Poor visibility in Laax resulted in the night-time final being cancelled, with results from the qualification round used to determine the final placings.Heading into the event wearing the yellow leaders bib as the number one ranked rider,
James was again impressive with two high quality runs in qualifying, with his highest scoring run coming in run two, with a huge score of 95 points. Finishing just ahead of James by just 0.25 points in first place was Ruka Hirano from Japan, with his teammate Yuto Totskua rounding out the podium in third scoring 91.50.
NSWIS teenage sensation Valentino Guseli was close to securing his first ever halfpipe podium, finishing in fourth place. Showing his incredible versatility as a snowboarder, Guseli also just missed the slopestyle podium finishing in fifth place over the weekend.
After two events, James is sitting comfortably in first place on the World Cup standings retaining the yellow bib on 180 points, 64 points clear of Swiss rider Jan Scherrer in second place. After his best ever World Cup halfpipe result, 17-year-old Guseli moves up to fourth on the rankings.
In the women’s halfpipe event, two-time NSWIS Olympian Emily Arthur also had an equal personal best World Cup finish of sixth place.
“The halfpipe was amazing as always, but unfortunately with the weather we weren’t able to compete in the end, which was a bit of a shame,” said James after the awards ceremony.
“It’s always amazing to ride here in Laax in front of this crowd. For me on the podium it’s a little bit bittersweet, because I would have loved to have rode tonight but I’m also happy to be able to come away with second place.”
“We had a discussion between the riders about what we wanted to do,” James continued, “And we mutually decided to give it one more try, which we did, but unfortunately the weather came back in again and they had to cancel it.”
James and Guseli will next be in action in the halfpipe at the X-Games in Aspen, USA, on January 27.