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Stassel opens slopestyle season in 6th place; Cooper posts career-best in biathlon

  • Author: Anchorage Daily News
  • Updated: December 22, 2018
  • Published December 22, 2018

Anchorage snowboarder Ryan Stassel got a sneak preview of the 2022 Olympic slopestyle course and Kenai biathlete Travis Cooper took a giant step forward during World Cup competitions over the weekend.

Stassel, a two-time Olympian, placed sixth in the season-opening World Cup event in Beijing, China. The competition took place at the Secret Garden, which will be the scene of slopestyle at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Japan’s Takeru Otsula, 17, was the runaway winner with a score of 87.10, far ahead of Sweden’s Niklas Mattsson (80.21).

Stassel, 25, nabbed sixth place by scoring 71.78 on his third and final run; he was less than four points out of the bronze-medal position.

Meanwhile, World Cup rookie Cooper saw significant improvement during his third week on biathlon’s top circuit.

Cooper, 22, placed 56th in a 10-kilometer sprint race Thursday in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic — the first time he’s broken into the top 100. By placing in the top 60, Cooper qualified for Saturday’s 12.5K pursuit, where he placed 58th.