Snowboard Big Air: Monster Energy’s Kokomo Murase Takes Home First Place in Women’s
The festival atmosphere was off the charts in Chur on Saturday night. For the main event, the Snowboard Big Air finals stoked the crowd with stylish airs courtesy of world elite riders. In the women’s final, eight riders hailing from Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, and Japan were looking to post the highest scores across three runs. Winners were crowned based on the sum of their two highest-scoring Big Air attempts.
Monster Energy’s Kokomo Murase came to Chur fully focused on making it count for the upcoming Olympic Games. On her first attempt, Murase stomped a clean backside double cork 1080 Weddle grab for 87.75 points. She kept her momentum on Run 2 by landing a frontside double cork 900 Weddle for 86.00 points and the lead.
As the action moved into third and last trick attempts, Murase was at risk of being bumped into second place by 2021 slopestyle and overall crystal globe winner Anna Gasser. But when Gasser missed the landing on her trick, Murase was locked in as the winner. Taking her final run as a victory lap, Murase ended her performance at Chur with a spectacular 1260 Weddle grab for the raging crowd. She finished in first place with a total score of 173.75 points.
“I’m so happy. I was very, very nervous because everyone was riding so good today. I’m just looking forward to doing my best riding in every competition leading up to the Olympics and then to do my best there in Beijing,” said Monster Energy’s Murase upon claiming first place at Big Air Chur Festival 2021.
Saturday’s victory marks Murase’s first FIS World Cup win. Despite her young age, Murase has emerged as a dominant force on the Big Air and Slopestyle circuit. She became the youngest Winter X Games athlete ever to win a gold medal at age 13 and made history at X Games Norway 2018 as the first girl to land a 1260 double cork in competition. Murase is a pacesetter for progression in freestyle snowboarding and currently owns five X Games medals (1 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze) across Slopestyle and Big Air disciplines.
As the weekend’s final event, the Men’s Snowboard Big Air final ended Big Air Chur Festival with an epic showdown. Ten top riders from Finland, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States dug deep into their bag of tricks to claim the win and valuable Olympics qualifier points.
When all was said and done, crowd favorite and Monster Energy team rider Rene Rinnekangas from Iisalmi, Finland, walked away with a strong second-place finish. Cheered on by the crowd chanting “Rene! Rene!” the 22-year-old put his creative trick selection and fluid style on full display.
On his first attempt over the Big Air jump, Rinnekangas blasted a perfect backside 1620 melon grab – landing backward after fast-spinning rotations – for 90.75 points and an early lead. On Run 2, the Finnish pro could only post 50.25 points for a frontside 1080 melon and found himself bumped from the top spot.
Rinnekangas came within reach of reclaiming first place on his third attempt with a fast-spinning 1440 lien air but could not secure a clean landing. He finished in second place with a total score of 141 points with Switzerland’s Jonas Boesiger taking the win.
“It feels amazing, for sure. The jump was pretty hard to ride today, the take-off was a bit soft and I think a lot of people struggled with that and couldn’t do their best tricks, so I’m really stoked I was able to land two runs. I’m stoked about the first trick. I was lucky to find a good line and land that one,” said Rinnekangas upon claiming his first-ever World Cup podium finish.
Also claiming a podium spot in Men’s Big Air, 27-year-old Sven Thorgren from Stockholm, Sweden, jumped into third place on his final trick. After starting his night on a solid foundation with a perfect backside 1080 on his first run, followed by a frontside double cork 1080 mute on his second attempt. Next, Thorgren pulled out a banger on Run 3: A flat-spinning backside 1440 stalefish earned standing ovations from the raucous crowd and 86.00 points to bring the Swedish ripper’s overall score to 134.00 points.
Known for his video edits with the Scandalnavians crew, Thorgren is a podium favorite at A-list competitions. He currently owns seven X Games medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze).