By Darci Miller | Aug. 24, 2019, 7:41 p.m. (ET)

Chris Corning snowboards at the 2019 U.S. Grand Prix on March 07, 2019 in Mammoth, Calif.

 

While the U.S. is still very much in the grips of summer, it’s winter Down Under. The 2019-2020 FIS Snowboard World Cup season officially kicked off at the Winter Games NZ in Cardrona, New Zealand, and it was business as usual for Team USA.

Chris Corning and Red Gerard went 1-2 in men’s snowboard big air to start the season in dominant fashion.

Corning defended his 2018 title, landing a backside quad cork 1800 melon grab on his second run. 

“Being able to defend the Winter Games NZ title feels amazing, but I am happier we just got to ride,” Corning told U.S. Ski & Snowboard. “If we did not get to compete today, the contest would have likely been canceled due to weather. Also, I’m really happy to share the podium with Red. It’s moments like these that we work so hard for. Everyone rode really well and I was stoked to watch everyone charge.”

High winds caused a delay at the start of the competition, but event organizers and riders came to the decision to run the men’s competition. The women used Friday’s qualifying runs as their final results.

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Corning finished with a score of 176.25 across his best two runs, while Gerard came in at 161.25. Finland’s Kalle Jarvilehto finished third with 160.25.

Corning was the first to drop in for the Americans, and his 95.50 on his second run was the highest-scoring run of the event. A 2018 Olympian, Corning finished fourth in big air in PyeongChang and is the 2019 world champion in the event.

Gerard sat in fourth place heading into his final run, but landed a backside triple cork 1440 to overtake second place. Gerard is the 2018 Olympic gold medalist in slopestyle and finished fifth in big air’s Olympic debut.

The Winter Games NZ continues with the FIS Freeski World Cup men’s and women’s halfpipe on Sept. 6-7.

The next snowboard big air world cup will be held in Modena, Italy, on Nov. 2.

Darci Miller is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.