Jamie Anderson was in an unfamiliar position when she stood on the third-place step of the podium at the slopestyle snowboarding world cup Friday in Laax, Switzerland.
The reigning Olympic slopestyle champion, Anderson had only ever stood atop the podium in each of her six world cup podium appearances before Friday. The most recent of her four slopestyle wins came last February in Bokwang, Korea, the slopestyle venue for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games, while the latest of her two big air wins was last month at Copper Mountain, Colorado.
The Laax final began according to form as Anderson staked herself to an early lead with a score of 81.50 on her first run, more than four points ahead of the field. However, Enni Rukajarvi of Finland posted an 84.83 on her second run to overtake Anderson for her third-career world cup podium. Pushing the envelope in an attempt to pass the Finn, Anderson received a pair of sub-30 scores on her final two trips down the course.
That opened the door for Austria’s Anna Gasser, the overall world cup points leader, who scored 83.71 on her final run to push past Anderson to take second. It was Gasser’s second podium in as many weeks after winning last Saturday in Kreischberg, Austria.
Friday’s outcome extended Gasser’s overall world cup lead and created a tighter scramble for third in the standings. The Austrian has 4,800 points, well up on Katie Ormerod of Great Britain, who held onto second despite placing 19th in Laax. At 2,050 points, Anderson is fifth but is within 180 points of third-place Klaudia Medlova of Slovakia.
Julia Marino, who was tied with Anderson for fourth in the overall world cup standings at the beginning of the day, finished fourth Friday with her 75.53, while 2016 Youth Olympian Hailey Langland placed sixth, scoring 69.98.
In the men’s competition, Red Gerard placed fourth behind an all-Canadian podium. His 79.13 score was 6.38 points out from third.