snowboarder, he definitely seemed to be right at home at the big air jump facility in Milan, given that he was able to rack up such an impressive points total at the contest. Not only was Seppe’s contest scoring quite high, but he also managed to receive a rather large payout of World Cup points as a result of his second place podium finish.
The Belgian snowboarder Seppe Smits started off his runs with a bit of a conservative overtone, clearly weary of burning out too quick or going too big, too fast. As he eased in and became increasingly more comfortable on the big air jump, the judges and spectators started to see much more ambitious attempts from Seppe Smits. Luckily for him, his ambitious and increasingly more risky attempts were seriously paying off and he was able to rack up a substantial points total heading into the latter stages of the contest. With a padding of points already at his disposal, Seppe basically went all out toward the conclusion of the event, throwing some of his biggest spins of the entire competition and even throwing a couple double cork combinations into his repertoire before it was all said and done.
Riding with the competition bib number of three, Seppe was unable to meaningfully challenge the first place leader, Marcus Kleveland, for his overall contest lead. Seppe put up some amazing tricks, and stuck the landings cleanly enough, but no matter what he landed it was not enough to outdo Kleveland who finished out a whole ten points ahead of Smits. Seppe’s final scoring total at the conclusion of the competition came out to 178.50 points overall, and an impressive 800 World Cup points were awarded to him as well. In this light, the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy was very good for Seppe Smits and his career standings heading into 2017.
3rd Place – Mark McMorris – Canada:
Making it into third place at the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy was freestyle snowboarder Mark McMorris. Mark is quite an experienced freestyle snowboarder, having grown up and trained among the wild, rugged, and charming alpine terrain found in his home country of Canada. Canada is known for producing some of the more elite snowboarding and skiing athletes in the world, and this is definitely the case with Mark McMorris. Mark was able to present a significant challenge to second place runner-up finisher Seppe Smits, given that he finished out only about five points behind Seppe.
In some competitions a five point margin might seem like a lot, but considering that many of the final scores from the Men’s Big Air competition in Milan, Italy were up above 150.00 points overall it is not a stretch to suggest that five points was a slim margin in this context. Mark McMorris actually ended up finishing out the competition with a total of 173.00 points overall, which was quite a promising score considering he had faltered somewhat on a couple of his landings. In terms of World Cup points that were allocated to Mark McMorris as a result of him taking the third place podium spot at the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air contest in Milan, he was awarded with a rather large sum of 600 WC points.
Receiving 600 Snowboard World Cup points was no small feat for McMorris, and as a result his career has gotten a major boost heading into the 2017 freestyle snowboarding season. Although this competition was an important one in terms of determining rankings, it is more of a qualifier in terms of what is going to happen as we move into 2017. McMorris was competing with the bib number of one at the contest, and though he did not take the number one spot in the rankings, he still pulled off some of the most difficult tricks in his entire repertoire. Spinning out a 1080 was definitely among the highlights of his big air throws at the event, and by all accounts his third place finish was well-deserved.
4th Place – Niklas Mattsson – Sweden:
Adding to the relative dominance of the European men’s big air freestyle snowboarding athletes at the Milan Big Air event, Swedish snowboarder Niklas Mattsson would end up taking fourth place. Niklas turned out to miss the podium by a margin of roughly seven points, making his fourth place spot a nice save considering that he was nowhere close to taking third, so surely there was no disappointment there. In fact, it is likely that Niklas Mattsson was feeling a sense of relief at the conclusion of the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air contest in Milan, Italy because of the reality that he only beat out the fifth place finisher (American snowboarder Chris Corning) by one of the smallest margins in the event rankings of just over one point.
So in this regard Niklas was lucky to have made it passed Chris Corning to settle in a fourth place, and this was a clutch outcome for Niklas Mattsson for the additional reason that a lot of World Cup points were on the line for him. Niklas concluded the competition with a final scoring total of 165.25 points overall, compared to the fifth place finisher Chris Corning who scored a 164.00 even. Because Niklas Mattsson was able to squeeze by Chris Corning to take the fourth place spot in the final rankings, he was awarded with a grand total of 500 World Cup points.
This award of WC points to Niklas Mattsson’s ranking is going to do a lot to bolster his standings, and help get him into a favorable position heading into the 2017 freestyle snowboarding season. Even though this Men’s Big Air competition in Milan has been a big deal, and is a major tour stop for the year, it is more of conditioning in the context of the massive upcoming 2017 season. With the Winter X-Games fast approaching, all of the pros are doing everything they can to up their profile and prepare for some of the most prestigious professional snowboarding competitions on the planet today in 2016.
One of the style elements that helped Niklas Mattsson so much at the 2016 Snowboard World Cup Men’s Big Air competition in Milan was his ability to find the optimal speed and carving rhythm as he makes his approach toward the lip of the ramp. This is a critical skill to have since many time riders will either underestimate or overestimate their speed off the lip, and this is perhaps the biggest contributing factor to wipeouts or serious errors on any trick attempt. Using his major strengths to propel him into fourth place was a very important development in Niklas Mattsson’s 2016 season wrap-up, and after this finish we are excited to see what else Mattsson has in store for the rest of the year.