BRECKENRIDGE - Expectations weren't very high for Andreas Hatveit heading into the Winter Dew Tour freeski slopestyle competition. With the tricks, spins and flips he saw from other riders in practice this week, winning wasn't really something he thought about too much.
"I just thought I'd throw my best tricks in there and see what happens," he said.
But in the competition finals Sunday at Breckenridge, everything "came together" for the 23-year-old Norwegian.
Landing a that included a switch 1260, a double cork 1260 and a flatspin off the course's "truck obstacle," Hatveit earned himself the highest score in Dew Tour ski slope history and a spot on the top of the podium in the season's first major event.
"That's definitely the best run I've ever done in a slopestyle comp before," he said after the win. "And that's some of the best I've seen from everybody else."
The riding from everyone else never allowed Hatveit to feel comfortable in the lead with his 93.0 score.
At the time he landed his second run, he was barely above American Sammy Carlson, who previously held the lead at 91.13.
Then came Tom Wallisch, the 22-year-old from Pittsburgh, who previously held the Dew Tour record for highest score. Wallisch, who landed a switch 1080 mute grab and a switch double cork 1080 on back-to-back hits, wound up finishing just shy of the top spot with a 92.38.
Wallisch gladly took second place on a day of incredible runs.
"I'm definitely stoked to be anywhere near the podium with this level of competition," he said.
After Carlson in third, Breck skier Bobby Brown was fourth. Actually, the 18-year-old's finish may have been the most impressive of anyone's. Brown gashed his right thigh open in practice earlier in the morning, requiring 20 stitches to close the wound on his thigh. And despite skiing in "the most excruciating pain I've ever had," he said that he did pretty much as well as he could have.
"I'm so stoked right now," he said. "I can't even imagine that I was able to land that second run."
He didn't just land a run, either, he stomped out what, on most days, would have been a contest winner. With a switch double rodeo and a double cork 1260, Brown wound up with a score of 89.5.
Although, no one was a match for Hatveit on the sunny morning at Breck - not even a camera man who, in poor position on the course, nearly derailed Hatveit's first run.
"That first run, I was really bummed when I got there because he was in the way and I had just gotten my switch (1260) the way I wanted it," he said of the worker standing in the middle of the course. "I was like, 'No, I don't want to do it again.'"
Fortunately for Hatveit, his second run wound up being even better, and he took home some nice hardware in one of the strongest fields in the sport.
Swiss skier Elias Ambuhl finished in fifth place at 89.0, and Philip Casabon was sixth.
Even after all the action had wrapped up, Wallisch was still amazed with how well everyone in the field had skied.
"It's crazy. Nowadays, everyone has crazy double corks and big spins and good rail tricks," he said. "The level of skiing is just insane. It's awesome to be a part of it and watch the sport progress and try to keep up with it."