Slopestyle wins for Olympic and Youth Olympic champions at U.S. Grand Prix
Two athletes at very different stages of their careers made their mark at Mammoth Mountain on Saturday (1 February).
The double Olympic champion was much the best on the day despite "a really sketchy practice" which forced her to tone down the difficulty of her runs.
The men's competition went to local teenager Dusty Henricksen, just 12 days after he took gold at the Lausanne Winter Youth Olympic Games.
Henricksen snatched his first World Cup win, and his first World Cup podium finish, with the very last run of the competition as he edged out Lausanne Big Air gold medallist Kimata Ryoma.
Anderson beats Blouin again
Top qualifier Anderson displaced her at the end of the first round with a solid run capped by a front 720 mute which earned her a score of 83.40.
Olympic silver medallist Laurie Blouin was second to Anderson at the Winter X Games last weekend in Aspen, but her hopes of a big score first up were wrecked by a fall on her final jump.
The Canadian went clean on her second run and her score of 76.16 saw her displace Ormerod from the runner-up spot.
Anderson was already guaranteed her ninth career World Cup victory before her second run, and a couple of errors did not matter as she backed up her Winter X Games success.
Interviewed in the run-off area afterwards, Anderson said, "It's crazy. It's scary warm so we've all got to be a bit mindful of our precious resources. It shouldn't be this warm in February.
"I'm really stoked. Super fun. Happy to be back in Mammoth. The park is riding good. I actually intended on doing a more difficult run but I had a really sketchy practice and I just took it back a notch and thankfully held through."
Lausanne 2020 silver medallist Melissa Peperkamp of the Netherlands was sixth, her best World Cup finish to date.
Henricksen makes senior breakthrough
There was a dramatic finish to the men's event as Dusty Henricksen snatched victory with the very last run.
In an error-strewn first round, Canada's Francis Jobin set the early target with 78.30.
Then Justus 'Judd' Henkes took over, the American stomping a back triple 1440 mute at the end of a fine program to score 79.56.
That lead lasted just a couple of minutes as Japan's Kimata Ryoma - who took gold in the Big Air competition at Lausanne 2020 - landed a back 1260 melon and a cab triple 1440 mute to take the lead with an imposing 83.83.
None of the top three were able to improve in the second run with just Niek van der Velden and top qualifier Henricksen left to go.
After the Dutchman failed to ride clean, Henricksen - fourth at the midway point - pulled out a great run with a cab double 1260 nosegrab followed by a superb closing back triple 1440 mute to challenge the lead.
There was plenty of suspense as the riders waited for the score, and it flashed up as 84.51 to give the American victory a day before his 17th birthday.
Just a week before his Lausanne 2020 success, Henricksen qualified first for the final of the World Cup event in Laax, Switzerland before finishing ninth.
This time, on what has been his home track since he was 12, he made the breakthrough.
He said afterwards, "I was feeling a little weird in practice this morning but I'm super glad we could get it figured out for the runs.
"This is absolutely unreal. This is the first comp my whole family's been able to come out and watch me so I'm super hyped they got to see what I do. I could not ask for more." - Dusty Henricksen