Summit’s Clay captures Dew Tour adaptive title; Faulhaber takes 3rd in ski superpipe |

Summit’s Clay captures Dew Tour adaptive title; Faulhaber takes 3rd in ski superpipe

Summit County resident Kiana Clay, middle, stands with the top three finishers in the women's adaptive snowboard banked slalom finals at Dew Tour at Copper Mountain Resort on Friday, Dec. 17.
Cody Jones/Summit Daily News

Colorado was well represented on the third day of Dew Tour at Copper Mountain Resort.

Leading off the action Friday, Dec. 17, was 17-year-old Hanna Faulhaber in the women’s ski superpipe finals. Faulhaber may be young but she is rivaling some of the best talent in the world, taking fifth last week at the U.S. Grand Prix.

Faulhaber, who is based out of Basalt, came out of the gates swinging for the fences on her first run of the day. She got huge amplitude, rising way above the superpipe lip. She then proceeded to execute on a 720 and a leftside 900.

The run was enough for Faulhaber to score a 90, putting her in the top three after the first round of runs.

After the competition, Faulhaber said she was just hoping to land her big tricks on her first run.

“As soon as you land it, it is the most relieving feeling in the world,” Faulhaber said.

Both Eileen Gu of China and Kelly Sildaru of Estonia matched Faulhaber with 90-plus runs to set themselves apart from the rest of the competition early on.

On her second run of the day, Faulhaber aimed to improve on her 90, but on the last hit, she fell while trying to get some extra rotation.

Hanna Faulhaber, from left, stands at the award ceremony with Eileen Gu and Kelly Sildaru. Faulhaber placed third as the top American in the Dew Tour's women's ski superpipe finals Friday, Dec. 17.
Rachel Block/Dew Tour

On Faulhaber’s last run of the day, she once again went for broke — with a leftside 720, followed by a leftside 900 with a tail grab for some extra flair — in order to secure her spot on the podium. Her performance was enough for a 90.75, securing third place.

Family and friends rushed to congratulate the young American phenom as she solidifies her bid to make the 2022 U.S. Olympic team.

Sildaru placed second with a top score of 93, while Gu won another superpipe title with a top score of 96.

“It’s crazy. I’ve looked up to all these girls for ages,” Faulhaber said. “They have been my idols since I was 11, and to just be able to compete up against them, especially a few hours from home, is amazing.”

American Brita Sigourney never found her groove in the finals. She had three pretty solid runs with alley-oop flips, 900s and 720s, but it wasn’t enough to score higher than 76.50, putting her in eighth place.

Eileen Gu of China performs a trick during the women's ski superpipe finals Friday, Dec. 17, at Copper Mountain Resort. Gu took first after scoring a 96.
Mike Dawsy/Dew Tour

Adaptive snowboard banked slalom

In the men and women’s adaptive snowboard banked slalom competition, the field featured three Summit County locals in Kiana Clay, Jimmy Sides and Colby Fields.

Clay and Fields are coming off a series of Para snowboard World Cup events in Europe, where both had success.

The women started off the competition on the banked slalom course in the middle of the mountain. Clay had a near-perfect first run, gaining air on a few of the jumps and throwing an arm up in celebration as she blazed across the finish line.

Clay’s runs were enough for her to capture the Dew Tour title. Fellow American and 57-year-old Peggy Martin — who formerly worked at Breckenridge Ski Resort — took second, and Annika Hutsler of Aurora took third.

“It feels incredible to put a lot of hard work into something and actually see it pay off,” Clay said. “It was really rad, and it was even cooler for it to happen at my home mountain. I love Dew Tour. It is my favorite event.”

Clay said she will now head home for the holidays, where she will get some needed rest and recovery before gearing up for World Championships in Norway from Jan. 8-23. Clay is also hoping her impairment division is allowed at the 2022 Paralympics.

In the men’s competition, Fields started his first run of the day like he was shot out of a cannon, gaining more speed as he reached the bottom of the course. Fields lost some speed at the end of his run as he had to correct his board in order to be able to stay on his feet.

He knew the correction cost him valuable time and that he had to do better on his final run. Fields improved on his second run but ended up placing seventh overall. Sides had a solid run to finish in eighth.

The competition was won by Matti Suur-Hamari of Finland. Owen Pick of Great Britain placed second, and Ben Tudhope of Australia rounded out the podium in third.

Ski slopestyle

In the men’s ski slopestyle final, Colby Stevenson and Alex Hall of Park City dueled it out for the title. Stevenson and Hall finished within a point of each other, scoring 96.25 and 95.25, respectively, to finish in first and second.

Stevenson pulled away from Hall with a 1440 with a tail grab in order to give himself the upper hand to win the title. Stevenson and Hall were joined on the podium by Nick Goepper of Salt Lake City, who posted a top score of 89.50.

In the women’s ski slopestyle competition, Gu again rose to the occasion in order to score an 89, placing second. Tess Ledux from France topped Gu by scoring a 91.50 to place first. Johanne Killi of Norway placed third with a top run of 86.

Team Summit team member Jay Riccomini had a stellar first run to score 74.50 and ultimately placed 11th.

Day 4 of the Winter Dew Tour will bring action from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18. The day will be highlighted by men and women’s snowboard slopestyle finals, men’s ski superpipe finals, and ski and snowboard streetstyle competitions taking place right at the base of Center Village at Copper.

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