Local freeskier Finn Bilous finished fifth in big air at the Utah 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships on February 2.
Freeski big air was added to the World Championship programme following the International Olympic Committee’s decision last year to add the discipline to the Olympic programme for Beijing 2022.
Ten athletes - the top five athletes across two heats - made the finals. Bilous had a solid start, landing a switch triple rodeo 1260 and earning a score of 92.75 from a possible 100 on his first qualifying run.
“I knew I would have to put down some heavy tricks in such a stacked field,” Bilous said.
“Just before my second run Jesper Tjader (SWE) scored a 94.50 and bumped me in to sixth place which meant I wouldn’t have qualified. The pressure was on and it was pretty nerve-racking but I was happy to land a switch triple rodeo 1440 and just qualify through (with a score of 93.50).”
In FIS big air finals, competitors take three runs and must spin tricks in two different directions with the combined scores counting for their overall score. Runs are scored according to trick difficulty, execution, amplitude and landing.
Bilous landed a switch right triple 1440 and a forwards triple cork 1440 for a combined score of 179.75 from a possible 200 points.
“The forwards triple cork 1440 was the trick that got me on the podium at Winter Games last winter, but we decided it was time to try a brand-new trick. If there was a time to land it this would be it.”
He pushed hard for a higher score on run three, landing a right triple 1620 - four and a half full rotations in the air - for his first time in competition but lost points for a pole drag on landing, and would finish in fifth place.
“I’m pretty satisfied,” he said. “I put it all on the table today.”
“It would have been better to have landed that trick clean but all in all I’m pretty happy and looking forward to slopestyle next.”
The World Championship title went to Fabian Boesch (SUI), with Henrik Harlaut (SWE) second, and Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN), third.
As the Wanaka Sun went to print Bilous, Margaux Hackett and Jacob Tapper-Norris were competing in freeski slopestyle at the World Championships. Carlos Garcia Knight, Christy Prior, Mitchell Davern and Zoi Sadowski-Synnott were also in action yesterday in snowboard big air.