A screenshot of women’s freeski halfpipe results during the FIS World Cup at Copper Mountain. /FIS

A screenshot of women’s freeski halfpipe results during the FIS World Cup at Copper Mountain. /FIS

China’s Olympic champion Gu Ailing had a great start in the new season as she clinched her second consecutive title at the International Ski and Snowboard Federation (FIS) Freeski Halfpipe World Cup at Cooper Mountain on Friday.

Previously, 20-year-old Gu won her freeski halfpipe title on December 9 at Genting Snow Park in Chongli, a district of Zhangjiakou in north China’s Hebei Province, which was one of the three competition zones during the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

Gu Ailing celebrates after winning the women's freeski halfpipe gold during the FIS World Cup in Chongli, China, December 9, 2023. /CFP

Gu Ailing celebrates after winning the women’s freeski halfpipe gold during the FIS World Cup in Chongli, China, December 9, 2023. /CFP

Gu Ailing celebrates after winning the women’s freeski halfpipe gold during the FIS World Cup in Chongli, China, December 9, 2023. /CFP

At Copper Mountain in Colorado, U.S., Gu stomped all three of her runs, with each one scoring well into the 90-point range on December 15. 

The best came from Gu’s second run, where she earned a score of 95.75 for her ninth straight World Cup halfpipe victory.

“I’m so grateful to be here today,” said Gu, who’s battling through a shoulder injury. “Every day that I have on snow whether it’s just making finals or being on the podium or winning any contests, I never take anything for granted. I’m grateful for every single win that I have and I’m as hungry as ever. Let’s keep it going!”

Gu Ailing competes in the women's freeski halfpipe final during the FIS World Cup in Chongli, China, December 9, 2023. /CFP

Gu Ailing competes in the women’s freeski halfpipe final during the FIS World Cup in Chongli, China, December 9, 2023. /CFP

Gu Ailing competes in the women’s freeski halfpipe final during the FIS World Cup in Chongli, China, December 9, 2023. /CFP

American freeskier Hanna Faulhaber finished runner-up with 92.00 points, while Zoe Atkin of Britain rounded out the podium with 91.00.

China’s Li Fanghui finished fourth at 87.25 points.

On the men’s side, Alex Ferreira also notched his second straight victory of the season and led a U.S. sweep of the podium.

Ferreira’s first run scored him 97.00 points that would hold throughout the rest of the competition.

“It was an absolutely amazing day,” Ferreira said. “To be able to ski like I did today and do my absolute best in front of all these fans is unbelievable.”

Following up Ferreira in second was Hunter Hess with 95.00 points, and Birk Irving came third with 92.50.

(With input from Xinhua)

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