It was a frustrating week for snowboarders at the 2019 FIS World Championships, which came to a disappointing close Sunday. The men’s and women’s snowboard slopestyle finals, the last of the 10-day world championship event spanning three resorts in Utah, were canceled due to high winds. FIS officials made yet another difficult decision Sunday afternoon after gusty winds refused to die down over the course of the day.
The cancellation of snowboard slopestyle at Park City Village was the third cancellation of these world championships. Earlier in the week, officials canceled snowboard big air at Canyons Village as well as women’s ski slopestyle at Park City Village due to a massive winter storm that rocked the state. There were no snowboard slopestyle finals Sunday, but per rules, the qualifying results from Saturday served as the end result.
Nineteen-year-old American Chris Corning had the highest qualifying round of the men’s snowboard slopestyle event, therefore, he won world championship gold. Canadian Mark McMorris finished second in qualifying, so he took home silver, while 17-year-old American rider Judd Henkes won bronze.
“I can’t argue with the decision, there were definitely safety concerns,” Corning said. “It sucked, but it is what it is. I was really happy with my run yesterday. It was hard to see and probably one of the scariest contest runs I’ve had to do in a long time.”
Henkes said on the lift ride up yesterday his coach informed him that the possibility of a cancellation could come into play, which would mean snowboarders would likely up their game in the qualifying rounds, rather than holding onto their best tricks for a potential final.
“Obviously I would have liked to have ridden in the finals,” he said, “but I’m stoked with how it turned out.”
McMorris, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist in slopestyle, said Sunday’s initial postponements and eventual cancellations made for an interesting day of waiting.
“I think FIS made the right call to make sure the riders were safe,” McMorris said. “A podium is a podium, so I’ll go home happy.”
Zoi Sadowski Synott of New Zealand was awarded gold in the women’s snowboard slopestyle due to her qualifying run. Norway’s Silje Nordendal won silver, while American Jamie Anderson took home bronze.
“I was honestly pretty sad they canceled the finals,” said Anderson. “There are a lot of mixed emotions. I was on the podium, but I still wanted to have a chance to ride better. There were definitely some gusty winds and they made the best decision."
Team USA won the world championship medal count with 14 overall medals, including five golds, three silver and six bronze. Canada finished second with nine overall, while Russia finished third with six world championship medals.