Colby Stevenson starts season with third-place finish in Stubai
Parkite finishes on World Cup podium for the first time since March 2021
Park City freeskier Colby Stevenson’s first run at his first World Cup event of the season was good enough to put him on the podium.
Stevenson scored an 85.68 on his first run of a slopestyle World Cup event in Stubai, Austria, on Nov. 19, and that score held as the third-best run of the day. With the third-place finish, Stevenson, who won the silver medal in big air in Beijing, claimed his first World Cup podium since March 2021. Norway’s Birk Ruud captured first place, and Switzerland’s Andri Ragettli came in second. Fellow Park City freeskier Alex Hall barely missed the podium with a fourth-place finish, while Parkites Troy Podmilsak and James Kanzler came in 16th and 31st, respectively.
“I’m stoked, for sure,” Stevenson said. “Always nice to end up on the podium. It was a tough event. The course was super condensed, really challenging… But it ended up being great. Definitely had to take a different approach about it. But I was psyched.”
Stevenson started his run with a bang, nailing a nose butter double 1620 for the highest-scoring jump trick of the day. It was a gamble for him, but it paid off in the end. Stevenson said that it took a lot of courage to attempt.
“I was so stoked to be able to do it because the jump wasn’t very big,” he said. “So, I was just really psyched to stomp it and be on the podium with two of the most decorated skiers out there.”
The other section where Stevenson scored very well in was on the final one. Stevenson approached a long rail, spun 270 degrees, grinded the rail and dismounted with another 270-degree spin.
“I actually did a little lesser of a trick, but on a longer rail,” Stevenson said. “At the judge meeting, we also discussed how that needs to be rewarded, rather than doing a harder trick on – because you can either hit whole flat down rail, or you can just hit the down. Some people were just hitting the down, and I was doing 270 on grinding the whole thing. It was risky for sure, but I had confidence in myself that I could pull it off, so they rewarded me for it.”
Stevenson’s second and final run didn’t go the way he wanted, scoring just a 45.17. But his first run held up, giving him third place and keeping him on the podium.
Stevenson is coming into this season with a lot less pressure. Last year, he was coming off a 2020-21 campaign where he won the slopestyle and park-and-pipe overall Crystal Globes ahead of an Olympic year. Out of the four World Cup events he competed in last season, Stevenson had two top-10 finishes, with a best finish of sixth place. Now, in the first year of the next Olympic cycle, he’s a lot more relaxed.
“Coming off winning the World Cup slopestyle Globe and coming into an Olympic year, I just really wanted to do well last year, and I think it kind of got in my head a little bit,” Stevenson said. “Definitely coming at it with a little more relaxed approach this year. Just really focused on landing these runs, not so much about the result. And I guess we kind of see how that worked out. So, I’m just going to take that mindset going forward and just keep having fun and enjoying it.”
Stifel U.S. Freeski Team athlete and Olympic champion Alex Hall secured the win in big air at Beijing, the same location where he clinched his Olympic victory in slopestyle at the 2022 Beijing Olympic Winter Games.
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