NZ Winter Games: Big air and big hair

Robin Macdonald

Joss Christensen took first at the big air finals Saturday in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Winter Games wrapped up Saturday with men's and women's big air at the Cardrona ski field. Devin Logan took her third win for the week in the women's field and Joss Christensen took the top spot for the men.

The format for the men's contest was a three run, best combined two scores head-to-head knock out, without repeating the same trick. In men's qualifiers, Gus Kenworthy's double 14 mute and double 12 scored big bringing him in on top in heat one. In heat two, Christensen was the man to beat with a clean switch double 1080 blunt and a double 12 high mute. David Wise, Nick Goepper, Chris Laker, PC Fosse, Kai Mahler and New Zealand's own Jossi Wells also made their way into the knockout final round.

In the semi finals, Goepper was knocked out by Christensen in the first two jumps, Fosse beat Kenworthy, Wells beat Laker, and Mahler beat Wise with his first two jumps.

The finals saw a head-to-head battle with Mahler, Christensen, Wells and Fosse. Mahler fell on a switch double misty 12 attempt in both runs allowing Christensen to win with a switch right 1080 and a stomped double cork 1260 mute nose. Wells and Fosse battled it out for third place, with Wells coming out on top with a double cork 1260 mute and a switch double cork 1080 safety grab.

Robin Macdonald

Colby West showed up for the "big hair" contest.

"If Kai had landed his tricks he would have taken the cake for sure," said Christensen. "I tried to do my tricks the best I could and it ended up working out." This is the first win for Christensen during the Games, and the third podium for Wells, who won silver in both slope and pipe.

The women's format was four runs and the clear winner was Logan, who won both superpipe and slopestyle this week, and did it again in big air with an amazing rodeo 5 and 7 tailgrab. Logan claimed she "got the turkey" referring to her clean sweep of the highest place on the podium. Jen Hudak, who crashed in her second and third run, put it down in her first and fourth runs for a second place finish. Rose Battersby, a New Zealand local and a newcomer to the world of big air, took third. "I'm so stoked to end in third place, and to have landed my 7s and 3s," Battersby said.

The highlight of the day may have been Colby James West, who was not able make it to finals, but stuck around and entertained the crowd between runs. West, who claimed his people told him it was a "big hair" and not a "big air" showed up to the event dressed the part. "I arrived at the hair-port about three days ago to perform hair-obatics here at this event," West joked. "I have comb this far why not give it my all?"

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