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Marino Wins in Laax, Bea Kim Snags Career-First Halfpipe Podium

By U.S. Ski & Snowboard
January, 20 2024
julia marino
Julia Marino celebrates winning the slopestyle competition at the 2024 Laax Open. (U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

The Hydro Flask U.S. Snowboard Team took on Europe’s most prestigious snowboard event for an exciting night of slopestyle and halfpipe finals in Laax, Switzerland.

Sunny skies and ideal weather conditions set the scene over the Crap Sogn Gion for the women’s and men’s slopestyle finals. The innovative eight-hit course included unique transition features including a side-hit jump, a variety of rails and a quarter pipe that posed a technical speed challenge for riders. The unique course and a stacked men’s and women's finals made for an entertaining morning of world-class snowboarding.

Reigning slopestyle Crystal Globe champion Julia Marino picked up right where she left off with an aggressive first run that put her in the top spot from the start. Austria’s Anna Gasser and Germany’s Annika Morgan both landed top-to-bottom runs that threatened the top spot on the podium, but Marino remained unphased in her second run and extended her lead by three points. The judges awarded Marino’s creative line with a score of 83.08, securing the Laax Open title for the second time in her career, and her fourth-straight slopestyle World Cup victory dating back to last season.

“It definitely feels good to come through with another win,” said Marino in a post-contest interview. “This is always such an incredible course, but it is really challenging, so to be able to link that run together meant a lot. I’m really happy with how we all rode."

On the men’s slopestyle side, Olympic champion Red Gerard was unable to string together his first run but showed composure under pressure and laid down a clutch run two to land in sixth place overall. Teammate Brock Crouch put together a stylish top-to-bottom run and finished the day in eighth place, adding another top 10 result to his resume.

On the halfpipe side of competition, Olympic champion Chloe Kim made her highly anticipated return to World Cup competition and ended her first contest back in fourth place, but all eyes were on the junior of the team, 16-year-old Bea Kim, who landed her first ever World Cup podium ending the day in second place. The Mammoth Mountain native showed no signs of pressure under the lights, lacing together a textbook second run to earn a spot on the podium. Overall halfpipe World Cup leader Maddie Mastro, Korea’s Gaon Choi and Japan’s Sena Tomita did not start.

On the men’s side, Chase Blackwell was the top finisher for the Hydro Flask U.S. Snowboard team, securing his best result of the season with an impressive fourth-place finish against a field full of heavy hitters. Chase Josey was unable to put down a full run in finals but continues to show an ever-growing impressive bag of tricks after landing a cab-dub-12 in yesterday’s semi-finals, a first in his career.

The Hydro Flask U.S. Snowboard Team continues its World Cup campaign with the Toyota U.S. Grand Prix in Mammoth Mountain at the end of the month.