Double-Olympic gold medalist Jamie Anderson earned her fifth Laax Open title in Switzerland on Thursday at the FIS Snowboard World Cup slopestyle season opener.
“Today was really fun,” said Anderson. “I absolutely love to compete and it’s good to be back. I just wanted to go big, pop, grab and smile. I’m proud of myself for being able to stay mellow, keep it together, and put down the run I wanted to.”
Anderson’s performance came as no surprise, but overcast skies, wind, and snow added an element of uncertainty to the competition. The day called for low light lenses and plenty of blue dye on the landing to create perspective for the athletes. Anderson’s experience and ability to carry speed through the entire course served her well.
U.S. Freeski & Snowboard Team Head Coach Mike Jankowski was elated about Anderson’s performance.
“I’m happy to see Jamie get back into the contest swing with another win,” he said. ”She’s such a clutch competitor and a true legend. Her runs today were clean, technical, and going big was the name of the game for Jamie.”
After qualifying first in the semi-finals, Anderson had the luxury of dropping last. It became clear that many riders were struggling to clear the jumps, so she decided to put down a conservative but stylish first run to lock down second-place.
On the second and final run, Anderson had her sights set on the top of the podium and she successfully surpassed New Zealand’s Zoi Sadowski-Synott to take the lead. Not only did Anderson improve on her rails, but she increased her degree of difficulty by adding a perfectly stomped a cab double 900 Weddle into the mix. Anderson’s victory marks her seventh World Cup slopestyle win in 11 starts, as well as the ninth slopestyle win for a U.S. rider at the Laax Open since 2002. At 30-years-old and as the veteran in the field, this snowboarding icon shows no signs of slowing down.
Sadowski Synnott finished second and Australia’s Tess Coady finished third.
For the men, U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team member and 17-year-old Jake Canter stepped up for the Americans making his first World Cup final in only his third slopestyle start. He was no slouch in finals either, finishing in a respectable sixth place. Canter’s performance was highlighted by a very technical switch boardslide underflip 630 in the rails section, one of the heavier rail tricks of the day.
Canter shared his excitement about being able to compete at the legendary event.
“I’ve always wanted to compete at the Laax Open, so this past week was a dream for me,” said Canter. “Also, being able to land runs and compete against people I look up to really made every moment count. It was definitely a learning experience.”
Niklas Mattsson of Sweden won the event, Leon Vockensprger of Germany finished second and Norway’s Marcus Keveland rounded out the podium in third.
Up next, Olympic gold medalist Chloe Kim and the U.S. Snowboard Halfpipe Team will take to the superpipe Saturday, Jan. 23, to close out the 2021 Laax Open.