16-year-old Wānaka freeskier Fin Melville Ives has finished in sixth place at the FIS Calgary Halfpipe World Cup, matching his career best performance.
As the youngest athlete in the heavily stacked field, Melville Ives immediately proved to everyone why he is competitive against the best in the world, including decorated halfpipe skier David Wise, a three-time Olympic medalist, who is double Melville Ives’ age.
After the event Melville Ives explained, “It was so cool to compete alongside the best of the best halfpipe skiers in the world. It was amazing to ski with them and it inspired me to land my run and I am feeling really inspired for the future.”
Dropping into his first run, Melville Ives laced together a technical run that included both a left and right double cork 1260 and a stylish alley oop double cork 1080, with the judges rewarding him with an 83.50.
Having given that first run everything he had, Melville Ives knew he needed to step it up for his second run if he wanted to contend for the podium. He certainly did that, attempting a huge right double cork 1620 but couldn't quite stick the landing.
Melville Ives took a deep breath and dropped into his third and final run, once again going for the double cork 1620. Unfortunately, he couldn’t quite take it to his feet and had to settle for the second sixth place World Cup finish of his young career.
“I landed my first run well, but I did miss a couple of grabs and I knew I could up the first hit to the 1620, so that’s what I tried to do” explained Melville Ives.
Reflecting on today’s performance Melville Ives said, “Overall I am really happy with how I performed, I would have liked to put down the 1620 but I am having a lot of fun out here experiencing the World Cup competition scene for the first time.”
It was a thrilling competition today, with constant reshuffling of podium positions as the athletes continued to push themselves and each other. Beijing 2022 bronze medalist Alex Ferreira (USA) ended up on top, with teammate Birk Irving in second and Canadian Noah Bowman rounding out the podium in third.
Fellow Kiwi’s Ben Harrington and Gustav Legnavsky were also competing, with Harrington narrowly missing out on finals in his heat and Legnavsky unable to lace together a full run, despite having some huge tricks in his bag.
Fin will be in action at his Winter X Games debut next weekend, where he is invited to the prestigious event as the first alternate in the men’s freeski superpipe event.
One thing is for sure, the future is incredibly bright for Fin Melville Ives.