words and photos by Julie Weinberger
As I begin to write this story, I am sitting in my bed in Sun Valley horribly hungover from last night’s Slightly Stoopid concert and aftermath at a local bar for 48 Straight, the event formerly known as The Ski Tour.
While I watch the flakes dance down outside, I realize it is snowing hard enough to make shooting afternoon pipe practice worthless, but not nearly enough to enjoy a pow day. It’s been dumping like crazy everywhere but here the last two days, and it’s kind of getting to me as I’ve had two legit pow days since mid-January. I was even contemplating writing Schmuck an email saying I was too “sick” to cover the event and booking it to Alta or Jackson to rip pow. Out of seemingly nowhere, the sun peeked through, and shooting afternoon pipe was a go.
But, in typical contest fashion, as soon I walked up to the base of the pipe—or rather tried my hardest not to slip back down the hill—it began to snow. Thanks for giving me a lift ticket with my credential…NOT! Regardless of the snow, it was good I still went up there. The schedule said pipe practice, but in fact, it was pipe quallies.
The top four guys—Colby West, Simon Dumont, Peter Olenick and JP Solberg—pulled away from the rest of hopefuls. This was pretty much expected since they are seasoned veterans. Still, everyone put on a good show despite the increasingly slow pipe. Scott Hibbert was a crowd pleaser as always, getting in a screamin’ seamen, and Solberg boosted out of the atmosphere on his second run.
Ross Falcone threw one of the best 1260s I’ve ever seen in a pipe. Simon—though throwing a toned down run in terms of amplitude—was super stylish.
Peter’s 9s looked gorgeous. And, Colby looked like a robot.
If you are wondering why Jossi Wells’ name hasn’t been tossed in yet, it’s because he unfortunately tweaked his knee. As of the end of quallies, it is unclear the extent of the injury.
After the best of two-runs, 12 guys advanced to tomorrow’s final showdown. Following that, we’ll see a best trick contest. This “Monster Hit”—as they are calling—will include six riders who had top finishes at the Squaw Valley stop and this stop as well as two wild card slots.
As of late Saturday afternoon, it is snowing pretty darn hard. Hopefully it tones down for tomorrow. If not, the riders might want to whip out their fat skis to wade through the pipe at the rate it’s snowing.
1. Colby West
2. Simon Dumont
3. Peter Olenick
4. JP Solberg
5. Duncan Adams
6. Dan Marion
7. Walter Wood
8. Marshall Lacroix
9. Evan Schwartz
10. Jack Sullen
11. Matt Duhamel
12. Taylor Felton