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Coady fights through Mammoth weather hit

7 February 2017

SNOW BOARD/SKI SLOPESTYLE: Our Aussie athletes are known for battling through all weather conditions with a brave face, but there is little they can do when the weather is so havoc it forces events to be canceled.

As was the case this weekend when a foot of heavy snow and wind gusts up to 100km/h saw events in the US Snowboard and Free-skiing Grand Prix event in Mammoth Mountain, CA, USA, shortened or cancelled completely.

The US Grand Prix also doubled as a FIS World Cup event counting towards Olympic qualification. Among the canceled and shortened events, in total four top-10 performances where achieved by the Australian athletes across three different disciplines.

The women's snowboard slopestyle managed to squeeze in the entire event before the wild weather hit.

The highlight was NSWIS snowboarder Tess Coady placing sixth in what was her world cup debut appearance.

The 16-year-old scored 72.66 in her qualifying run to secure her the final place in the eight-woman final. She wasn’t able to pull of the same high score in the final, but her score of 46.40 still secured Coady a remarkable sixth place.

The weather couldn’t dampen Coady’s excitement from her strong world cup debut.

“I really had no expectations going into the world cup today other than to come away with a positive experience and that I definitely did,” she said.

Fellow Aussie teammate Jess Rich was unable to advance to the eight-woman final and finished in 21st place.

There was no opportunity for a qualification round in the men’s snowboard halfpipe, so the contest on Sunday was the automatic final.

2017 X-Games gold medallist Scotty James was the leading Australian male in the event, finishing in sixth place. NSWIS riders Kent Callister and Nathan Johnstone also had good runs in the difficult conditions placing eighth and eleventh respectively.

Johnstone said he challenging conditions made it difficult to get the result he wanted.

"It's been a really tough week here in Mammoth," said the Sochi 2014 Olympian.

"We finally ran the contest but conditions were still pretty average, but better getting a result than walking away with nothing."

In the women’s snowboard halfpipe, Holly Crawford made a positive start to her first event of the season finishing in eighth place, just missing advancing to the final by two places. Emily Arthur was also in action with a 14th place qualification performance.

However only three of the six athletes contested the women’s halfpipe final as the three other qualified riders had to leave the competition before the windy weather abated and their qualification scores were recorded as the final result.

Unfortunately, the wild weather forced the cancellation of the men’s slopestyle skiing event which was to feature Russ Henshaw and Ryley Lucas.

Henshaw was looking to podium again after his bronze medal at the Seiser Alm World Cup last weekend, but the event was cancelled entirely with no results recorded.

The snowboard halfpipe athletes now head to PyeongChang, Korea for the Olympic Test Event World Cup, with the slopestyle snowboarders and skiers off to the world cup in Quebec City, Canada.

Georgia Thompson/OWIA

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