Tom Wallisch en route to his victory
All photos by Shay Williams.
Coming off a killer halfpipe final on Saturday, the weather was superb once again today. Warm temps, bright sunshine, a phenomenal slopestyle course, twelve finalists, a throng of rowdy fans—'twas the ultimate setting for a rockin' showdown.
The athletes had two runs each to impress the judges. The better of the two scores would count toward the overall standing. Nine riders earned their spot in today's event by advancing through Friday's qualifier, while the other three—Bobby Brown, Russ Henshaw and Alex Schlopy—were pre-qualified as they stood atop last year's Dew Cup points ranking.
Wallisch's winning run
The course consisted of two rail stations at the top (each station offering 2+ features), two jumps, another rail station offering riders the option of a wall ride, an up-rail and an up-box, and another two jumps down below.
Joss Christensen kicked off the show, throwing down an assortment of technical trickery. A slight bobble on the upper rail section and a foul-up on his 3rd jump resulted in a score of 64.0, and he would look to his second run to improve.
Norway's own PK Hunder was next to drop. Coming off a series of injuries, PK showed he's back in prime form throwing down some series stunts including a switch 450 disaster, 270 off on the second rail station, a switch right cork 10, switch double cork 10, a switch 270 on, rodeo off the up rail in the middle of the course, and a switch 12 mute and rightside cork 10 to cap it. The run was damn impressive, but a missed grab on his final hit kept his score at an even 80.0.
Third on the roster was Alexis Godbout of Tremblant, Quebec. The winner of this same event last year, Godbout has been out of the game for quite some time now with a torn ACL. In fact, the last time he competed was a year ago when he earned the aforementioned victory. A fall in the practice rounds at the Killington stop of the Dew Tour claimed his knee, and he's finally back in form.
Godbout went disaster 270 on, 270 off the down-flat-down rail up top, and followed up with a switch 450 disaster on the next rail station. He opened the jumping with a rightside cork 9 reverse mute, and a switch cork 10 tail. Alexis went switch onto the large wall ride feature, and threw a switch 9 mute and a rightside kangy whilst grabbing Japan to close 'er out. Alexis went big and was tweaking his grabs hard—he earned an 84.75 for his efforts. Despite stomping a solid run, there was certainly room for improvement and he headed back to the top looking to up his score on run #2.
Chris Logan of Mammoth Lakes, CA dropped next and was linking a solid run together, but was unable to hang on after landing awkwardly coming off the wall ride.
Next, Canada's Jamieson Irvine would put his skills to the test. Irvine was technical on the rails and nailed a couple of solid doubles on the jumps, but a couple of mistakes in the air throughout the run cost him, and he bagged a score of 68.0.
Young-gun Nick Goepper of Lawrenceburg, Indiana was next to drop. Goepper made a name for himself last season when he came in 3rd at last year's Dew Tour stop in Killington, and followed up with a win at the Dumont Cup. Having worked hard since then to improve his riding, many eyes were on Goepper today so see how he'd progressed.
Goepper opened up with a switch 270 on, 270 off on the down rail up top, and sent a rodeo 450 disaster onto the next down-flat-down feature. He threw a switch rightside double 9 on the first jump, and followed up with a double cork 10 mute. Goepper sent a lofty 810 off the up-rail at the mid-course rail station, and capped off his run with a switch double 9 and a double cork 1260. Goepper was tech, grabbed well on all his airs, and landed soundly time and again. The judges awarded him an 88.0, and we had ourselves a new leader.
Telluride's Gus Kenworthy would follow Goepper. Kenworthy is the only athlete at the Breckenridge Dew Tour who competed in both the slopestyle and the superpipe final. Gus went 270, pretzel 270 off the down-flat-down rail up top, and spun like a top sending an 810 disaster, 270 off on the next feature. The upper jumps saw a double cork 12 mute and a switch rightside 10 tail. Gus opted for a switch 270 on, rodeo 630 off the mid-course up-rail, and linked a right cork 9 and a switch double cork 10 Japan at the bottom. The judges awarded Gus an 86.25 and he would sit in 2nd for the moment.
Andreas Håtveit, the next Norwegian to grace the finals with his presence, was unable to hang on for a clean run going down on his second jump. He would look to run #2.
Next up was Mr. Tom Wallisch. The top qualifier on Friday, expectations were high for Tom to be amongst the top scores on the day. His run was spectacular from top to… the knuckle of the last jump. Wallisch was on his way to a a very high scoring run when he landed just shy of the landing on the final kicker. Although, he didn't go down, the judges docked him points and he earned a 72.75. He would also look to run #2 to improve.
Joss Christensen on the wall ride
It was then time for Utah's Alex Schlopy to throw down. Another athlete who exploded onto the scene last season with a win at X Games big air, and at the World Championships slopestyle in Park City, UT. Schlopy was looking solid on the upper section of the course but went down on the wall ride feature. He three would look to run #2.
Australia's Russ Henshaw was next out of the gate. Russ' run consisted of a 270 onto the down rail up top, a 630 disaster onto the next feature, a rightside cork 9 japan, a switch double 9, a 450 off the up-rail at mid-course, a double cork 10 mute and a double cork 12 mute to conclude. He earned an 85.0.
