Ending the season with medals and Crystal Globes! Overall, the Monster Energy athletes claimed 6 medals (1 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze) and three Crystal Globe trophies in the season finale in Switzerland.
This year, the outstanding slopestyle course at Corvatsch Park once again provided the backdrop for world-class riding to conclude the 2022/23 FIS World Cup season.
Here’s how the action unfolded for Team Monster Energy at Silvaplana 2023:
Snowboard Slopestyle: Taiga Hasegawa Takes First Place
This year, snowboarding was part of competitions at Silvaplana for the third time in a row. The stakes were high in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle final featuring previous Crystal Globe winners and Olympic medalists.
In this elite field, Taiga Hasegawa dropped in as a wildcard. But despite his young age – and having never claimed a World Cup podium spot or win before – the upcoming Japanese superstar proved that he could rise all the way to the top.
Putting down a run for the history books, Hasegawa hit the rails via Cab 270 on to 270 out the first rail into frontside bluntslide to floaty 810 out the launch rail. His outstanding jump line included Cab 1440 tailgrab, switch backside 1620 mute, and a fast-spinning backside 1800 mute on the final booter. Hasegawa stoked fans by landing a frontside 720 on the final halfpipe feature to score 92.00 points and the win.
Sunday’s Slopestyle gold is Hasegawa’s first career Slopestyle World Cup podium and victory. He finished the 2022/23 World Cup season in second place on Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle rankings at 186.00 points. His success contributed to Team Japan claiming the Park & Pipe Nations Cup for 2022/23.
The young Japanese ripper is on a roll this season: In early March, Hasegawa won the 2023 Men’s Snowboard Big Air World Championship at Bakuriani 2023. The Team Japan snowboarder also won the 2020/2021 World Junior Snowboarding Championship in Big Air. At age 15, he made history as the world’s first rider to land 1800 rotations all four ways.
Snowboard Slopestyle: Dusty Henricksen Clinches Crystal Globe Trophy for Slopestyle Season
The second big snowboarding story of the weekend saw Dusty Henricksen clinch the Crystal Globe as best Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle competitor of the 2022/23 World Cup season.
Coming to Silvaplana, the Team USA snowboarder had built a solid score on season rankings. Henricksen qualified for all six World Cup finals on the roster and secured three podium spots in either first or second place.
As a result, any finish above 26th place at Silvaplana would have sufficed to bring home the trophy. When all was said and done, Henricksen finished the Slopestyle event in seventh place to secure the top Slopestyle spot with 286.00 points and a 110-point lead. He also finished second overall in park and pipe rankings.
Claiming a podium spot in Sunday’s final, 28-year-old Sven Thorgren from Sweden took home the bronze medal. On his first run, Thorgren put down a frontside 1440 tail grab, backside 1620 melon, and Cab 1260 tail grab in the jumps, supplemented by a stylish alley-oop 540 nose grab in the pipe for 85.00 points.
This marks the second third-place podium of the season for the Swedish ripper and owner of 8 X Games medals (1 gold, 2 silver, 5 bronze).
Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle: Tess Coady Takes Second
Initially slated for Sunday, the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final unfolded amid blue skis and perfect course conditions on Saturday. On her first attempt, Tess Coady took over the lead with a flawless run.
Straight out the gate, Coady impressed the judges with skate-inspired rail moves. In the jumps, she showcased her aerial strength by posting frontside 900 tail grab, switch backside 900 Weddle, and backside double cork 1080 mute grab on the big third booter. Ultimately, her score of 85.00 points secured second place, with American Julia Marino taking the win.
This marks the third career FIS World Cup podium for Coady. She also took bronze in Big Air at the Bakuriani 2023 FIS Freestyle Ski, Snowboard, and Freeski World Championships in March. In 2022, Coady earned the Slopestyle bronze medal at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. In January, she claimed silver at X Games Aspen 2023, earning the first medal in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle discipline as an Australian rider.
Freeski Slopestyle: Birk Ruud Ends Record-Setting Season with Slopestyle and Overall Crystal Globes, Evan McEachran Takes Second Place in Men’s Final
In the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle final, 26-year-old Evan McEachran from Ochran, Canada, boosted into second place on his second run. Hitting the course with speed and confidence, the two-time X Games medalist put down a right nosebutter 450 to switch on the first rail, switch left 270 on to blindside switchup to front 450 out on rail number two. In the jumps, he sent a switch right 1800 safety on the second jump for 93.00 points and second place.
This marks the fifth World Cup podium finish for McEachran, who represents Canada in Olympic competitions.
McEachran faced competition from his teammate, Norwegian Birk Ruud. Rud came to Silvaplana fresh off winning the Slopestyle discipline at the Tignes World Cup the previous weekend. Ranked first on FIS season Slopestyle leaderboards, the Olympic gold medalist had a chance to claim the coveted Crystal Globe trophy for Slopestyle and had already locked in the trophy for overall season performance.
When the dust settled, his score of 92.50 points secured Ruud third place, a mere half point behind McEachran. And just like that, the Norwegian set a record by earning a podium spot in every single season event with a total of seven podiums.
There’s more! Saturday’s third-place finish earned Ruud the Crystal Globe trophy in Men’s Freeski Slopestyle as his career-first in the discipline. For the second year in a row, the Norwegian also earned the FIS Freeski overall Crystal Globe title. He earned the trophy with 560.00 points, almost 200 points ahead of Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli in second place at 365.00 points. Ruud now owns four Crystal Globes in total.
This concludes a dominant season for the Norwegian after clinching the Men’s Freeski Slopestyle World Championship title at Bakuriani 2023. Ruud also took the gold medal in Big Air at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Women’s Freeski Slopestyle: Sarah Hoefflin Swoops Second
In the Women’s Freeski Slopestyle final, Swiss team rider Sarah Hoefflin from Zurich dropped in as a favorite after taking home second place at the legendary Laax Open in January.
In front of a hometown crowd, the Olympic gold medalist put down her highest-scoring routine for 90.25 points and second place. In the rails, Hoefflin finessed an eclectic mix of technical slides and reverts. Rounding out a perfect run, she posted switch left 720 safety and switch right double cork 1080 mute on the final two jumps to take home her second Slopestyle podium of the World Cup season.
Saturday’s silver medal at Silvaplana marks the fifteenth World Cup podium of Hoefflin’s career. Hoefflin finished her season in second overall on the Women’s Freeski Slopestyle rankings with 280 points, while ending overall rankings at 340 points for the season bronze medal.
Hoefflin came into professional skiing as a late bloomer after earning her neuroscience degree in 2013. She shook up the freeski elite by winning Women’s Ski Big Air at Aspen 2018, and that same year, claimed the gold medal in slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.