Luke Harrold (Lake Hāwea, 15) has claimed the silver medal at the FIS Freeski Halfpipe World Cup held today at Secret Garden Resort in China. Today’s event marked Harrold’s World Cup debut and the first top level competition of his young career.
Immediately after the medal ceremony, Harrold said; “It’s crazy, I can’t put words to it, coming here and getting silver is a massive dream. My goal was just to land my run and leaving with a silver medal, well it’s a silver lining!”
Harrold was the first of three Kiwi skiers to drop into the three run finals today, held at the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games venue. Despite it being Harrold’s first ever World Cup competition, he immediately made it clear that he was here to compete for the podium.
Harrold laced together an incredibly technical run with five different direction double cork tricks, including two rarely seen in competition switch alley oop double cork 900’s at the top of his run. Although he touched a hand down on one of his landings, the judges were suitably impressed by the difficulty and technicality of his run, rewarding him with a 85.25 which had him sitting in third position after run one.
Harrold knew he had room to improve and tidied up his second attempt successfully, with an improved score bumping him into second place.
When asked about his unique run, Harrold explained; “I took inspiration from Miguel Porteous for my run and I have been working on it for two years.”
The commentator stated at the start of the third run, “New Zealand has another Freeski Superstar in the making.” On cue Harrold dropped in and went absolutely huge on his second hit but landed a little deep, meaning he had to pull back the technicality of his third hit.
Regardless, Harrold had done what he needed to do and his second run score held throughout the remainder of the competition to secure the silver medal.
Alex Ferreira (USA), two time freeski halfpipe Olympic medallist took the win today, with Hunter Hess, also of the USA, rounding out the podium in third.
Beijing 2022 Freeski Halfpipe Olympic champion Nico Porteous (Wānaka, 22) was back in the bib for the first time since his history making performance almost two years ago at this very same venue.
After a gnarly crash on his first run, Porteous laid down a super creative run, putting down a unique line that included a super stylish carve into the left wall.
Porteous combined this style with his trademark hugely technical left and right double cork 1620s, and despite not landing cleanly, he showed he is back in competition form.
Fin Melville Ives (Wānaka, 17) finished in sixth place, equalling his best World Cup result. Melville Ives delivered a gutsy performance after taking a burly crash on his first run.
The freeski halfpipe team will be back in action next week at the Copper Mountain World Cup. They will be joined by the freeski slopestyle and big air team and the snowboard team in what will be an epic week of Park & Pipe action.
3 months ago