Summit County’s Gerard, Corning top snowboard slopestyle competition
Ferreira goes big to win ski superpipe title in back to back weeks
On the fourth day of competition at the Winter Dew Tour at Copper Mountain Resort, the competition could not have been more cinematic for the American ski and snowboard athletes.
Starting in the men’s snowboard slopestyle competition, two Summit County locals — Chris Corning and Olympic gold medalist Red Gerard — looked to duel things out. Both were the last two competitors to go in the two-run, 25-man final after qualifiers got canceled earlier in the week.
The competition zone consisted of a series of railings to grind and jump off of followed by three big-air jumps. Corning put together a first run that had a front 180 off a rail, a switchback 1200 and a 1440. The run scored 83 points.
Gerard would follow his local friend and teammate with a solid run of his own. He executed a frontside 720, a backside 1260 and a 1620 to score an 87.
Yet the competition knew what was needed in order to make the podium, and the degree of difficulty of tricks increased in the second round.
Sean Fitzsimons of Hood River, Oregon, was one competitor who went for broke on his final run. Fitzsimons damanged his board on his first run and was forced to ride on his backup board. It didn’t matter for Fitzsimons, however, as he put down a big run to score a 89.50, pushing Gerard and Corning down the ranking list.
Corning then strung together a 1260 and back-to-back 1440s with a grab to move into first with a score of 91.50.
“I knew my other run wasn’t going to be good enough and had to do my best to put down a run I haven’t done the entire time,” Corning said. “So I finally decided I am just going to huck it and I was able to put it down.”
Gerard sat at the top of the course aware that Corning had just executed what could be the best run of the day. He would need to go bigger if he wanted to win the event and win the Dew Tour slopestyle title in back-to-back competitions.
Gerard started down the course by laying down a frontside 1080, a backside 1260 and another huge backside 1260 with a grab on the final jump. The crowd erupted into cheers as Gerard skidded to a stop in a cloud of snow at the bottom of the course.
It then quickly fell silent as Gerard stood waiting with Corning, both staring at the scoreboard awaiting the judges decision to see where his final run would measure up against the rest of the competition.
Gerard would score a 93.25 to win his second consecutive Dew Tour slopestyle title while Corning finished in second. Mark McMorris of Canada finished in third with a top score of 90.
Gerard fell to the ground and was engulfed by his family and friends, while his goggles were knocked away off his head as he celebrated another title. Emotion was on Gerard’s face as he kept repeating that he couldn’t believe the events that had just transpired.
“That first jump, we really didn’t know how to snowboard on it, so I went with the 720 on my first run, but I knew on my second run I had to go 1080,” Gerard said. “I was thinking about taking it feature by feature and just making it to the end.”
Gerard would also say that it feels incredible to do it next to friend and teammate Corning.
“I’m seriously speechless,” Gerard said. “To win it back-to-back, I actually can’t believe it. I cannot stress enough how happy I am with our U.S. snowboarding squad right now. Our team is riding good and it’s fun to be a part of it.”
Corning was just as excited as Gerard about his performance as he stood on the podium.
“It’s awesome, stoked to be here, stoked to be at Copper,” Corning said. “I haven’t competed here in a few years so I’m happy to be back.”
Men’s ski superpipe
In the men’s ski superpipe final, Colorado was once again at the forefront of the competition.
Olympic silver medalist Alex Ferreira, who is looking for another podium finishing after winning the Toyota Grand Prix last week, started his competition with a less than ideal run. He scored 33.50 after not being able to cleanly execute some tricks.
Meanwhile, Birk Irving of Winter Park got off to a great start, stringing together a good run of tricks and flying high into the air to score 85.25, placing him in second after the first round.
Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte fell on his opening run to only score a 12.
Ferreira then did a 1080 and a double 1440, celebrating with his iconic pole whip. It was perhaps then that Ferreria knew he had just put himself on the podium once again. Ferreira scored a 94.75, rising into first place.
Irving fell on his next two runs because of broken ski boots and having to borrow another pair. He would finish with a top score of 85.25 to finish in fourth.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist David Wise — ideally needing a podium finish in order to make his bid for an Olympic team — would start to heat up on his second run of the day with a score of 82.75.
Blunck put together a clean second run, receiving 80 points and moving closer to the podium.
After the second round of runs, Ferreira completed a left side 1440 and a 1620 with a grab on his final run to score 95.75, winning another title.
Blunck then had his best run of the day on his final run. He scored 94 points to stand next to Ferreira on the podium.
“I train really hard outside of the competition season and for when the time comes I am a little less nervous than I would be if I hadn’t trained,” Ferreira said of his back-to-back title winning weeks. “I just work really hard. There is no secret.”
Wise finished in fifth, while Boulder-based Lyman Currier finished in ninth.
Women’s snowboarding slopestyle
Zoi Synnott Sadowski of New Zealand won the women’s snowboard slopestyle title with a score of 97.75 on her last run of the day. Enni Rukajarvi took second, while Kokomo Murase placed third.
Courtney Rummel from West Bend, Wisconsin, was the top American and placed fourth with a top score of 83.50.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.
Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.
Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.