It’s said good things come in small packages. Or perhaps it should be big things, in the case of Team USA snowboarder Hailey Langland.
The 5-foot-3 16-year-old had some of the biggest air in all the land Saturday at the season-opening big air world cup, placing second in Milan, Italy.
In big air snowboarding, riders launch off a ramp similar to what’s used in slopestyle and perform their most difficult tricks while also getting the greatest height and distance.
Performing a backside 540 stalefish and frontside 720 mute for her runs, Langland earned scores of 75.50 and 84.75 for a total of 160.25. Austria’s Anna Gasser won the event with a 174.25 and Sarka Pancochova of Czech Republic was third with 153.75 points.
The event will make its Olympic debut at the PyeongChang 2018 Games and Langland is adding her name to the list of medal threats.
The world cup in Milan was the first of three city events to be held this season, and it also marked Langland’s first event on scaffolding.
“It was a little scary,” Langland admitted. “I have never done a scaffolding jump before and I was really nervous, but I got to look down to all these people who came here to watch and it made me a little more nervous but also excited. I just wanted to get the people a good show and land the things that I wanted to do. So, I'm extremely happy.
“I got to ride with all the girls that I have looked up to my whole life. Coming right behind Anna [Gasser], who is one of my heroes, is great.”
The second-place finish came at Langland’s big air world cup debut. Her two previous world cup performances were in slopestyle, an event she is favored to make the Olympic team in, and she finished third and fourth. The 2016 Youth Olympian also has bronze medals from 2016 X Games and 2015 Dew Tour to her credit.