Dew Tour Day 2: McMorris, Harlaut and Sildaru hold onto top spots at jib finals in Breck
December 10, 2016
BRECKENRIDGE — If this is what organizers and promoters mean by a "reimagined Dew Tour," then bring on the next round.
On Saturday, from morning sunshine to afternoon snowstorm, the individual ski and snowboard slopestyle athletes gathered at Peak 8 for jib finals, the second piece of the new, two-part slopestyle contest that started with a sole big-air jump on Friday. The idea was to inspire creativity: split a traditional three-jump, three-jib slope course into two parts over two days, and hopefully, skiers and riders will think outside the box.
The pros took the bait Dew Tour laid and threw down with abandon. From Sweden's Henrik Harlaut and Canada's Mark McMorris to 14-year-old Estonian Kelly Sildaru, everyone put on a show for the crowd, testing the Snow Park Technologies course with 450s on, pretzels in every direction and even a few rodeo flips off the final rails. The course was split into four sections, with traditional down bars up top and at the bottom, and unorthodox urban-style features like a 90-degree wallride and elbow rail in the middle. Oh, and then there was the Toyota 4Runner in a chainlink cage with a shotgun rail to get on top. The only thing missing: bonk features, like the nesting dolls in Sochi or the enormous lollipop feature at the Burton U.S. Open. Then again, it didn't seem like the athletes minded.
As the final slopestyle event, at stake on Saturday was a podium spot for three of the four individual contests. Women's snowboard wraps up Sunday with jump finals at Peak 8. Here's how the field shook out.
Call it the winter of Canadian domination. After day one on the jumps, three northern natives were in the top-three: McMorris, Tyler Nicholson and Sebastien Toutant. Hot on their heels was Breck's own Eric Willett in fourth and Norway's Marcu Kleveland in fifth.
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And then Max Parrot stepped up to the jibs. In his second of three runs, the veteran slopestyle specialist had a line to remember: buttery-smooth frontside 450 on to 270 off up top and an equally buttery backside 360 to 50-50 to backside 180 off (with a tweak, no less) in front of the roaring crowd. It was enough to bump him past two of his countrymen, Nicholson and Toutant, to end on the podium at second overall with 161.66. Toutant took third with 160.66.
But it wasn't quite enough to dethrone McMorris, who had a typically effortless set of runs with 270s on, 450s on and plenty of amplitude. He ended with 172.66, the highest slopestyle score of the weekend and enough for another gold in the trophy case.
If anyone doubted Sildaru, the Estonian youngster proved them wrong — and then some — at the jib finals. After dominating the jump finals with massive 900s and inverted 720s, she came onto the course just as the snow started to thicken and laid down an impressive run: 270s on, switch 270s on and more style than ladies twice her age. Her third run was the best of the bunch and more than enough to keep her comfortably in first overall with 159.33.
But, if you think veterans were willing to just sit back and watch her push the sport, think again. Another youngster, 17-year-old American Maggie Voisin, followed her third-place jump performance with a slightly better jib performance. Her mix of techy 270s and stylish bonks helped her edge past Canada's Kaya Turski, the only athlete older than 21 in the podium hunt, for second overall with 153.32. Turski ended in third with 146.99.
Breck's Keri Herman, the oldest competitor at 34 years old, looked off of her game as the snow fell harder. She ended at ninth overall out of 10 skiers.
These guys went big — and then some. Just as the beautiful bluebird morning turned into a blustery blizzard afternoon, the men's field took to the jib line for finals. There were 450s both ways, a few underflips onto down tubes and, on more than one occasion, 600s onto the bottom rails.
The biggest crowd pleaser of the day was Sweden's Jesper Tjader, the first to throw a rodeo flip onto the final down tube. It doesn't matter how many times you see it — when someone flips and lands and slides on a hard, metal rail, it deserves applause.
Then again, one show-stopping trick can't make an entire jib run, and Tjader just didn't have the variety of his fellow Swede Henrik Harlaut. Harlaut entered the day in first after two stellar jumps on Saturday and followed with smooth, stylish 450s the easy and hard way through the jib line. Maybe the deciding factor was how clean and fun it all looked — the sort of run that just makes you want to get out and ride.
Harlaut held onto his lead to win the slopestyle title with 162.65. Norway's Oystein Braten took second with 158.32 and yet another Canadian, third-place ski streetstyle winner Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, took third again with 153.99.
That makes five Canadian podiums out of nine total openings before the final day of competition Sunday.
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