Photo: FIS Freestyle
Photo: FIS Freestyle

Halfpipe skier Sharpe lands World Cup gold; Read wins giant slalom in New Zealand

Although it’s summer in Canada, the nation’s freestyle and alpine skiers opened their seasons on the podium at Cardona Winter Games in New Zealand.

Canada’s Cassie Sharpe kicked off the pre-Olympic season with her second world Cup victory of the year. Sharpe sat in second after the first run with a score of 85.20 points, behind Estonia’s Kelly Sildaru.

Related: Sharpe lands halfpipe gold at world cup gold ahead of worlds

“I knew what I had to do,” Sharpe told FIS. “Kelly came out there with a really strong run, I just wanted to boost, get all my grabs and get ahead of her because she had a great run. I’m stoked, the judges saw what I was trying to do and I’m really, really happy.”

The Canadian was able to comeback strong on her second run to win gold with 91.00 points. Sildaru’s score of 90.20 was good enough for second, while France’s Marie Martinod (85.40) rounded out the podium.

In the men’s event, Simon D’Artois opened his season with his first-ever World Cup podium. The Canadian finished third with a score of 88.60, behind France’s Sochi 2014 Olympic bronze medallist Kevin Rolland (90.20). The men’s halfpipe gold went to American Alex Ferreria who earned 93.40 points.

Erik Read also topped the Winter Games podium, after winning men’s giant slalom in a combined time of one minute 49.77 seconds. Austrians Magnus Walch and Manuel Feller finished second and third, with respective gaps of 0.27s and 0.32s.