Dew Tour: Breckenridge
Men's Ski Slopestyle Finals
A day after five competitors broke 93 points in the men's ski slopestyle semifinals, a Breckenridge, Colo., blizzard shut down the field in Sunday's final. Only two of the 12 men managed to get into the 80s, led by Australian Russ Henshaw, whose opening-run 84.50 held up for his first Dew Cup title.
Henshaw acknowledged the gusty winds that left many competitors bouncing off the jump knuckles or skipping the booters altogether, fearful of the carnage to come. But with only one winter event on the Dew Tour this year, he said the risk of throwing big tricks -- including three double corks -- was worth it.
"It was super windy, but it wasn't a consistent wind, it was really gusty the whole day. So you had to watch the flags when you were coming into the jumps," said Henshaw, whose winning run featured a lip 270 into the waterfall rail, 270 onto the wallride, dub 1080 mute, right 900 Japan, switch 270 onto the rainbow rail, switch dub 900 Japan and right dub 1260 mute. "It's only one [Dew Tour] event this year and these were dubs I've done a fair few times, so I was pretty confident if I got a gust of wind while I was in the air, I could open myself up or save myself. I just decided to go for it."
Norway's Andreas Håtveit took second with an even 80 points. As he accepted his trophy on the podium he was still wincing from a wicked wipeout suffered on his final run, when he tried to eclipse Henshaw for the win.
"My butt hurts the most right now and my knee's kind of sore, and my teeth hurt," Håtveit said. "It was just a right dub 12. I usually don't fall, but when you go a good 80 feet longer than you're supposed to, it's pretty much impossible to land it. We shouldn't be riding when the conditions are like this. It's too dangerous. Nobody landed in the same spot twice, it's so inconsistent. You could tell by the results. Like, five people landed their whole run. I should've opted out of my second run, I should've known better."
Henrik Harlaut (78.75) of Sweden earned his second podium finish of the week, following a third-place finish in Big Air. Reigning Dew Tour champ Tom Wallisch of Utah took fifth after a wild crash in his second run, when his left ski popped off in midair during the third of four jumps.
Women's Ski Slopestyle Finals
Canadian slopestyle master Kaya Turski won her second Dew Cup amid dangerous weather conditions Sunday at Breckenridge, Colo., remaining the only woman to hold the ski slopestyle title in Dew Tour history.
However, a lost camera feed in the judges' booth during top qualifier and hometown favorite Emilia Wint's first run led to controversy and, ultimately, a potentially damaging injury to Wint. The 18-year-old Breckenridge Pro Team member landed a run that likely would have challenged Turski's winning score of 87.25, but because of the camera malfunction that prevented the judges from watching a portion of her run, she was shuttled back to the top of the course for a re-run.
She fell early in that run, then at the end of a gorgeous third and final run, she knuckled a switch 540 attempt off the last jump that left her writhing in "a lot of pain" at the bottom of the transition, said her coach, Chris Hawks. It appeared that Wint's leg was injured, Hawks said.
Even Turski was skeptical about the decision to hold the event in swirling gusts.
"I feel like I have the experience and I kind of played it cool, but I'm really sorry that we had to run in these conditions," said Turski, who hit the brakes in the face of a wind gust halfway through her second run and conceded the rest of the course, saying she didn't want to risk injury after blowing out both her knees and dislocating her shoulders in the past. "I think it was pretty scary out there."
Turski's winning run included a switch on front swap, disaster lipslide switch out, switch unnatural 360, switch 540, 270 on to the rainbow box, 540 and switch 720.
Runner-up Yuki Tsubota earned the best result of her career with a 72.25, and Anna Segal claimed third with a 56.75 despite forgoing tricks off some of the jumps to be sure she cleared them.
Men's Ski Superpipe Finals
Blending trademark creativity with unmatched technicality, Justin Dorey left no doubt who the best skier in Friday's Dew Tour superpipe final was. Not even the dislocated shoulder he reinjured in bizarre fashion during his second run could tarnish the satisfaction he felt from his first, which won the event with 93.5 points.
"I could not be in a better place in the world, ever," Dorey said after accepting his champion's hardware at Breckenridge, Colo.
The 24-year-old Canadian has come a long way from a year ago, when a brutal crash at the X Games compounded the grief he was already dealing with in the wake of his close friend Sarah Burke's death. Their coach, Trennon Paynter, said Friday that no one has worked harder than Dorey leading up to this contest. It showed in the pipe.
"I've had a pretty tough year with a lot of personal stuff, and I put a lot of that bad energy into my skiing," Dorey said. "It's just one way I like to deal with all my problems. I work harder when I'm struggling with stuff."
