Words: Jeff Schmuck

Photos: John Vandervalk

The 2010/2011 slopestyle competition circuit officially kicked off today at day one of the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour (aka The Nike 6.0 Open) in Breckenridge, Colorado with the men’s ski slopestyle open qualifiers.

Despite a few days of promising weather leading up to the event, today’s first of five days of competition was plagued by falling snow and high winds, as a massive storm that moved in from the west engulfed Summit County, something The Mile High State has reportedly been experiencing a lot of during the early season.

Although the weather proved challenging for many of the competitors, mad props are in order for the Breckenridge park staff, who did a stellar job all day long of maintaining the amazing slopestyle course they’ve put together for this contest.

The course begins with the winning feature in the Nike 6.0 Greatest Hits contest, the Burlington Double Set Rail. Thousands of folks took to the Internet last month to vote on which iconic feature they wanted to see replicated and constructed for the event, and much to many of the athletes’ delight, the multi-option urban feature from Vermont came out on top.

The Nike 6.0 Burlington Double Set

Following the double set, the course continues with a down-flat-down box or flat-down rail option, into a two-jump line, into a gap to rainbow box or upward flat rail option, into the final two jumps.

The down-flat-down box/flat-down rail option

Jump #1

Jump #2

The gap to rainbow box/upward flat rail option

Jump #3

Jump #4

On to the competition itself, which saw 60 young men take to the air and metal to prove their worth, in an effort to score one of the coveted 13 available spots in Friday’s prelims against the pre-qualified athletes, along with the opportunity to compete in all three Dew Tour stops this winter.

The start list was broken down into two heats with 30 skiers each, and each skier was given two runs to strut their stuff for the judges, who selected only the top five from each heat along with the next three highest scores amidst the entire field to move on to the next round. So needless to say…the stakes were high.

Standing tall in the first heat and coming out on top was Russ Henshaw, who yes (for some reason), was required to qualify for the event, which he did with flying colors and multiple silky smooth doubles.

Russ Henshaw

Just behind him in second was a man who has become much more well known for his big mountain prowess over the past few years, but proved that his time in the backcountry hasn’t caused him to miss a beat on a slopestyle course, Dane Tudor.

Chris Laker

Vincent Gagnier

James 'Woodsy' Woods

Securing the third spot was rising star Chris Laker, who was consistent and on point throughout the day, while Vincent Gagnier and James ‘Woodsy’ Woods rounded out the top five, followed by LJ Strenio, Colby James West and Nick Martini, who laid claim to the next three highest scores amongst both heats and in turn the final three spots in prelims.

LJ Strenio

Nick Martini

Missing the cut was a quiver of fine young gentlemen who gave it their best effort and put on quite the show in the process, including Bene Mayr, AJ Kemppainen and youngster Willie Borm, along with a host of others, many of whom will surely be a force to be reckoned with at future events.

Bene Mayr

AJ Kemppainen

Willie Borm

On a less positive note, a few significant injuries were unfortunately sustained today by the likes of French Canadian wonder kid Seb Eaves, and heir to the throne Beau-James Wells. Please join us in wishing them all the best.

Seb Eaves

While the weather was relatively cooperative during the first heat, things took a turn for the worse for those in the second, eventually forcing the cancellation of the second of two runs due to some seriously high winds that caused more than a few of the guys to get maimed on the third jump.

Matt Margetts

Those that came out swinging during their first run were rewarded for their efforts though, including Thomas Doplands, Alexsander Aurdal, Paul ‘B-Paul’ Bergeron, Chris Logan and Kolby Ward, who emerged as the top five, while the rest of the field retreated to the lodge at the bottom, which was filled with more than a few disappointed looks on the faces of those who won’t be competing on the Dew Tour this winter.

Chris Logan

The first stop of the Winter Dew Tour continues tomorrow with men’s ski superpipe qualifiers and women’s ski superpipe prelims. In the meantime, here’s a look at the results from today’s qualifiers, along with the list of pre-qualified athletes who today’s top dogs will be up against on Friday during slopestyle prelims.

Sammy Carlson

Elias Ambuhl & 1st place qualifier Russ Henshaw

Results

Heat 1

1) Russ Henshaw - 87.83

2) Dane Tudor - 82.83

3) Chris Laker - 82.67

4) Vincent Gagnier - 81.83

5) James Woods - 81.50

6) John Strenio - 80.67

7) Colby West - 80.17

8) Nick Martini - 78.67

cut-off

9) Karl Fostvedt - 78.00

10) Cody Ling - 76.67

11) Ben Moxham - 75.50

12) Willie Borm - 74.50

13) Joe Schuster - 71.17

14) Benedikt Mayr - 68.00

15) Jamieson Irvine - 67.67

16) Klaus Finne - 65.50

17) Erik Hughes - 63.50

18) Aidan Sheahan - 62.17

19) Marshall LaCroix - 60.83

20) Spencer Milbocker - 60.83

21) Cody Cirillo - 49.67

22 Walter Wood - 48.50

23) Matthew Nelson - 40.83

24) Grant Savidge - 35.17

25) Antti-Jussi Kemppainen - 34.33

26) Gus Kenworthy - 32.50

27) Oscar Harlaut - 26.33

Heat 2

1) Thomas Dolplads - 83.17

2) Aleksander Aurdal - 78.33

3) Paul Bergeron - 77.17

4) Chris Logan - 75.67

5) Kolby Ward - 74.00

cut-off

6) Nick Goepper - 73.17

7) Oscar Scherlin - 72.33

8) Kim Boberg - 72.00

9) Joss Christensen - 69.17

10) Andri Ambuhl - 68.67

11) Michael Hornbeck - 64.67

12) Brian Kish - 63.67

13) Taylor Felton - 59.83

14) Parker White - 58.33

15) Charlie Lasser - 55.83

16) Dale Talkington - 53.33

17) Jason Arens - 42.50

18) Matt Margetts - 35.83

19) Lasse Nyhaugen - 32.67

20) Tim McChesney - 31.00

21) Byron Wells - 26.50

22) Maks Gorham - 25.67

23) Tosh Peters - 23.67

24) Julien Lange - 21.17

25) Beau-James Wells - 18.33

Pre-Qualified Athletes

Elias Ambuhl

Anders Backe

Bobby Brown

Sammy Carlson

Phil Casabon

Ian Cosco

Charles Gagnier

Banks Gilberti

Alexis Godbout

Steffen Hamre

Elvis Eidsvold Harsheim

Andreas Håtveit

JF Houle

PK Hunder

Sean Jordan

TJ Schiller

Alex Schlopy

Tom Wallisch

Jossi Wells

McRae Williams


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