Karly Shorr competes in the Women's Snowboard Slopestyle qualification at the Rosa Khutor Extreme Park during the Sochi Winter Olympics on February 6. (JAVIER SORIANO / AFP/Getty Images)
Krasnaya Polyana, Russia— Milford’s Karly Shorr came up big on the first day of competition at the Sochi Games.
Shorr, 19, who lives in California and attends Sierra College, qualified for the finals in women’s slopestyle (snowboarding) with an 84.75 score at Rosa Khutor in Extreme Park.
By finishing fourth in her heat, Shorr bypasses the semifinals and moves into Sunday’s finals at 4:15 a.m. EST.
Just hours before her huge run, Shorr tweeted, “The Olympic slope style course is so sick, I am having a blast on it. It has been a challenge, but that’s why it’s the Olympics.”
Leading female contender, American Jamie Anderson, however, saw the course in a different light.
While she had no problem, qualifying for the finals second overall with a score of 93.50, Anderson called the course conditions “questionable,” especially for the women.
“It’s a challenging course; a lot of impact for everyone,” she said. “Little 15 year olds are, like, ‘I’m not even old and my back is still sore every day. Not even from crashing, just from riding.’”
Among the problems they’re dealing with are too-steep takeoff ramps that don’t exactly mesh with the pitch of the landings. The transition areas between the jumps aren’t very big, so it’s hard to build up the speed needed to get the air the steepest jumps demand.
Still, Shorr is where she wants to be: Within striking distance of the podium in the new event.
So, too, is Canadian Max Parrot.
Parrot scored 97.5 (2½ points short of perfect) in a run punctuated by a triple-flipping jump with a dead-solid landing. He was one of eight riders to reach the 90s on a day in which Australia’s Scotty James and Norway’s Kjersti Buaas took the worst falls but walked away.
“Other riders complained about the course this week,” Parrot said. “I actually found it really good from Day 1 to now.”
Said Norway’s Staale Sandbech, who scored 94.5: “It’s getting better. Not fully perfect yet. Pretty icy. Makes it hard to shape the jumps clean.”
Missing the event was one of the marquee X Games names, American Shaun White.
White pulled out Wednesday, saying he wanted to focus on winning a third straight gold medal in the halfpipe next week. He was in no mind to put his health at risk on a course that took out one of the world’s top riders, Norway’s Torstein Horgmo, and sent dozens more tumbling in training.
“It would’ve been so awesome to have him in here,” American Sage Kotsenburg said. “He could’ve put down a super sick run that could contend. But it’s his choice.”
And nobody is feeling White’s absence more than Parrot, who is peaking at the right time.
“I’m just mad about it because I want to compete against him,” Parrot said. “I want to know who’s better.”
News wire services contributed