Local boy and defending Dew Cup slopestyle champion, Bobby Brown was the last to drop in run #1. A favorite amongst the large crowd, Bobby surely broke the hearts of many youngsters when he went down on the upper jump section. Yet another athlete who would look to run #2.
Running in the same order as run #1, Joss Christensen kicked off round #2. He put a full run to his feet, but bobbled a bit on the upper rails. Joss was thus out of the medal race, but he demonstrated that he'll certainly be a contender at other events throughout the season—including the next two Dew Tour stops.
Chris Logan off the wall ride
PK Hunder was unable to hang on to run #2, bobbling a bit on the upper section of the course. Knowing that those bobbles would cost him a shot at the podium, he carried on through the course throwing mellow tricks. Despite not ending up in a better position today, it was great to see PK skiing well after battling injury. He'll be a force to reckon with at upcoming events.
Alexis Godbout was next up next. He went 270 on, 270 off the down rail up top, switch 450 disaster to follow, right cork 9 reverse mute on jump #1, switch 10 on jump #2, sent an über smooth air off the wall ride, and capped off his run with a switch 9 mute and a rightside kangy Japan. Godbout went huge, tweaked the hell out of his grabs, and was rewarded with an 87.0. Alexis was elated with his performance, noting, "It felt good today coming back from a knee injury having a good run, I'm stoked. The course is awesome, the flow is super good."
Chris Logan was next to make his way through the course. He linked a solid run together, with technical tricks on the upper rail stations, and impressive jumps. A backslap on the landing of a rodeo 10 tail on his first jump was enough to discount him from podium contention.
2011 Dew Cup champion Bobby Brown
Coming out of the gates next was Jamieson Irvine. He put yet another run to his feet, with tech' rails and impressive doubles along the way. Again, a slight miss of a grab or a slight bobble would hurt his score. No matter—at the ripe age of 16, Jamieson is poised for future success.
The current leader, Nick Goepper was next to drop. Goepper would have to rely on his first run score, however, as he took an awkward tumble on the first rail in the course. With a handful of heavy hitters left to ride, Goepper would wait nervously in the finish corral to see if his score would hold up.
Kenworthy, currently on the bubble, sketched on the rail at the mid-section of the course and was unable to improve his score. Despite the bobble, a smooth 270 on, pretzel 270 off on the down-flat-down rail up top, and an 810 disaster on the second feature pleased the crowd. Gus would ultimately end up fourth on the day, matching his fourth place finish in the superpipe event. A podium finish would have been nice, but a 4&4 for Gus ain't too shabby.
Andreas Håtveit, who was counting on his second run to log a solid score, fouled-up on the first rail. A frustrating day for Andreas, indeed, but he's got the skills to pay the bills and will unquestionably make-up for this performance later on in the season.
Also relying on run #2 was Tom Wallisch, the next competitor to drop. Tom went 270 on, pretel 270 off the first up rail, and sent a 360 switch-up over the gap on the flat-gap-to-down feature in rail station #2. He went switch rightside 9 mute on jump #1, and double cork 10 mute on jump #2. He launched to the top of the wall ride and sent a smooth 450 off, and wrapped things up with a switch double 10, and a switch rightside double 10—both with Japan grabs. Tom oozed style on each and every hit throughout his run. He nailed his grabs, and the technicality was of course top-notch. As his score of 92.75 popped up on the big screen at the base of the course, the crowd went wild and a smile spread on Wallisch's face. A new leader!
Wallisch has a few fans
Alex Schlopy was next up. He was tech' on the rails up top, and his jumps were all solid—all up until the last jump, that is. He went for a switch left 12 on the bottom hit (pretty impressive, considering he'd thrown a switch rightside 12 earlier in the run) but lost control in the air. He put the trick to his feet, but the style factor would hurt his score, and he was unable to breach the top 3.
Russ Henshaw was next. He went 270 onto the first down rail, and sent an impressive 630 disaster on the second feature. He linked his upper rails with a rightside 9 Japan, and a switch double 9. He stomped a 450 off the up-rail at mid-course, and sent a double cork 10 mute and a rightside double cork 12 on the bottom jumps. Henshaw's jumping was on-point—many people commenting on his last hit, saying it ranked amongst the best tricks of the day. As we awaited the scores, the general consensus was that his run would rank in the top 3. Alas, he scored an 84.5, missing out on the podium.
Last up on the day, Bobby Brown. Bobby went 270 on, 450 off the down rail up top and sent a rodeo 450 disaster on the next feature. The jumps saw a switch cork 10 tail, and a switch rightside double 9. He launched a rodeo off the up-rail and capped off his run with a switch double cork 12 and a rightside double cork 10. His run was impressive, but he washed out a landing on the upper section and he'd settle for an 83.75.
2011 Winter Dew Tour at Breckenridge — Slopestyle Final Results:
And with that, the 2011 Dew Tour at Breckenridge was in the books.
'Twas a killer weekend marked by stellar weather and impressive riding from the athletes. It was great to have so many people from the skiing industry on-site—and to hang with the gang—and it was great to have so many fans come out to support the athletes.
We'll see you at the next stop of the Dew Tour in Killington, VT—January 19-22, 2012.
For more information on the Winter Dew Tour, visit AlliSports.com
For information on what this event means for AFP rankings, visit AFPWorldTour.com
For more news on Fantasy Freeride, visit fantasyfreeride.com