Simon Dumont wins Superpipe comp in the Land of the Rising Sun
Konichiwa from Japan! Today was mens and womens superpipe finals, thus bringing the Nippon Freeskiing Open to an end. Unlike the day before, the weather decided to take a turn for the worse and be a mix of rain and snow and fog, optimal conditions for a halpipe competition. Regardless, the athletes showed high spirits and managed to put on quite a show for the crowd.
After the semi-finals for men, Kevin Roland sat atop the qualifying board, boosting giant airs into the fog to get him there. Simon Dumont, no stranger to the finals, was 2nd, while Colby West, who seems to find himself on the top of the lists these days, qualified 3rd. After the mens semis, the women had a two run finals. All the girls were boosting pretty huge in this slushy pipe, but it was Grete Eliassen with her alley oop and regular 540 spins that placed her first. Sarah Burke came in a close 2nd place, with gigantic airs and a super clean 720 at the end of her run.
By the end of the women, the fog gave us a brief respite, and the snow had stopped falling, just in time to make the pipe much faster. Simon, Mike Riddle and Japanese star, Yuta Ueno were the only three to stomp fairly clean runs in the first go round of men’s finals. But in the 2nd run, John Symms seemed to air bigger and bigger throughout his run, ending with back to back alley oop flatspins. Mike Riddle once again showed us his skills, throwing a large 1080 to alley oop switch 720. But in the end, it was Simon’s run: 540, to alley oop flatspin, to 1260, to alley oop flatspin 900, to cork 900 that took home gold.
Again, there was another Sake-Keg-Smashing ceremony, although this time with less ending up on the crowd. The last thing I saw on the hill, was Simon and Grete being mobbed by a throng of excited Japanese reporters and media, with an only more excited crowd waiting to cut if up with them afterward. So, despite the lack of cooperation from the weather, The Nippon Open was a wonderful experience and a good time had by all. It has been too long since there has been a ski contest here, and hopefully there will be more here in the future. Thanks to the Joetsu Kokusai resort, the Green Plaza hotel for having us, and all the japanese who supported us.
1) Simon Dumont
2) Mike Riddle
3) Kevin Roland
4) John Symms
5) Colby West
6) Brent Abrams
7) Dan Marion
8) Yuta Ueno
1) Grete Eliassen
2) Sarah Burke
3) Mirjam Jaeger
About the author:
Shay Williams is the Managing Editor of Freeskier Magazine. He loves cheeseburgers, the Pittsburgh Penguins and Sweden. He's likely on a plane right now—first class only.