Dew Tour Day 1: Harlaut, Sildaru and McMorris dominate the big-air slopestyle jump in a blizzard
BRECKENRIDGE — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Breckenridge, and that’s not always a good thing for hucking triple and quadruple inverts off a 65-foot jump.
But the guys and gals at Dew Tour are pros — the best of the best from more than a dozen countries — and they weren’t about to let the first major Colorado snowstorm of the season cancel their party. Besides, it always dumps on Dew Tour. Whiteout conditions and sticky snow are standard by now.
On Friday, skiers and snowboarders threw down on the lone big-air jump at Peak 8 for the first leg of the modified slopestyle, with all athletes getting four attempts in the best-two-of-four format. Today brings the second leg of competition with four jib lines. By 4 or 5 p.m. today, athletes with the best combined score between jumps and jibs will be crowned Dew Tour Champs — a far cry from the traditional three-jump single course they’re used to.
“It’s still so new,” U.S. women’s skier Devin Logan told the Summit Daily before the first day of competition, “So I’m just going with the flow, figuring it out as I go along.”
Words to live by at Dew Tour.
Here’s where superstars and unknowns stand after day one of individual slopestyle. Read the Summit Daily on Sunday for jib photos and final results.
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Men’s ski | 9 a.m.
It’s almost like these guys didn’t notice it was puking snow, and, for most of the men’s ski competition early on Friday, the snowfall was light and calm. The sun even peeked out every so often.
Things started fast and furious with double 1260s from just about everyone in the field. Reigning Olympic slope champ Joss Christensen of Park City was the first to throw a triple 1440 (three inverts with four complete rotations) and that set the tone for the rest of the morning. Guys like Breckenridge transplant James Woods and New Zealand’s Jossi Wells followed suit with 1440s right and left, followed by 1260s oozing with style from Olympian Gus Kenworthy. Every once in a while, even the announcers didn’t know what to call the tweaked-out grabs on display.
After four rounds, the veteran big-air pros rose to the top of the leaderboard. Sweden’s Henrik Harlaut — he of the Swedish boxers and Wu-Tang shout-out in Sochi — had a stellar third and fourth run to end in first with 81.32. Behind him was Woods with 77.66 and Canadian youngster Evan McEachran with 76.32. The rest of the top-five is within six or seven points of Harlaut. Expect plenty of shuffling in the jib final.
Women’s ski | 10:30 a.m.
Kelly Sildaru came, saw and conquered. From her first run in the women’s ski contest, the 14-year-old Estonian phenom dominated the field with amplitude, style and frightening speed. Seriously — when the 98-pound teen whizzed through the run-in high above the jump, she sounded like a souped-up stock car tearing through a rapidly thickening snowstorm. Maybe Subaru (aka Sildaru the Subaru) should sign on as a sponsor before the defending Dew Tour slope champ leaves town.
Sildaru ended the morning with the second-highest slope score of the day — men or women, ski or snowboard — at 86.33 thanks to an inverted 900 and stylish 720s. Behind her were Canada’s Kaya Turski with 69.66 and American Olympian Maggie Voisin with 68.99. Longtime Breck local Keri Herman made a surprise start, but after two iffy jumps and a scary third jump, she ended in 10th overall with 35.33.
With so much space between first and second place, the rest of the field faces a huge game of catch-up on the rails today. But there’s hope: Sildaru is known as a jumper, not a jibber. The new format will make things interesting.
Men’s snowboard | 12:30 p.m.
It’s almost like Mark McMorris never took a year off. Last season, the dominant Canadian slopestyle rider broke his leg in a crash and stepped away from competing for several months. Dew Tour is his first major contest since then, and he reminded everyone why he’s the guy to beat.
Oh, and he did it all in a legitimate snowstorm. By the time the snowboarders dropped in, the snow was driving harder and thicker than it had all day. Everyone in the 16-man field hiked above the start gate and whipped through the tent just to get enough speed for laid-out 1080s, double-grab 1260s and McMorris’ winning triple cork. As usual, that one enormously stylish trick bumped him past the field and into first with the highest score of the day, 95.33.
Like the women’s ski contest, hardly anyone came close to McMorris. In second was Tyler Nicholson with 80.00 and in third was Sebastien Toutant with 79.66. Barely out of the top-three was Breck local Eric Willett with 79.32, making it an all-Canadian podium after the first day. Expect plenty of mix-ups when rail masters like Darcy Sharpe and Torstein Horgmo throw down on the jib courses today.
Men’s snowboard leaders
1. Mark McMorris (CAN) — 95.33
2. Tyler Nicholson (CAN) — 80.00
3. Sebastien Toutant (CAN) — 79.66
4. Eric Willett (USA) — 79.32
5. Marcus Kleveland (NOR) — 78.66
14. Red Gerard (USA) — 37.66
Women’s snowboard leaders
POSTPONED for Sunday
Men’s ski leaders
1. Henrik Harlaut (SWE) — 81.32
2. James Woods (GBR) — 77.66
3. Evan McEachran (CAN) — 76.32
4. Andri Ragettli (SUI) — 75.66
5. Oystein Braten (NOR) — 74.99
13. Bobby Brown (USA) — 61.99
Women’s ski leaders
1. Kelly Sildaru (EST) — 86.33
2. Kaya Turski (CAN) — 69.66
3. Maggie Voisin (USA) — 68.99
4. Isabel Atkin (GBR) — 67.33
5. Yuki Tsubota (CAN) — 60.33
10. Keri Herman (USA) — 35.33
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