Despite a bit of a bummer beginning—as Torin Yater-Wallace suffered two broken ribs and a collapsed lung during practice, and was taken to a local hospital for observation, and Simon Dumont also banged his head amid that same practice session, preventing him from competing—the men’s superpipe final went off under the lights this evening, and the large crowd that was gathered at the base of the pipe was treated to an exciting contest, with the Americans sweeping the podium; the second US sweep of a podium at Dew 2013. In first tonight, David Wise. In second, Aaron Blunck. And rounding out the podium in third was Boulder, Colorado’s Lyman Currier.
With Yater-Wallace and Dumont marked DNS, a total of fourteen athletes vied for Dew Cup glory this evening. Athletes had two runs each—best run counts.
Wise earned a score of 88.60 on his first go-round, and remained in first through the first set of runs. On his second spin through the pipe, however, David upped his game, bagging a 92.60, and the Dew crown to go along with it—not to mention, coveted points towards US Olympic Team qualification.
David’s winning run consisted of a massive switch right 9 tail to open, switch left double 10 Japan, right double cork 12 mute, left double cork 12 mute, alley-oop flat 5 double grab and a left 9 tail to close.
David Wise re: his big win. Enjoy more sound bites from pipe finals: click here
“I didn’t realize it until yesterday,” David said, “but I set some really high goals for the beginning of the season here. I was dropping that switch right 9, which is a new trick for me and yesterday I struggled with it, that’s kind of the risk you take with doing high technicality runs like that. To come out tonight, and just feel it, I landed every run in practice, I was feeling good, going into the contest every run was just a little bit better, so it’s just an amazing feeling.”
In regards to kicking off the North American competition season with a win, David told us, “This is an amazing start for me because now I have that win under my belt and everything else I can just kind of take one day at a time, so it takes a little bit of the pressure off, it’s exciting, it’s fun and I’m just happy to go on to the next one.”
David also spoke re: Torin’s injury.
“It’s really a bummer to see Torin go down,” he explained. “The way he was skiing in practice tonight, the kid was crushing it, so I’m wishing him a speedy recovery. It’s definitely a little nerve racking watching your fellow competitor go down and I just hope to see him out here real soon.”
Watch: David Wise’s winning run, Dew Tour 2013
Behind David on the podium was Crested Butte’s own Aaron Blunck. The 17-year-old sat outside podium contention after one run, yet came out guns blazing on his second attempt. For a run that included a right double 12 critical, a left 10 tail, a switch right 7 mute, an alley-oop 5 critical, right 10 stale and a switch left 7 Japan, Blunck was awarded an 89.80.
“I am on cloud nine right now,” Aaron told us. “I had a little bit of a bump on my first run, second run I just went in, reset the mind, and I was just gung-ho for it and I was not holding anything back.”
“I had so much pressure up there,” Aaron continued. “My coaches, Andy Woods and Elana Chase… Elana helped me out big time. She was like, ‘Hey, go do what you do best, go out and ski,’ and I took that into consideration and I just did that, so I’m so hyped.”
Blunck, too, earns valuable points towards an Olympic bid.
“Tonight was the first Olympic qualifier,” he said. “I don’t even know what to say right now, getting a podium here is the biggest thing I could’ve asked for and it was a huge step towards the Olympics, and I’m the second American, David Wise being the first, who threw down a well respected run.”
We also asked Aaron re: the ill-fate of his two American teammates.
“I think with [Torin] and [Simon] not competing it was a huge bummer, I was super upset about both of those two because they’re both two of my favorite skiers right now in the halfpipe, and I’m so stoked to watch those guys compete and watching them fall, I was so bummed out. Best of wishes to them, I hope they get better soon.”
Watch: Aaron Blunck’s second place run, Dew Tour 2013
Rounding out the podium in third was Lyman Currier—a huge podium for this Colorado native, securing his position among the elite freeski competitors. After logging a decent score for his first run, Lyman raised the bar, stomping an ultra-clean run on his second trip through the pipe, earning an even 87 for his efforts.
