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Friday, February 8, 2013
Updated: February 11, 2:31 PM ET
Christiansen, Berg win FIS Slopestyle

By Ethan Stone
XGames.com

Norway dominated the podium on Friday at the FIS World Cup Slopestyle event in Corvatsch, Switzerland, with Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen taking first place in the women's competition and Johan Berg and Klaus Finne nabbing first and second place, respectively, in the men's event. Switzerland's Fabian Broesch brought home the men's third-place spot, while Great Britain's Katie Summerhayes and Australian Anna Segal rounded out the women's podium.

Berg now jumps to second place in the FIS World Cup leader board behind Englishman James Woods, while Christiansen also moves into second place on the women's side, trailing American Keri Herman.

This year the slopestyle event, which is part of the area's annual Engadinsnow Festival, was promoted to the World Cup level, bringing in the sport's elite on the hunt for World Cup points leading up to the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, which are now exactly one year away. The event received an additional boost in significance when the World Cup slopestyle planned for next week in Sochi during an Olympic test event was canceled due to poor snow conditions. Next week's halfpipe contest in Sochi is still scheduled, but pending snow conditions.

Displaying the same prowess that put her atop the podium at the X Games Slopestyle in Aspen last month, Christiansen linked together a rightside 720 tail grab, a leftside 540, and a switch rightside 720 tail grab in the jumps, with a k-fed (frontside switch-up to backside 270 out) on the down-flat box to round out her run.

"My first run went all right, and I tried to step it up a little on the second run," said Christiansen. "The landings were a bit flat and it hurt a lot to land."

Victorious Norwegians: (L-R) Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen, Klause Finne, and Johan Berg.

On the men's side, Berg's winning run consisted of a k-fed on the down-flat-down rail, a leftside double cork 1260 mute to japan grab, a switch leftside cork 1260 mute grab, a rightside cork 900 tail grab, a switch 270 disaster onto the down-flat box, and a switch 180 to backflip on the bottom "butter pad" feature.

Several of the top riders in the field failed to make the podium, including the Swiss duo of Jonas Hunziker, who had difficulties landing a rightside double cork 1080, and Elias Ambühl, whose forward and switch double cork 1080s weren't enough to win over the judges. James Woods, who's already won two World Cup slopestyles this year, was apparently unconcerned about making the podium at this event, choosing instead to put his style on display with clean 540s and 720s. It was still good enough for 10th place.

Several riders commented on the flatness of the landings, particularly on the bottom butter pad feature ("There's nothing butter about it," said one onlooker). With slopestyle's Olympic debut fast approaching, and skiing's regulatory body, the International Skiing Federation (FIS) still a relative newcomer to slopestyle competitions, many questions remain about how the organization will be able to represent freeskiing at the Olympic level.

"The level of competition was pretty high, but when you have a course like this, the riders can't ride their best," said Berg. "If the course had been better, then the level would have been much higher, and first place would have been harder to get."

"All the comps that aren't FIS -- the X Games, the Dew Tour -- are always perfect," said Christiansen. "FIS is still struggling to build courses with good jumps and good landings. They need to step it up a bit."

FIS World Cup Slopestyle, Corvatsch, Switzerland: Men's Results

Place Name Country
1 Johan Berg NOR
2 Klaus Finne NOR
3 Fabian Boesch SUI
4 Oscar Wester SWE
5 Jules Bonnaire FRA
6 Lars Bjoerum NOR
7 Elias Ambühl SUI
8 Evan Mceachran CAN
9 Aleksander Aurdal NOR
10 James Woods GBR

FIS World Cup Slopestyle, Corvatsch, Switzerland: Women's Results

Place Name Country
1 Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen NOR
2 Katie Summerhayes GRB
3 Anna Segal AUS
4 Emma Dahlstrom SWE
5 Maiko Tsuji JPN
6 Nikki Blackall CAN
7 Anna Mirtova RUS
8 Sarah Poeppel GER
9 Zuzana Stromkova SVK
10 Anna Willcox-Silfverberg NZL