Norwegian surprises Paul Mitchell FreeSki field |

Norwegian surprises Paul Mitchell FreeSki field

Summit Daily/Brad Odekirk Norwegian free skier Andreas Hatveit skied away with top honors Sunday during the Paul Mitchell American FreeSki Tour superpipe finals.

BRECKENRIDGE – Andreas Hatveit’s month-long Summit County vacation is over in two days, but he’ll be returning from his home country of Norway sooner than expected.After surprising the field at the Paul Mitchell FreeSki Tour superpipe competition Sunday with a first-place finish, Hatveit is now qualified for next month’s Gravity Games at Copper Mountain.”I’m definitely coming back,” Hatveit said. “I can’t believe it. I didn’t think I had a chance.”A friend told Hatveit about the Breckenridge Freeway terrain park before the 18-year-old Norwegian came to Colorado in early January. He decided to check it out, and has been skiing in Breckenridge ever since. “I’m so stoked on this park,” Hatveit said. “We don’t have a single good halfpipe in Europe.”

Hatveit’s winning run included an unnatural 720 into a fakey 900.Hatveit knows the Gravity Games competition will be tougher and the stage will be bigger, but he doesn’t plan on adding much to his repertoire for a live national TV audience on the Outdoor Life Network.”I might learn how to do a switch 10 at the end, but I’m just going to work on what I’ve got,” Hatveit said. “I have a pretty technical run already.”Cory Vanular of Ontario, Canada finished second, while Taylor Felton of Hamilton, Mass., took third.The winner of Sunday’s women’s superpipe was not such a surprise. Winter X Games superpipe silver medalist and Saturday’s slopestyle winner, Sarah Burke, had no trouble finding her way to the top of the podium, despite getting lost on her way to the terrain park.

“I got lost all through training,” Burke said. “I ended up in the Village somehow, but I found my way back, and had a good run anyway.”Burke was pleased with the weekend sweep, but was more excited about having the girls finally getting some events of their own.”Just having girls here is a big step forward,” Burke said. “The girls that come out throw down their best. A lot of girls will hear about this one, then come out for the next one. Then it will just get bigger and bigger.”The three-stop Paul Mitchell FreeSki Tour was designed to find the best unknown skiers in the world. As a veteran of the competition circuit, Burke is used to seeing unknown skiers rise to the top.”People seem to pop out of the woodwork,” Burke said of skiers like Hatveit. “Then they can build their name from competitions like this.”

Snowmass skier Jess Cumming took second on the women’s side, while local Breckenridge freestyler, Elle Forchielli, finished third. It was only Forchielli’s second-ever competition.”I didn’t have anything to lose,” Forchielli said. “Today I went faster and bigger than I ever have before. It was a really cool experience.”In her first season of even skiing in the park, Forchielli was excited to be on the podium with veterans Burke and Cumming.”Sarah’s the best female skier in the world, hands down,” Forchielli said. “They were both very supportive.”The Paul Mitchell American FreeSki Tour continues next weekend at Bear Mountain Resort in Southern California, and on Feb. 19-20 at Sugar Bowl Resort near Lake Tahoe.

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