Anna Gasser, Mark McMorris register top snowboard big air qualifying scores at worlds, into final
Olympic champ Gasser is joined by PyeongChang medallists Anderson and Sadowski-Synnott in the final, while men's 2018 champ Toutant falls short in qualifying.
Gasser, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic champion in snowboard big air and McMorris, who has four X Games golds to his name in the event, put down the biggest scores on qualifying day at the FIS Snowboard and Freestyle Ski World Championships in Aspen.
The Austrian Gasser hit a 92.75 on her second jump to hopscotch past Canada's Laurie Blouin, who had scored a 92.25 on her first jump. New Zealand's Zoi Sadowski-Synnott, who had captured her second consecutive snowboard slopestyle world title in dramatic fashion earlier in the weekend, is third at 90.75.
While Gasser had won gold at the Winter Games in 2018 and Sadowski-Synnott was third, it was American Jamie Anderson who had captured the silver. A two-time Olympic gold medallist in snowboard slopestyle, Anderson barely slipped through to the final on Sunday in big air, registering a 77.50 to put herself in the eighth and final qualifying position.
Japan's Iwabuchi Reira was fourth among qualifiers.
“I was really nervous for this event," Gasser told FIS after qualifying. "The girls have stepped it up big time this year. I’m so excited for finals. I think we’re going to see a really good show. I know a lot of the girls are capable of big tricks and I have a few things I really want to try if everything works out.”
Men: Canadians McMorris, Parrot hit big jumps
It was a big day for team Canada in the U.S., with McMorris' first jump of 92.75 holding strong to give him the No.1 position out of qualifying. Canadian teammate Max Parrot sits second, hitting a 90.50 on his first jump.
McMorris is a two-time medallist at the Olympics in snowboard slopestyle, while Parrot won the silver in PyeongChang.
Both men are looking for their first big air medal at worlds ahead of Beijing 2022 - less than a year away. In 2019, Parrot was treated for Hodgkin's lymphoma, sitting the season out as he underwent chemotherapy.
Finland's Rene Rinnekangas is third, jumping a 90.00 on his first attempt, while Marcus Kleveland (Norway) and Justus Henkes (U.S.) rounded out the top five. Kleveland won gold in the men's snowboard slopestyle over the weekend, while Rinnekangas captured the bronze.
"I’m sitting in first now, a lot can change but I think I’m safe to be in the finals so that’s exciting and a relief to say the least,” McMorris told FIS.