Although Lake Tahoe snowboarder Chas Guldemond loved competing in Sochi, he can’t help but think – what if the judging was easier to understand for competitors?
Guldemond missed the finals after finishing seventh in the semifinals on Saturday, posting a score of 79.75. But Guldemond felt like he performed well, successfully landing a difficult triple cork – three flips.
Yet Guldemond, who calls Northstar California ski resort in Lake Tahoe his home resort, missed out on the top four who advanced to the finals by a full five points.
While not complaining about his individual score, Guldemond said he still isn’t sure what the Olympic judges wanted.
The lingering question. Is the Winter Olympic slopestyle fair?
“They're all over the place, so it’s kind of hard to track them down,” Guldemond said.
U.S. snowboarder Sage Kotsenburg of Park City, Utah captured the gold medal in Men’s Slopestyle.
Guldemond took 15th and U.S. teammate Ryan Stassel was 14th. The pair did not compete in the medal round event. The semifinals and finals were both held Saturday.
Guldemond had a good showing on the opening day of competition on Thursday. His score of 86.0 was good enough for fifth place in his heat.
The 2014 Winter Olympics uses judges that are from the International Ski Federation (FIS), and they typically judge World Cup events.
However, the top snowboarders largely compete in World Snowboard Tour events like the X Games.
Guldemond, a member of the World Snowboard Tour board of directors, believes the tour brings judges in three times a year to update them the state of the sport. But the FIS does not.
“I think we need to educate,” he said. “In any business industry you need to educate and keep people on the cutting edge of snowboarding and that’s what needs to continue to happen. And yeah, we’re working on it.”
A total of 20 riders hit the mountain Saturday morning, competing for one of four remaining spots in the afternoon finals. Kotsenburg posted the second-highest mark and was the only American to advance.