Competing in his fifth final in as many events this season and the first since winning the World Championship, the Australian Institute of Sport rider crashed while in third place, and challenging for second, as the six finalists raced towards the finish line.
Pullin’s fall, brought about by Frenchman Pierre Vaultier crashing in front of him, pushed the Australian down to fifth place.
Austrian Alessandro Haemmerle recorded his debut World Cup victory, American Alex Diebold was second and Austrian Markus Schairer, was third.
Until the incident that knocked Pullin out of contention, he and Vaultier were vying for the lead through most of their final run down the mountain.
“I got out and Pierre took the lead. I thought this was perfect,” Pullin said.
‘He’s a rider I can trust. I chased him down, riding really clean, holding good distance from the others, which was where I wanted to be.
“Came into the straight where I had excellent speed all day, opened it up, went to make a move down the inside on the straight, he cut across and we had a bit of a connection.
“That was a bummer because that shut down a move I was looking forward to take into the lead.
“Lost a lot of speed there, sort of dropped back into third, picked up speed again in the next two banks and was really drafting heavily and was looking to go for second over the last jump and just as we took off, I was coming in with greater speed, I saw Pierre hook his edge on the take-off.
“I can’t blame him for it because he is an absolutely fantastic rider and I’d never expect that to happen following a guy like him.
“He went down. I could see it was going to happen. I was sort of to his right and when he landed his board flicked off and on landing I ran straight into his board at about 70 kilometres an hour.”
Despite his unavoidable poor luck, the Australian was philosophical about the result, perhaps partly due to the fact that he leaves Sochi retaining the world number one ranking and with a bank of other positives.
Pullin, nursing a bruised shin which is not expected to cause further problems, said that his aim of starting the planning process for next year’s Winter Olympic Games had been achieved.
“There is a lot for me to take away from this event,” Pullin said.
“Plenty to analyse and develop a strategy for when we come back next time. The main thing is that I’m really fast. It’s always good to have the speed. I feel really calm when I’m racing and being able to make really good decisions.
‘It’s an extremely tricky course to race.”
Being second fastest in yesterday qualifying session and racing so convincingly in the rounds leading up to the final has given Pullin a lot of confidence looking towards returning to Sochi in February next year to chase his Olympic dream.
In other results with Australian athletes, Belle Brockhoff also won through to the final, her second in World Cup competition this season, finishing sixth.
“I had a lot of luck on my side coming into the final,” Brockhoff said. “A lot of girls did crash but it was a good day.
In the medal round, Dutchwoman Bell Berghuis crashed in front of Brockhoff, which presented the Australian with a quick decision to make.
“I saw Bell Berghuis crash in front of me and it was a case of either taking her head off or crashing into the gate. I crashed into the gate.
“The Italian girl passed me and won. I came sixth and I’m pretty happy with that.”
Italy’s Michela Moioli took the gold medal, with Frenchwoman Nelly Moenne Loccoz second and Norwegian Helene Olafsen third.
Australia’s Cam Bolton qualified to the knock out rounds but finished 4th in his heat, which meant that he did not go further in the competition. Bolton finished 32nd overall.