The first qualifying rounds are in the books here at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge. Twenty women dropped into the slopestyle course this morning (five competitors DNS), with eight advancing to Saturday’s final. Shortly after lunch, a total of 25 ladies tackled Breck’s famed U-ditch, and again, only eight would advance to Friday’s big show.
While Dew Tour is a perennial favorite for the Freeskier team, the 2013 iteration carries with it some extra weight, as this week’s showdown has direct implications for US and Canadian Olympic team selections—among other nations.
Women’s Slopestyle Qualifier
This morning, under blue skies, and contending with a bit of wind, competitors did their best to stomp a clean run on the impressive Dew Tour slopestyle course; best run of two counts. After an awesome display of skiing—with a few big slams in the mix, including one tumble from Grete Eliassen that resulted in a very broken helmet (she’s ok)—it was 14-year-old Maggie Voisin of Whitefish, Montana, who finished in the top spot.
Maggie dishes quotes to the press
Voisin, who’s celebrating her 15th birthday on the 14th of this month, is eligible to compete in Sochi, and she’s emerging as a top contender. The youngster first made waves last season, bagging a couple of impressive podiums, including a win at the WSI/AFP World Championships in Whistler. And today, in her Dew Tour debut, Maggie put on another “Wow” inducing performance.
“The weather held out, luckily,” Maggie told me post-run. “It was better than all the training days, and I’ve had some trouble in the last few days, so, I just tried to remember why I ski—you know, just go out there and have fun. I’m super excited with how I ended up.”
After scoring an 80.0 on her first run, Maggie cleaned things up on her second go-round and earned an even 86; her second run included a 270 onto the first down-bar, a backside 270 out of the flat-down, a right 5, switch rodeo 5, a clean slide of the rainbow rail in the “Chicken Coop,” and a left 7 mute and left 9 tail to close. “I definitely want to up my run [for finals,]” Maggie said. “We’ll see how the weather is and go from there.”
We also spoke with the third-place slopestyle finisher, and local celeb, Keri Herman.
“Competing here in my hometown, my hood, I love it so much,” she said. “If I could hug the entire mountain I would. It just makes things so mellow for me, it’s a lot of fun being here.”
Herman speaks with Freeskier’s video editor, Shane Dowaliby
Herman also commented on the positive vibes circulating among the female competitors.
“It’s so great being out here with all my girls, the OGs… There are so many girls who have come back from injury and are putting down runs. All of them coming out here and killing it. It’s super inspirational to watch—the struggle they’ve gone through, and to come back and be right back in the game, it’s awesome.”
Among the ladies Herman referred to are Ashley Battersby, Devin Logan, Meg Olenick and Kim Lamarre, all of whom are bouncing back from knee injuries. Lamarre and Olenick were especially fun to watch this morning, as this day marked their first return to major competition in some two years. While both stomped runs—and both were pleased to have done so—Lamarre was the only one to advance to the final round.
Advancing to the slopestyle finals are:
1. Maggie Voisin (USA): 86.00
2. Devin Logan (USA): 84.00
3. Keri Herman (USA): 83.20
4. Dara Howell (CAN): 80.00
5. Jamie Crane-Mauzy (USA): 78.20
6. Kim Lamarre (CAN): 77.80
7. Ashley Battersby (USA): 77.60
8. Julia Krass (USA): 76.00
Women’s Halfpipe Qualifier
Topping the field in the women’s halfpipe qualifier was Utah’s Angeli VanLaanen, who is continuing her comeback to competitive freeskiing after a two+ year hiatus to battle lime disease, from which she is now in remission.
VanLaanen bagged an 89.60 on her first run, which included a lofty straight air on the left wall, a left 5 mute, right 5 safety, left 7 safety, switch right 3 and an alley-oop 3 to close. While her tricks were not quite as technical as some of the other ladies—the 900, in particular, absent from her run—Angeli displayed her trademark massive amplitude, and won the judges over as a result.
“The pipe is absolutely perfect,” Angeli explained. “There’s potential to go really fast, and in my first run today I went a lot bigger than I was expecting, but was able to hold onto the run—but I definitely scared myself a bit with the amplitude.”
“For the first run, wind wasn’t a major issue,” Ang’ continued, “but during our second runs the wind picked up, and it was on and off pretty scary out there. You had to pick your moment and do your best to block out the wind and focus on the run.”
While Angeli washed out on a 900 attempt in her second run, she indicated she’s ready to let ‘er rip come Friday.
“I’ll step it up in finals. I plan to land my 9 and maybe add some other stuff,” she said. And she’ll have her work cut out for her, as she also spoke to the current state of the women’s competition. “I’m really excited about how everyone is skiing. Everyone has come out with so much gusto this season, and I’m really excited about where things are going. I’m seeing new tricks across the board.”
Competing in both the slope and the pipe events today was Devin Logan—she advanced to both finals.
“Qualifiers were pretty intense,” Devin said. “I had about 20 minutes between slope and pipe to grab a quick bite to eat. Then got right back to it. I’m happy it’s over, I’m pretty tired, but I’m ready for finals.”
This editor was also relieved to see Devin advance to the pipe final, as she sat on the bubble spot as the contest came to a close. Had Devin failed to make the cut for finals, my Fantasy Freeride success would be in jeopardy, and nobody wants that. (Added pressure, Devin… I’m counting on you to pull through in finals.)
“I made it by the hair of my chin,” she said. “It was a close one there. There were a lot of good runs, and I was up top getting updates. I was like, ‘Am I still in? Like, what’s going on?’ So, it was close, but I’m happy I’m in.”
Among those who didn’t pull through to finals today was Canadian Rosalind Groenewoud. Despite a disappointing performance, Roz has much to celebrate tonight as her top 12 finish confirmed her nomination for a Sochi spot.
Coverage continues from the Dew Tour through Sunday, December 15. See the full event schedule here.
Advancing to the halfpipe finals are:
1. Angeli VanLaanen (USA): 89.60
2. Maddie Bowman (USA): 87.20
3. Ayana Onozuka (JAP): 85.20
4. Annalisa Drew (USA): 85.00
5. Brita Sigourney (USA): 83.60
6. Anais Caradeux (FRA): 81.60
7. Rowan Cheshire (GBR): 80.60
8. Devin Logan (USA): 78.20