Dew Tour Day 2: Results from men’s and women’s ski superpipe
Dew Tour schedule
9 a.m. — Women’s freeski slopestyle final
10:30 a.m. — Women’s snowboard superpipe final
12:30 p.m. — Men’s snowboard superpipe final
4 p.m. — Men’s freeski superpipe final
All events are held on Peak 8 at Breckenridge Resort. Spectator access is found at Rip’s Ride, a two-chair lift at the Peak 8 bunny hill. For a complete schedule, see www.dewtour.com.
BRECKENRIDGE — There’s a new slopestyle queen in town.
Thursday was the first round of podium competition at Dew Tour Breckenridge, beginning with the women’s freeski superpipe and snowboard slopestyle. When three-time Dew Tour champ Jamie Anderson was forced to pull out of this year’s snowboard slope (see story on A20), it opened the doors for a whole new batch of seasoned and novice riders. There was 31-year-old Cheryl Maas and 27-year-old Spencer O’Brien, both Olympians with more than a decade of experience each. Then there was 15-year-old Hailey Langland, a relative newcomer making her first appearance at a Dew Tour final.
After two massive, high-level runs from all six riders in the final — everyone had at least one inverted 540 and a flat 720, not to mention a 900 from Maas — it was 24-year-old Austrian Anna Gasser on top of the podium with a 91.20, the highest women’s score of the weekend. Behind her in second was O’Brien with an 86.60 to barely edge out Langland, the newcomer, with an 85.60.
These days, female slope riders nearly go as big as men in terms of amplitude. Gasser dominated the final with a near-flawless run, sliding effortlessly through the jib lines with switch and regular grinds, plus spins out. She followed the rails with switch and cab spins on the three upper jumps before ending with a showcase 720 on the fourth and final hit. It was nearly like she spun in slow motion.
Women’s ski halfpipe
Just like slopestyle, women’s halfpipe is fast catching up with its male counterpart. The early-morning final — the first of the weekend — started sleepily with a round of falls from just about everyone, including first-place qualifier and U.S. Olympian Annalisa Drew. (Fellow Olympian Maddie Bowman didn’t start in Wednesday’s semifinal.) About the only athlete with a clean first run was Ayana Onozuka, a 27-year-old from Japan who blew away the field with a clean and crisp combination of 540s, 720s, one 900 and inverts for an 89.40. Canada’s Cassie Sharpe was hot on her heels with an 86.40, while the remaining four skiers waited for a second redemption run.
And that’s all it took for U.S. Olympian Brita Sigourney to find her feet. In her second run, the California native linked alley-oop 540s and 900s to jump into third place with an 85.00. She stayed there through the remaining three runs, including constant threat Drew.
“I’m just really stoked I was able to get it my second run,” Sigourney said her third-place finish was confirmed. “I had some nerves on the first run, so I was really just trying to land a solid run. It’s always nice to get a podium on the first event. It’s the most nerve-wracking of the year.”
Sharpe had an equally technical and markedly different run, mixing a first-hit cork 900 with 540s in both directions. That variety made the difference in the end, and like Sigourney, she now looks to build on her win with more podiums at FIS events and the big boy, X Games.
“I am so, so stoked,” Sharpe said before the medal presentation. “I couldn’t feel any better to get the first contest out of the way with a win.”
While the women competed for finals glory, the men vied for just 24 coveted positions in the ski halfpipe and snowboard slopestyle. As usual it was a wild and unpredictable day, with all-stars failing to make the cut while relative unknowns slid into top-5 spots.
In the halfpipe, powerhouse David Wise effortlessly topped the results with a 90.20 in his first run. Behind him in second was Aspen’s Alexander Ferreira with an 88.00, followed in third by French Olympian Kevin Rolland with an 86.40.
Barely missing the cut was Breckenridge local Jaxin Hoerter. The 15-year-old finished in 11th after the first two runs, which forced him to take one more run against 10 other competitors for two spots in the Last Chance Qualifier. When it finished, Hoerter sat in third — just one position out of the final — behind Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck and Boulder’s Lyman Currier. Also missing the cut was fan favorite Gus Kenworthy. If only there were a 13th position. But, then again, there’s always next year.
Out on the slopestyle course, young Canadian superstar Mark McMorris did what he does best with a show-stopping semifinal run. On the second run, a mix of inverted 900s, 1080s, one 1260 and technical rail lines landed him in first place with a 95.40, tying the highest score for the weekend with Shaun White’s run at the snowboard pipe semi on Thursday. Second place in slopestyle went to Canada’s Darcy Sharpe, who vaulted from a 6.40 on his first run to a 91.00 on the second. In third place was Max Parrot with an 88.00. Young Silverthorne native Redmond (aka Red) Gerard placed 9th in the semi to become the youngest finalist at 15 years old. Keep it up, Red.
Like ski halfpipe, the Breck locals came up just short of finals for snowboard slopestyle. Eric Willett, the only Breck rider on the start list, was forced to take a run in the LCQ and finished just barely out of the top two behind U.S. Olympian Chas Guldemond and Japan’s Yuki Kadono.
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