It wasn’t a perfect run, but it was enough for Shaun White to top the leader board in the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championship men’s superpipe qualifier Thursday.
After scoring a 91.4 in his first run, White opted for more of a ceremonial second run. Fellow Vancouver Olympians Scotty Lago and Louie Vito also qualified for the finals finishing 13th and 7th.
“First contest of the year. Gotta dust off a few more tricks,” Vito said after the run. “I should be good to go.”
Breckenridge resident Benji Farrow also made the cut, finishing 15th.
Nineteen year old rising star Nick Goepper — the 2013 No. 1 AFP ranked slopestyle freeskier — lead the way in the opening round of men’s slopstyle, topping the leaderboard with a 93.2 in his first run.
“I had a ton of fun today,” Goepper said after the qualifying round. When asked how he felt, the Indiana native kept it simple: “Great.”
As for what he’ll need to do to stay atop the leader board: “I think it’s going to take creativity and good grabs.”
The competition all week has been described as extra intense with the Dew Tour acting as a U.S. Olympic team qualifier.
“Everyone’s on fire,” Goepper’s iON teammate James ‘Woodsy’ Woods of the U.K. said. “This truly is one of the hardest of the competitions.”
“It’s crazy,” Pittsburgh native Tom Wallisch added describing the scene. “There’s so many talented kids on the slopestyle course it’s insane.”
The Dew Tour is not a qualifier for the British team, but Woods said earlier in the week the event is great exposure.
After crashing on the final jump in round one and completing a solid second run that qualified him for the finals, Woods described the pressure to perform in round two. “It’s nerve racking up there. Your sitting up there for ages. There’s one job to do a day and that’s to get through,” he said with a smile.
He finished 7 on the day.
Breckenridge’s Bobby Brown will also head to the final round, finishing Wednesday’s heat in fifth.
Vito and Goepper both said it’s going to take clean runs and bigger tricks in the final rounds this weekend.
The Dew Tour kicks in to high gear Friday in preparation for a busy weekend.
Women’s finals in freeski half pipe and snowboard slopestyle headline the action leading into the weekend. Mens qualifiers in freeski pipe and snowboard slopestyle also get underway Friday.
Shaun White will be a big storyline as he makes his return to slopestyle– hoping to qualify for both snowboarding events when the winter games open in Sochi, Russia, in February.
“The finals is when you really get to cut loose” Olympic medalist in women’s half pipe Kelly Clark said Wednesday. “I think it’s going to be a good show.”
Events schedule and Complete results are available at www.dewtour.com
“It’s crazy. There’s so many talented kids on the slopestyle course it’s insane.”
Dew Tour competitor