Johnstone, the FIS reigning half pipe World Champion, ended a grueling competition schedule fewer than 1.5 points away from a bronze medal but was pleased with his performance in his first hit out for the season.
The event, part of the snowboard specialist series Ticket To Ride (TTR), was won by Russian-born Swiss rider Iouri “ipod” Podladtchikov, who picked up $40,000 in prize money to go with the title. Americans Matt Ladley and Louie Vito took home the silver and bronze medals.
Although Johnstone, an Australian Institute of Sport / NWS Institute of Sport scholarship holder, was unlucky not to have won a medal, the 22-year-old from NSW’s Perisher resort, rode impressively.
He endured four rounds of competition in five days, unlike the Swiss rider who competed twice in the same period, due to rules involving TTR rankings and seedings. Ladley competed three times while Vito rode in two rounds.
AIS half pipe program coach Ben Alexander said that he was particularly pleased with the way Johnstone handled the number of times he competed during this event.
“Normally you rock up to an event, train for two days and compete. Nate competed in pre-qualifying, qualifying, the semi and today’s final,” Alexander said.
“I was really pleased with his result in such a high quality field and that all of the off season fitness work that he did meant that he came through this pretty well physically.”
Johnstone now heads to Canada to compete at Stoneham on February 20.