Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, it's here, the East Coast stop of the Winter Dew Tour. With the field of competitors arriving late last night, today was slated for an all day, ski/snowboard super practice session. The sun valiantly tried to break through the Vermont clouds, peaking out a few times, but was ultimately overpowered. The wind was… gusty. The temperature may have seemed cold at a wintery 20 degrees, but today was the "warm" day, so we're in for quite the competition. But more than the weather, here is rundown of the slopestyle and superpipe venues that the folks at Killington have come up with.
Not historically known for 22-foot superpipes, the Killington crew has put together quite the stunt ditch for this event. A decently pitched, decently shaped and extremely icy (due to the aforementioned weather combined with a lot of manmade snow) Superpipe greeted everyone this morning. Some minor grumblings about the superpipe being over-vert were in the air, but they faded away as quickly as they appeared.
Lobster Face, PhD. hand inspects the pipe wall… science…
While the cold took its toll on everyone, it didn't seem to hold Torin "Tater Tot" Yater-Wallace back at all. Young Wallace dropped some alley-oop double flatspin 900s last hit like it was a spring session. Other than T.Y.W., the usual suspects were shredding: Simon Dumont boosting, Justin Dorey throwing all sorts of tricks, Mike Riddle getting all sorts of bwarrow-y and the French contingent (Rolland and Krief) doing what they do best.
Surely some minor adjustments will be made overnight to the Superpipe before tomorrow's prelims (1 PM, EST if you're in the area), but the biggest challenge to the competitors will be the weather… will it snow? Will it be the next coming of the ice age? Will the sun decide to grace us with its warming embrace? All will be answered tomorrow. But now, some predictions, based solely upon the last Winter Dew Tour stop and what things have been swirling in the rumor mill.
Milk gettin' his training done.
Shay Williams' top 5 picks [in alphabetical order]:
Justin Dorey – After watching Dorey go two-for-two in podiums this year, he's clearly got the skills. And based on the fact he was just airbag-ing in Park City AND he doesn't have to ski until saturday's finals, things are looking good for J-Bone.
Simon Dumont – Who wouldn't pick the Dumont for another win? This pipe isn't super steep, meaning the vets who have skied more transition have an upper hand. And, come on, it's Simon Dumont, do I need another reason?
AJ Kemppainen – Besides the fact that AJ loves this pipe, he was looking good in practice. Amplitude might be smaller here, which suits AJ's technically flawless style. It's about time for AJ to podium at a Dew stop.
Mike Riddle – Don't let the last stop fool you, Riddle has a deep bag of tricks. When he's in the zone, he's in the zone (ie, 2009 Winter Dew in Breck). Milk is in top form coming into this weekend, he'll be making some moves.
Torin Yater-Wallace – Torin got 5th in Breck without doubles. He now has a double (if not more). He still goes big, he's still fearless and he's 15. Don't be surprised to see him on the podium.
Jacob Wester looks into Killington's future.
Where Breckenridge's course was long and meandering, this Killington course is fairly short and quick. Three rails and three jumps in a bang, bang, bang fashion. With the same weather and
snowy icy conditions as the pipe guys, slopestyle was a tough go today. Here's the rundown of the course:
Feature 1: A simple down bar. Great place for 270s. (Blurry Alex Schlopy)
Feature 2: A Down-flat-down rail or a flat box to flat-down gap. (Sammy Carlson)
Feature 3: Two Cannon(?) options and a gap to flat down. (Dane Tudor)
Bobby Brown & Russ Henshaw like the cold weather.
Feature 4: A small table, 45 footer. (LJ Strenio)
Feature 5: A medium jump with two even takeoffs. (Russ Henshaw)
Feature 6: The "Money" booter. 65-70 feet. Good hangtime. (Dane?)
Saturday's prelimiary round will be quite the show, with a course that is 50-50 rails and jumps. What strategies will be used? Will bothway doubles be used? With the cold weather play into everyone's waxes? With a practice day tomorrow, some of these answers will reveal themselves.
Shay Williams' top 5 picks [in alphabetical order]:
Bobby Brown – Word on the street is that Young Brown has been learning tons of new tricks, even in the poorest of conditions. His natural ability, will to compete and deep bag of tricks means that Brown could very well find himself on top.
Sammy Carlson – No matter the course or conditions, Pasty C is always in the mix. Don't ever count him out. Rightside, leftside and rail tricks, he's got 'em.
Alexis Godbout – Last stop's winner has the momentum coming into this event. He's from Quebec so you know the cold won't bother him. Watch for that big rightside Knagaroo flip to make an appearance.
Andreas Håtveit – The conditions here are similar to Andreas' native Norway. The same place he has built himself a spectacular terrain park. He arguably has the largest bag of tricks. You could say he's ok.
Russ Henshaw – Russ has a great deal of double flips and is due for a big win. The big Aussie may not like the weather, but he's here to compete and win. Besides, his GF is here watching, he can't let her down.
Mike Riddle predicts the future.