Dew Tour: Horgmo, Anderson take down snowboard slope titles
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BRECKENRIDGE – Snow swirled around the slopestyle course Sunday, causing low visibility and even lower speeds for the snowboard finals of the Winter Dew Tour’s Nike 6.0 Open at Breckenridge.
Although, Breck’s own Eric Willett wasn’t thinking about the conditions. The only thing on his mind was the top spot on the podium.
“Everyone has to deal with the same conditions; it’s just who can deal with it better,” he said.
Needing a big second run to overtake Torstein Horgmo’s first-run score of 96.5, Willett decided to throw his biggest tricks, even while the rest of the field was throttling back in the inclement elements.
He hit the first rail feature with a gap-270 to switch, launched a cab double cork 900 on the first jump and followed with a front double cork 1080. Picking up more momentum through the second rail section, he hit a backside rodeo 1080 on the second-to-last jump and soared into a third double cork, spinning, flipping, twisting, as he tried to spot the landing.
He wound up on his chest.
“Yeah, that’s the run I was wanting to do the entire day. The conditions were crappy, but I still went for it,” he said. “I kind of had it in my head that if I landed that, I would’ve been on the podium.”
It simply wasn’t to be for Willett, the hometown Winter X Games medalist, and his run may have been symbolic of the entire day: Riders who went for it fell, those playing it safe profited.
Horgmo wound up taking the title after the rest of the field struggled to put down a challenging run on the second trip through the course.
It’s not as though Horgmo’s run was unworthy – it was certainly the best of the day – but even the high-flying Norwegian didn’t feel it was his best.
“I just wanted to clear every jump and make it down safely,” he said. “It was very relieving to make it through the first time. I was one of the last to drop and saw so many people falling. It was really fun to make it through and still be alive. It was good.”
Horgmo hit a pair of double corks on his jumps, but his rail work – such as his frontside nose blunt to fakie off the first stair-case-like feature – may have been the real reason for his win.
“I like to try to get creative with it and try to do things other people aren’t doing,” he said. “They’re a part of the slopstyle and the challenge. You need to get creative.”
Canadian teenager Mark McMorris, in his first-ever Dew Tour, finished second with a score of 93.75 from his first run.
The finish was a little surprising to him.
“I knew it was going to get a good score, but I didn’t think it was good enough for the podium,” he said. “I’m glad I put down a run that I could – I’m just happy I landed a full run. It was really tough.”
Chas Guldemond was third, and Tyler Flanagan and Jeremy Thompson rounded out the top-5.
Willett wound up in seventh, and although he was disappointed, he couldn’t help but be pleased with having the chance to win on his home hill.
“It’s a cool feeling,” he said. “I wanted to land, but to have everyone cheering for me like that whether I
Charlotte Van Gils wasn’t the least bit disappointed in being Sunday’s runner-up in the snowboard slope finals. The Dutch rider wasn’t even expecting to make it that far, let alone podium, and with a certain rider laying out the biggest run of the day, she said there wasn’t much she could do about it.
“Jamie (Anderson) is so clean. Whenever she has to land something she does,” Van Gils said. “I need a lot of hours in the snow before I can get there.”
Anderson made it look easy on a day when the rest of the field struggled to even land. The 20-year-old Californian picked up a series record fifth Dew Tour win after jumping out to a 93.0 on her first run.
Everyone else’s game of catch-up proved to be pointless.
Van Gils was nearly nine points behind Anderson at 84.5, and Cheryl Maas was third at 70.0
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