Yater-Wallace, Blunck, Logan Podium At Ski Halfpipe Olympic Test Event

By Craig Bohnert | Feb. 18, 2017, 8:44 a.m. (ET)
Torin Yater-Wallace competes in the FIS Freestyle Ski World Cup halfpipe final at Bokwang Snow Park on Feb. 18, 2017 in PyeongChang, South Korea.

 

It’s safe to say Team USA’s halfpipe skiers are comfortable at the venue that will host the Olympic event next year as three Americans claimed podiums, including the top two men’s spots, Saturday in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Torin Yater-Wallace laid down a first run score of 95.60 to claim his second world cup victory in a row, while Aaron Blunck posted three solid runs, earning a 94.40 on his final trip down the Bokwang pipe to move into second place. France’s Benoit Valentin was third, earning 92.60 on his second run.

The 2013 world silver medalist, Yater-Wallace returned to the winner’s circle with a win Feb. 4 at Mammoth Mountain, California, leading a Team USA sweep of the top four spots. It was his first time on a world cup podium since December 2014. After that, the 2014 Olympian from Basalt, Colorado, found himself in a near-fatal struggle with a Streptococcus anginosus infection that attacked his liver, gall bladder and lungs.

He spent 10 days in a medically-induced coma that minimized his oxygen requirements, giving his lungs a chance to battle the infection. After two months off skis, he finally returned to training on Jan. 10, 2016, and two weeks later placed fifth at X Games Aspen; a month later he won gold at X Games Oslo, his first X Games medal in three years.

Blunck picks up his seventh career world cup podium, only the second away from American snow, joining a second place earned in August 2013 in Cardrona, New Zealand. Bronze medalist at the Innsbruck 2012 Winter Youth Olympic Games, he recently flashed PyeongChang medal potential by taking gold at the 2017 X Games Aspen.

Yater-Wallace and Blunck are now first and second in the world cup standings.

On the women’s side, Devin Logan, the 2014 Olympic slopestyle silver medalist, scored an 86.60 on her first run, which slotted her into second place behind France’s Marie Martinod, the reigning Olympic silver medalist whose 91.60 first run score stood up to extend her lead in the world cup standings.

Logan’s second podium of the season pushed her three spots up the world cup standings, landing at fourth with 141.00 points. Recipient of the crystal globe awarded to the overall world cup champion last season, she has a total of nine cup podiums in halfpipe, including three wins, as well as three slopestyle podiums.

Japan’s Ayana Onozuka took third with her 84.00, keeping her third place in the cup standings with 170.00 points. Annalisa Drew, fourth in PyeongChang, held onto second on the points table, five ahead of Onozuka. Team USA holds four of the top six spots in the season rankings as Brita Sigourney advanced three spots to sixth with her sixth-place finish Saturday.

Team USA put four men into Saturday’s final, as Alex Ferreira was seventh with an 88.20 while Taylor Seaton was 10th, scoring 67.60.