Laurie Blouin (CAN) and Seppe Smits (BEL) have claimed the first snowboard titles of the Sierra Nevada 2017 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships coming out successful of the slopestyle finals.
Facing warm temperatures and therefore challenging course conditions which made it hard for the best eight women and 16 men of the Thursday's qualifiers to land their runs, the Canadian as well as Belgium rider finally put things together in their respective second runs of the two runs best one count finals to earn the precious Gold.
Blouin scored a 78.00 to snatch her career's first gold in what might have been the closest finish of a slopestyle final in the recent years with Zoi Sadowski Synnott (NZL, 77.50) and dethroned champion Miyabi Onitsuka (JPN, 77,40) placing second and third, respectively.
Laurie Blouin said "I'm pretty happy. It's been just an incredible week here. The weather has been on our side. It's super fun, I'm happy. I didn't expect it, you don't want to be too sure of yourself. But I worked so hard, and that just proofed me that the work that I did was worth it."
Competing under the watchful eyes of King Felipe VI. Smits repeated his 2011 win he had also claimed on Spanish soil (La Molina) with a score of 91.40 relegating Nicolas Huber (SUI; 83.25) and Chris Corning (USA; 82.50) to the respective second and third rank.
Seppe Smits said "It's crazy. I didn't expect it. I was trying to put a clean run together. It probably wasn't the hardest run we have seen today but I managed to bring it down pretty clean after I was struggling a bit in my first run on the first rail. When I got this one in my second one I was like 'OK. Get it now!' I'm sorry for bumping my teammate Sebbe [de Buck] of the podium. It was a crazy day with a level of riding higher that I expected it to be as it was so warm and slushy and everyone was struggling. I had a pretty nasty slam this morning. So I have been riding pretty soar all day, and then to land that run was just such a relief. It was crazy."
The UK's Billy Morgan finished in 13th on the 16 man final, having crashed out on both runs.
[All photos: FIS]