Top qualifier Tucker Perkins
To see the top five runs, check the video at the bottom.
While all the competitors get two runs in today's superpose prelims, it only took Tucker Perkins one run to lock up the top spot. Perkins was followed up by Colorado's Taylor Seaton and France's Thomas Krief on the imaginary qualifier podium. On the weather front today, competitors were greeted with sunshine and slight warmth, only to have it cruelly ripped from their hands, only to replaced with snowfall, wind gusts and flat light. Here are how the top three runs shook out:
Tucker Perkins – Tucker kicked his run off with a pipe double flip 900, one of the only competitors to successfully utilize a double in a qualifying run. After the dub, Tuck proceeded with a right 900, left 900, alley oop flatspin 540, left 1080 to switch right 720.
Taylor Seaton – One of two competitors to drop in switch, T-Sizzla started his run with a big switch 720. After that Taylor went with a right 540, left 900, right 900 alley oop right 540 into an alley-oop flare.
Thomas Krief – Toto also used the pipe double flip 900 first hit into an alley-oop flatspin 360, to a switch 720 to back-to-back 900s (right then leftside).
The commonality between all three competitors runs was that decent amplitude was consistent through all the hits. No big first hits into tiny second ones for these three guys. What made that challenging was the conditions. The super-human boosting abilities of Mike Riddle and Torin Yater-Wallace were somewhat stunted today, leveling the playing field a bit.
Coming in fourth was David Wise, who sustained a heavy decking after his first hit double cork 1260 attempt first run. Pulling the reigns in a little second run, David's safety run that included back-to-back 900s and a couple flatspin variations was good enough to make the cut. And while Matt Margetts isn't known as the boostiest competitor, he is known for having a ton of style and ton of tech in his bag. Showcasing tricks like rightside 1080s and alley-oop flatpsin 360, the Margman went on to snag the fifth qualifying spot.
Banks Gilberti — arguably the competitor with the largest aversion to the cold — slid into the sixth spot by utilizing well grabbed maneuvers and a switch 720 first hit, one of two competitors to kick things off switch. East Coast team captain Dan Marion dropped some double flip 900 knowledge on his native New Englanders today, as well as a couple 900s and flatpsins to comfortably sit in seventh.
Mike Riddle rolled the dice first run, and unfortunately lost. His double cork 1260 wasn't quite clean enough, placing him down in the pack after that. Opting for a safety run on his second go 'round, the Riddler's 540, back-to-back 900s, signature bwarrow flat 360 and switch 900 was enough to eek him into the top nine. And rounding out the qualifiers would be none other than Gus Kenworthy. This is the first Winter Dew Tour finals for Young Kenny, and he couldn't be more stoked. Although his first run got him into finals, his second run made him some fans. After a bobbled mid-pipe hit, Kenny regained a shit-ton of speed for an alley-oop flatspin 540, then executed a perfect double flip 900 at the end. I'd go out on a limb to say it was the niceest pipe double I've seen in a long time.
Competitors watch their contemporaries.
However, the problem with all qualifiers is that you've got to break some eggs, if you're going to make an omelet. Some big names are always going to make it in, and some big names are always going to be left out. This time, reigning Dew Cup / AFP Halfpipe champ Jossi Wells was who missed the cut. After a hand drag to near disaster on his first run, Jossi opted for a similarly safe, yet ample second run. But even after the boss cleaned his last hit, the judges left him 3/4 of a point short of the finals cut. Tough break.
Colby West's technically proficient runs through the pipe were awarded with a less than satisfying 11th place and Torin Yater-Wallace's alley-oop double flatpsin wasn't enough to clean up the rest of his run, landing him in 12th place. Lost in the middle were Noah Bowman, Tyler Petersen and AJ Kemppainen. All three had decent runs, but none had a stand out enough performance to pique the judges curiosity.
AJ Kemppainen goes double overhead.
A number of athletes were also competing injured. Peter Olenick (who might have had the highest air of the day) is still nursing a tender knee, leading him to hold back a ton of talent. Young Mitch Gilman reportedly has a shoulder injury, making for a more subdued Mitch, which is something we're not used to seeing. Byron Wells was also still rehabbing a minor shin injury sustained at the Breckenridge stop, so he opted for straight airs (and pow turns) today. And Walter Wood reportedly sustained a minor knee injury yesterday and opted not to start in today's prelims.
But the nine names have been moved to tomorrow night's docket, where they will face Breck's podium goers Simon Dumont, Justin Dorey and Kevin Rolland. If you're in the area, hit up Killington's Bear Mountain at 5 PM set, for all sorta of freeski action. Tomorrow is also slopestyle prelims in the morning, making a long day for Mr. Dumont and Mr. Gilberti. But we wish all competitors good luck and check back tomorrow night for full recaps from the day's action packed happenings.
2. Taylor Seaton — 83.00
3. Thomas Krief — 80.25
4. David Wise — 77.25
5. Matt Margetts — 76.75
6. Banks Gilberti — 75.25
7. Dan Marion — 74.50
8. Mike Riddle — 72.00
9. Gus Kenworthy — 71.75
_ _ _ _ _ _ Cut Off _ _ _ _ _ _
10. Jossi Wells — 71.00
11. Colby West — 70.25
12. Torin Yater-Wallace — 67.50
13. AJ Kemppainen — 66.50
14. Noah Bowman — 65.60
15. Tyler Petersen — 61.25
16. Peter Olenick — 56.75
17. Sean Collin — 53.00
18. Rob Heule — 50.75
19. Mitch Gilman — 47.75
20. Joss Christensen — 37.50
21. Byron Wells — 12.50
22. Walter Wood — DNS