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Hefty winter storm forces FIS World Championship organizers to cancel snowboard big air competition

Tuesday’s winter storm also postponed qualifying rounds of men’s and women’s ski slopestyle event

Jamie Anderson, of the United States, celebrates after winning the silver medal in the women's Big Air snowboard final at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Anderson was one of many big air riders set to compete for world championship medals in Park City, but a massive winter storm forced event organizers to cancel the event (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

Mother Nature has undoubtedly had a say this winter.

So much so, in fact, that the early stages of a significant winter storm Tuesday forced the 2019 FIS World Championships to cancel one of the most attractive events on the calendar. Event organizers announced Tuesday evening that the snowboard big air event will not crown a world champion this week in Park City. Officials cite the decision based on the weather forecast and, “with the best interests of the athletes in mind and the remaining events scheduled to take place.”

“There is an awful lot of snow coming in to Park City in the next 24 hours and the temperatures are dropping fast. This means that we have had to take the toughest of decisions, cancelling one of the headline events of these world championships,” said Calum Clark, chair of the FIS world championships organizing committee.

“We looked in detail at every option open to us, but the organizing committee agreed unanimously that the safety of the athletes taking part in the competition is our primary concern, as is the smooth running of the rest of the schedule.”

The big air event was initially slated to take place Tuesday night at Canyons Village in Park City, but Tuesday’s winter storm, which featured high winds that would prove dangerous to athletes soaring high off the massive jump built at Canyons, forced an initial postponement. Officials made the difficult decision Tuesday night as a cold front is slated to settle over Utah in the coming days, dropping temperatures to as low as the single digits in the mountain regions.

Some of the sport’s premier talents were in town to compete for a world championship gold, including Americans Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson as well as Canada’s Mark McMorris, a seven-time big air medalist in the Winter X Games. Most big air riders are expected to compete in the snowboard slopestyle event on Sunday. The inaugural world championship ski big air event took place Saturday night in Park City. American and Park City resident Julia Krass won the silver medal.

The storm Tuesday also postponed training and qualifying rounds for the men’s and women’s ski slopestyle event at Park City Village. Ski slopestyle is now scheduled for qualifying rounds Wednesday morning, with finals slated to kick off at 2 p.m.

The world championship event that was not affected by the wintry blast was Tuesday’s parallel slalom snowboard event at Park City Village. And for the second straight day, Russian teenager Dmitry Loginov won a gold medal in whiteout conditions. The 19-year-old won the parallel giant slalom event Monday and took home another gold Tuesday.

“Thank you, Park City,” he said after winning.

Switzerland’s Julie Zogg won the women’s parallel slalom gold, defeating Annamari Dancha of Ukraine. Dancha’s silver medal is her first podium of her career. She’s been competing on the FIS World Cup circuit for the last decade. It was also Ukraine’s first-ever world championship medal in snowboarding.

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