Mammoth effort by Wānaka pair

Luca Harrington. PHOTO: SNOW SPORTS NZ
Luca Harrington. PHOTO: SNOW SPORTS NZ
Wānaka freeskiers Luca Harrington and Ben Barclay have performed well at the latest round of the FIS freeski slopestyle world cup in California.

Harrington, 19, and Barclay, 22, finished fifth and sixth respectively at Mammoth Mountain at the weekend.

After a week of challenging weather caused delays and disruptions to the schedule, a window opened for the men’s field to complete a compressed schedule.

Harrington put down an outstanding run to qualify for the stacked 16-man final in top spot.

Barclay also put down a solid qualification run and went through to the finals in 11th place.

Conditions remained tricky for the two run final with gusty winds and flat light making it difficult for the athletes to judge their speed into the three jumps that made up the bottom section of the course.

Barclay put down a solid first run, lacing together a technical rail section that included a huge misty 810 off the up rail and three well-executed tricks on the jumps to score 79.88.

Harrington was putting together a strong first run, but came up short on the first jump which resulted in the judges deducting his score.

Barclay was sitting in fourth place coming into run two and knew he needed to dig deep to push into podium position but came unstuck on the second rail, so unfortunately it was a throwaway run and he ended up sixth after all the athletes had completed their runs.

Harrington dropped into run two with nothing to lose. He put down a run that included a unique front cork 450 "Screamin’ Seaman" Japan grab off the up rail, and left and right double cork 1440s and a right double cork 1620 on the jumps.

Harrington scored a 80.48 for this run to get into fifth place.

Olympic champion Alex Hall (USA) claimed victory ahead of compatriot Colby Stevenson and Swiss freeskier Andri Ragettli.

The New Zealand team will be in action this weekend at the Calgary round of the snowboard halfpipe world cup.

— Staff reporter