Lyman’s third-place run kicked off with a switch 7 on the skier’s right wall; he followed up with an alley-oop flat 5, left double 12, right 9, left 9, and an alley-oop flat 7.
“I’m on cloud nine, this is all so freakin’ surreal,” Lyman exclaimed in an interview with Freeskier’s Donny O’Neill. Making Lyman’s podium finish all the more sweet was the fact that he was competing through lingering (and as we came to find tonight, current) injuries.
“The ribs weren’t the problem, actually,” Lyman said. “I got X-rays after slopestyle qualifiers and I actually have a broken tailbone as well, so that’s what was more buggin’ me tonight. But hey, I’m just happy to come out here and ski my best, and take home third, somehow.”
Lyman also spoke to Torin’s injury. “It opened up the field, yeah, but everybody loves Torin, and we’re all friends here and you really hate to see people go down, so we’re all sending him love and hoping he’s OK.”
Watch: Lyman Currier’s third place run, Dew Tour 2013
We also caught up with US Freeskiing Halfpipe Pro Team coach, Andy Woods. When asked about the US sweep of the podium, in both the men’s and women’s halfpipe events at Dew Tour, Andy had this to say:
“To do this at Dew Tour when it’s an Olympic qualifying event, to get six podiums already, it’s crazy. Never in my wildest dreams would I think we’d get this, I’m just fortunate to have kids who are here ready to kick ass.”
Andy also spoke re: each of the top-three males.
“David is pretty much coming into every contest as consistent as you can get and you can almost bank on him getting a podium, but he did not ski super well last night in qualifying. He had some stuff that he wasn’t stoked on that we had to work through and he felt like he got some work done today and came in with his mindset. As soon as he stepped into the gate he was like, ‘I felt like David Wise again,’ he didn’t feel like, ‘Oh, man what am I going to do? My qualifying run was brutal.’ He felt like as soon as he stepped into the gate, he was David Wise. As soon as he said that, and it was in his skiing too, I knew it was going to be a good night for him.
“Blunck definitely battled through a little adversity, he wasn’t super stoked with how he was running, I guess you could say. A couple of practice runs here in finals and then his first run, but he just laid it down. The kid is seventeen, he’s legitimately got one of the best competition mindsets you’re going to find. He was completely confident, cool as they get in the start gate, and just went down and dropped a banger.
“Lyman has a broken tailbone right now, didn’t even think he was going to ski in this event, showed up the last 45 minutes of training before qualifying, laid down a couple of runs in qualifying, was not stoked, ended up not qualifying super well, and then from training until his first run was just slaying runs. I’ve never seen him ski like this before. I saw him after his last run and I was like, ‘dude how does it feel to put down the run of your life, under pressure like you’ve never had it before?’ I’ve never seen him more stoked.”
In other news from the evening, Canadian Mike Riddle secured a spot on the Canadian Olympic team, despite missing the podium. Riddle had a strong second run, and was sitting in podium position until Blunck knocked him out.
Noteworthy runs also came from Beau-James Wells, whose style is top-notch; and Kyle Smaine, who can’t ever seem to stop smiling.
2013 Dew Tour men’s halfpipe final results:
1. David Wise (USA) 92.60
2. Aaron Blunck (USA) 89.80
3. Lyman Currier (USA) 87.00
4. Mike Riddle (CAN) 85.20
5. Beau-James Wells (NZL) 83.20
6. Kyle Smaine (USA) 82.40
7. Simon d’Artois (CAN) 81.40
8. Kevin Rolland (FRA) 71.40
9. Taylor Seaton (USA) 70.60
10. Noah Bowman (CAN) 69.60
11. Broby Leeds (USA) 62.60
12. Alexander Ferreira (USA) 58.40
13. Gus Kenworthy (USA) 42.20
14. Justin Dorey (CAN) 41.20
15. Torin Yater-Wallace (USA) DNS
16. Simon Dumont (USA) DNS