His winning run went like this: right double cork 1260 safety, left 900, air to fakie, switch 720, alley-oop left flatspin 540, left double cork 1260.
New Zealand's Byron Wells took second (90.25), thanks to what he called the best run of his life: switch 1080, right 900, double cork 1260 mute, alley-oop flatspin 540, 1080. "My dad [New Zealand coach Bruce Wells] asked me at the top, 'How can we make it better,' and I couldn't even answer him," Wells said.
Top qualifier Mike Riddle, coming off a win at the North Face Open last weekend, made it two Canadians on the podium by earning an 88.5 on his first run for a third-place finish.
Women's Ski Superpipe Finals
Nine months after tearing her ACL last March, Brita Sigourney passed her first test with surprising ease to win the women's Ski Superpipe on Friday, ahead of Maddie Bowman and Roz Groenewoud.
Sigourney, who returned to snow last month, shot higher out of the pipe than any other woman in the field. She also combined clean grabs and a six-trick lineup that went alley-oop 180, left 900, alley-oop 540, left 540, right 540, left 720.
"That's the same run I was doing last year at my last competition, the Grand Prix at Mammoth, right before I hurt my knee," Sigourney said. "I'm just happy to be picking up where I left off."
Bowman, 18, spun 900s in both directions, the first time she'd landed an unnatural 9 in her run, but she clipped the lip of the pipe and was docked to an 87.25. She and Sigourney share both a personal coach, Ben Verge, as well as the U.S. team's pipe coach, Andy Woods. They're also close friends. "I'm just glad I landed my run and she landed her run," Bowman said.
Groenewoud took third with a second-run 84.00. She was the only woman to score above 80 on both runs.
Big Air Finals
At Thursday night's Freeski big air final, Swiss jumping sensation Kai Mahler won a can-you-top-this battle with Colorado favorite Gus Kenworthy and Sweden's Henrik Harlaut by posting a 97-point score on his final run of the night.
That bumped Kenworthy's score of 95.75 to second place, moments after he'd overtaken Harlaut's 94.75 to claim the lead -- which happened moments after Harlaut had one-upped Kenworthy's 94.5.
Mahler, the youngest athlete in the final at 17, won with a switch double misty 1440 double Japan grab. It was the first time he'd tried that grab combo with that trick, and it topped Kenworthy's double cork 1620 tail grab and Harlaut's crowd-pleasing nose-butter double cork 1260 Japan grab.
"This was crazier than last year's X Games Big Air," said Mahler, who earned an unexpected silver medal in Aspen. "Every run changed the standings, I'm just super stoked I got first. That last run was one of the best tricks I've landed in my life."
Kenworthy was in position to win his first Dew Cup with just Mahler and Harlaut still to jump. But he knew better than to celebrate. "I didn't feel safe at all in my first-place position, but I knew I was guaranteed a podium and was just happy with that," said Kenworthy, who also skied in the superpipe semifinals Thursday. "To end up second with the level of competition here is awesome."
Harlaut also broke new ground, saying he'd never tried the nose-butter double off a jump that large, nor done a double with a Japan grab. He threw a blunt grab into his final run but lost it a moment too early, settling for a 91.
Freeski Men's Slopestyle Final Results:
1. Russ Henshaw -- 84.50
2. Andreas Håtveit -- 80.00
3. Henrik Harlaut -- 78.75
4. Matt Walker -- 77.25
5. Tom Wallisch -- 74.25
Freeski Women's Slopestyle Final Results:
1. Kaya Turski -- 87.25
2. Yuki Tsubota -- 72.25
3. Anna Segal -- 56.75
4. Emilia Wint -- 42.50
5. Dara Howell -- 40.50
Freeski Big Air Final Results:
1. Kai Mahler -- 97.00
2. Gus Kenworthy -- 95.75
3. Henrik Harlaut -- 94.75
4. Jossi Wells -- 87.75
5. Tom Wallisch -- 87.50
Freeski Women's Superpipe Final Results:
1. Brita Sigourney -- 90.25
2. Maddie Bowman -- 87.25
3. Roz Groenewoud -- 84.00
4. Ayana Onozuka -- 78.00
5. Anais Caradeux -- 74.50
6. Keltie Hansen -- 62.00
Freeski Men's Superpipe Final Results:
1. Justin Dorey -- 93.50
2. Byron Wells -- 90.25
3. Mike Riddle -- 88.50
4. Kevin Rolland -- 85.50
5. David Wise -- 85.00
6. Tanner Hall -- 85.75