[close]

James leads snow world championship charge

Halfpipe rider Scotty James looks the best bet for gold when the freestyle ski and snowboard championships start on Saturday.

James leads snow world championship charge

Halfpipe rider Scotty James looks the best bet for gold when the freestyle ski and snowboard championships start on Saturday.

Olympic snowboarder SCOTTY JAMES of Australia poses for a photo outside the Red Bull Racing garage at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia.
Olympic snowboarder SCOTTY JAMES of Australia poses for a photo outside the Red Bull Racing garage at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia. Picture:Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Scotty James and Alex Pullin will eye off some Australian winter sports history as they contend for their third world championship wins at the freestyle ski and snowboard championships which begin in Park City, Utah on Saturday (AEDT).

Halfpipe rider James has had an electric start to the snowboarding season, claiming victories in Copper Mountain, Colorado and Laax, Switzerland before blowing the competition away earlier this week with an X Games win in Aspen.


James, a bronze medallist at last year's Winter Olympics, is the two-time defending champion and without the men who relegated him to third in PyeongChang - American Shaun White and Japan's Ayumu Hirano - he'll be a warm favourite for the title.

Similarly, Pullin can also make it three wins and a fourth world championship medal if he can return to some of his best form in snowboard cross.

The veteran will compete without his arch rival and fellow Australian Jarryd Hughes beside him, the PyeongChang silver medallist a surprise non-qualifier from the timed heats.

Elsewhere, there's been something of a changing of the guard in moguls with Jakara Anthony relegating defending champion Britt Cox to second billing during the current World Cup season.

After a surprise fourth at the Olympics, Anthony has gone from strength to strength in the bumps, with a breakthrough World Cup win in the US this year and two minor medals.

"She has really stepped up," Olympic Winter Institute boss Geoff Lipshut said of Anthony.

"She has gained a huge amount of confidence from that Olympic result."

Cox, the PyeongChang favourite who finished a disappointing fifth, has a best World Cup result of ninth this season after taking six months off.

Men's moguls skier Matt Graham, the Games silver medallist, has one podium place this year and should be among the contenders for a minor medal despite limited preparation.

Aerial skiing meanwhile doesn't look to be the go-to medal sport it once was for Australia.

The team failed to land someone on the podium at an Olympics for the first time in 20 years in 2018 and will be without Lydia Lassila (retired) and Danielle Scott (year off).

Sochi silver medallist David Morris will come out of retirement to compete in the teams event while 2015 world champion Laura Peel will fly the flag for the women.

A total of 24 athletes will compete for Australia, which has never had a three-time world championship winner.

KEY AUSTRALIAN DATES FOR THE SKI AND SNOWBOARD WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS (ALL TIMES AEDT)

FEB 2: Snowboard cross final 5am

FEB 7: Aerial skiing final 1pm

FEB 9: Snowboard halfpipe final 5am; Moguls final 1pm.

AAP


AAP




Latest Stories