Wanaka freeskier Finn Bilous has won New Zealand’s second Winter Games medal, nabbing bronze in the World Cup Big Air event at Cardrona today.
Bilous, 19, was close to silver too, overtaken only by the last jump of the competition by his Canadian friend Evan McEachran. But “he’s my good mate so it doesn’t really matter,” Bilous quipped.
Andri Ragettli of Switzerland won the title with a combined score of 182.0 from the best two of his three jumps.
Bilous was lying second with 180.20, including a sizzling 93.6 with his first jump, until McEachran sneaked past with a combined 180.4.
Winter Olympic bronze medallist Nico Porteous earlier won gold in the freeski halfpipe in the world junior championships, which are part of the games programme.
It is Bilous’ first World Cup medal and sets him up nicely for his Northern Hemisphere campaign in a couple of months.
He included a new trick today, a forwards triple cork 1440, having only tried it in training earlier in the day. It worked so he pulled it out in the final and got a fine result.
“I’m superstoked. I’d been building up to it and was feeling pretty confident,” he said of the new trick.
“I thought I could do all right. The conditions were perfect and it was awesome to ride a perfect jump and come out on the podium.”
Bilous was 13th in qualifying for the slopestyle at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in February, one spot off making the final.
The Big Air discipline is to be included in the 2022 Winter Games for the first time, which Bilous is chuffed about.
Bilous won New Zealand’s first Winter Youth Olympic Games medal two years ago wtih a halfpipe silver and backed it with a bronze in the slopestyle.