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'23 Freeski & Snowboard Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain
In Saturday’s Men’s Freeski Slopestyle final, 22-year-old Birk Ruud from Oslo, Norway, took the victory with a perfect run at Unbound Parks. Team USA’s Dusty Henricksen from Mammoth Lakes, California, clinched the win in Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle. Also, this weekend Brendan Mackay took silver and David Wise took bronze in Men’s Freeski Halfpipe, and Annika Morgan took bronze in Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle. Overall, Monster Energy riders claim five podium spots (two first, one second, and two third) in the elite freeski and snowboard competitions.
From February 1-4, the Toyota U.S. Freeski & Snowboard Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California, featured the world’s best winter sports athletes competing in both halfpipe and slopestyle competitions. One week after X Games Aspen 2023, athletes competed for FIS World Cup points and coveted spots on their respective countries’ Olympic teams.
Here are the highlights for team Monster Energy at this year’s Toyota U.S. Freeski & Snowboard Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain:
Men’s Freeski Slopestyle: Monster Energy’s Birk Ruud Claims First Place
In the highly competitive Men’s Freeski Slopestyle final, Norwegian Birk Ruud came in hungry for a medal after finishing fifth in the discipline at X Games Aspen 2023 the previous weekend.
Ruud opened his run with a left nosebutter 450 on to pretzel 270 out, switch right 270 on to pretzel 450 out, and left 270 on to continuing 630 out on the rainbow rail. In the jumps, he put down switch right bio 900 safety, right double 1260 safety, switch left double 1620 mute, and a huge left double bio 1440 mute for 94.80 points and first place.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I had a tough time coming in straight from X Games,” said Ruud, 22, who was fifth in slopestyle at X Games Aspen last weekend. “I only got one day of practice before qualifiers, but I’m happy to put down a good run and get the win today. Next is going home and getting ready for the World Champs,” said Monster Energy’s Ruud upon taking the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle win at Mammoth Mountain.
Saturday’s win marks the second FIS World Cup slopestyle victory of the season for Ruud. The Norwegian sits on top of the 2022/23 season leaderboards in first place. Ruud also took the gold medal in Big Air at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle: Monster Energy’s Dusty Henricksen Gets the Win
Due to high winds, the Men’s and Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle finals were postponed from Friday to Saturday. But when the weather still showed no signs of slowing down, winners were determined on the strength of qualifier results, with 20-year-old Dusty Henricksen from Mammoth Lakes, California, taking the top spot.
In his highest-scoring run of the qualifiers, Henricksen covered the course with a perfect run for 88.68 points and the win.
With Saturday’s victory, Henricksen takes over the lead in the 2022/23 FIS Snowboard Slopestyle World Cup rankings.
Henricksen won Slopestyle at Mammoth in 2020. The previous weekend, Henricksen earned bronze in Snowboard Knuckle Huck, bringing his X Games count to four medals (2 gold, 2 bronze). In 2021, Henricksen made his X Games debut by claiming gold in Snowboard Slopestyle and Knuckle Huck.
Men’s Freeski Halfpipe: Monster Energy’s Brendan Mackay Takes Silver, David Wise Bronze
High winds gusting over Mammoth Mountain almost shut down the Men’s Freeski Halfpipe final. But the weather ultimately cooperated, and the ten finalists dropped in for the fourth and final halfpipe World Cup competition of the 2022/23 season.
Coming to Mammoth Mountain fresh off a gold medal win at X Games Aspen 2023, 32-year-old David Wise from Reno, Nevada, proceeded to dominate the final session. But after holding on to the top spot for the majority of three runs, Wise found himself leapfrogged on final attempts by his teammate, 25-year-old Brendan Mackay from Calgary, Canada.
On his third run of the final, Mackay opened with a huge switch left alley-oop double 900, into switch right 900, huge tailgrab flairs both ways, and ending with back-to-back left double 1260 mute to right double 1260 mute for 93.00 points and second place behind American Birk Irving in first place.
This marks the third second-place finish out of four FIS World Cup events for the Canadian. Mackay finished the 2022/23 FIS World Cup season and Crystal Globe race in second place behind American Birk Irving in the top spot.
Mackay was joined on the podium by Wise in third place. In his best-scoring run of the weekend, Wise put down switch right 720 tailgrab, switch left 900, and a finishing combo of back-to-back double 1260 mute both ways for 91.75 points.
Wise is a two-time Olympic champion (2014, 2018) in Freeski Halfpipe and owns five X Games gold medals in the discipline.
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle: Monster Energy’s Annika Morgan Takes Third Place
On Saturday, the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle finals were cancelled as the high winds created unsafe conditions for athletes. As a consequence, Germany’s Annika Morgan found herself in third place on the strength of her qualifier results.
In her best run of the qualifiers, the 20-year-old from Garmisch-Partenkirchen strung together switch boardslide pretzel, Cab 180 to 360 off the cannon, and boardslide pretzel the curved rail. In the jumps, Morgan sent backside 720 tailgrab and backside 720 melon for 75.14 points and third place.
“Unfortunately, finals got canceled due to wind but still hyped to snag third at the Grand Prix out here in Mammoth,” Morgan told her Instagram followers on Saturday.