Americans Alex Hall, Colby Stevenson and Mac Forehand each threw down impressive runs to claim three of the top eight qualifying spots Monday in men’s freeski big air, giving the U.S. a promising contingent for the final. Norway’s Birk Ruud led the field with the two best overall scores.
Hall used his signature Buick grab, a trick he invented himself, on all three runs to take second with a combined score of 180.25. The reigning X Games champion opened with a huge switch 1800, later improving the same attempt on his third run, and stomped a 1980 in between on Run 2, whistling while awaiting the 90.75 score.
Stevenson combined a switch 1800 Cuban grab on Run 2 with a nosebutter 1620 double grab on Run 1 to place fifth, tallying a score of 174.25. Forehand, runner-up behind Hall at last month’s X Games, posted the competition’s best Run 2 score of 92.00 with a stylish switch 1800 double grab Cuban to Japan for eighth place.
Ruud, third at October’s Big Air Chur, landed a massive switch triple cork 1980 on his first run, the top individual score of the competition, and then a huge 1800 mute grab on Run 3 to total 187.75. Sweden’s Oliwer Magnusson and Henrik Harlaut, who stuck a nosebutter triple 1620, placed a respective third and fourth.
All 12 qualifiers – a field that includes three skiers each from the U.S., Sweden and Norway – scored 170 points or better, possibly indicating a fireworks show could take place at the Big Air Shougang venue during Wednesday’s final, which starts at 10 p.m. Tuesday ET.
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