Words: Ian Reynolds
Photos: Matt Stauble
Friday morning saw an early start for practice and the ensuing ski slopestyle finals at the third and final stop of the Winter Dew Tour (aka The Toyota Championship), at Mount Snow, Vermont. The story of the day coming into the event was the incredibly close standings in the running for the first four spots in the overall Dew Cup standings, with Tom Wallisch and Andreas Håtveit tied for the first spot overall and Bobby Brown and Sammy Carlson hot on their heels in a tie for second.
With a field of twelve set to start this morning in the best of two-run format, running order was dependent upon previous stop placement, and the event started strong with McRae Williams. While showing solid skills on the first three features Williams fell victim to the Toyota truck box, falling on his first run. Elvis Eidsvold Harsheim followed, posting a solid first run score of 66 with a mix of style and technicality throughout the course, while the Quebecois duo of Alexis Godbout and Charles Gagnier showed why they should never be overlooked by eventually placing 6th and 10th respectively.
After Joe Schuster and Alex Schlopy dropped in with impressive runs of their own (including a 630 on the top rail from Schuster) things really began to heat up when it came time for Kiwi Superstar Jossi Wells to leave the start gate.
Wells showed why he is a constant threat in any and all disciplines with a solid 630 over the first gap onto the down box. Moving into the Nike 6.0 rail Wells stepped up the game with a misty 450 out, and while landing a little tip heavy he continued with precision and professionalism onto the first of three jumps on the course with a solid switch right 9. Again with a slight bobble in the landing he moved onto the only double-double attempt of the day on the last two jumps, boosting a solid double cork 12 into what was scheduled to be an attempted switch dub cork 10, but caught an edge just before putting down what would have undoubtedly been the winning run, and putting up a score of 75.
Joss is Boss
Last year's Dew Tour Mount Snow winner JF Houle followed, showing the field exactly how the Toyota truck box should be hit, boosting a solid 630 out and putting it down deeper on the landing than anyone else on course today, along with some true blue Quebec steeze on his cork 7's and switch 10's, just missing the podium in 4th.
Sammy Carlson showed his relentless consistency, style and versatility on both the rails and jumps with a 270 on 450 off the Nike rail to switch right 9 on the first jump. Moving into the Toyota box Carlson continued his reign of terror with a cork 630 out, to 270 on 270 off the down rail option. On the final two jumps Pasty C tossed a switch right 9 to double cork 10 with a poke although he barely held the landing, leaving room for improvement going into the second heat. With Carlson’s desire for perfection you could tell he wasn’t pleased with the less than immaculate stomp, and although he posted a respectable 1st place score of 81 he knew it wouldn’t hold.
With the athletes watching on from the start tent Carlson was followed by three of the top four contenders. Bobby Brown hit the course showing why he is the new face of freeskiing, stepping up to the challenge set by previous riders with a 270 on 270 off the down box to misty 450 off the Nike rail. He then did a picture perfect switch misty 9 on the first jump, which seemed the popular rotation throughout the field on that hit today. Moving into the Toyota box Brown styled out a cork 630 off, to 270 on 270 off the down rail putting him switch into the second jump on course. With another solid switch right 9, he set up for the clean and precise dub cork 10 on the final hit, posting a score of 85.
Håtveit then hit the course, one upping Brown with a similar run but with a touch more technicality, including a switch 450 on 450 off the top rail, to switch right 9, to misty 630 off the Toyota, to 270 on the down rail, to switch left 900 and capping it off with a double cork 1080, posting a score of 89 and setting the stage for Wallisch.
While employing his signature ‘ignant’ style, Wallisch failed to step up the game with a first round score of 80. Although T-Wall threw down solid spins and flawless landings the few bobbles throughout his run definitely hurt him, leaving him sitting in 7th going into the second heat and putting the pressure on.
Moving into the second set of runs there was solid skiing from all with a few standouts moving up the rankings. 17-year-old Alex Schlopy showed why he’ll be a force to reckoned with in the very near future, finishing strong with a switch 1440. In the end his second run score of 83 would hold for a strong 5th place finish for the young rider.
With some shift in the lower standings things heated up again as it came time for Carlson, Brown, Håtveit and Wallisch to hit the course. Carlson cleaned up his previous run, posting a score of 86.75, just behind Håtveit.
As he watched on the big screen at the bottom Bobby Brown ripped onto the course and continued to bring the fire we all saw last week when he took both slopestyle and big air gold medals at the X Games. 450 onto the down box, to misty 450 off the Nike 6.0 rail, to switch right misty 9 on the first hit, followed by another misty 630 off the Toyota box and 270 270 off the down rail, into a switch left 9 to stepped up double cork 12 on the final hit, exploding into the first place position with a score of 91.75.
While people were expecting greatness from Hatveit, a bobble in the early sections of the course gave him the opportunity to show off some old school to the young guns with a cosack over the down rail into a huge backflip on the final jump, leaving his first run score standing strong in the second position.
With Tom Wallisch on course as the final rider and the Dew Cup on the line everyone in attendance from the competitors to fans were tense with anticipation. While skiing strong, today wasn’t Tom’s day, as he had trouble throughout the course and crashed on the final hit, watching the Dew Cup slip from his grasp and finishing in 7th.
Ladies and gentlemen...the most badass photo ever taken of the new face of freeskiing, Bobby Brown.
Slope Finals all said and done, Bobby Brown has taken yet another victory, showing he is going to be the skier to beat in the immediate future, and although he won the fight, it was Andreas Håtveit who won the war, winning the overall Dew Cup in slopestyle.
1) Bobby Brown - 91.75
2) Andreas Håtveit -89.00
3) Sammy Carlson - 86.75
4) JF Houle - 84.00
5) Alex Schlopy - 83.00
6) Alexis Godbout - 82.00
7) Tom Wallisch - 80.00
8) Jossi Wells - 75.00
9) Joe Schuster - 73.75
10) Charles Gagnier - 72.50
11) McRae Williams - 67.75
12) Elvis Harsheim - 66.00
Andreas Håtveit wins the Dew Cup, with Bobby Brown in second and Sammy Carlson in third.
Congrats to Bobby, Andreas and all the competitors, and stayed tuned to NS for continued up to date coverage as we look forward to tomorrow’s nationally televised (NBC 12pm – 3pm EST) Superpipe Finals where Dew Cup standings leader Jossi Wells, Simon Dumont and Xavier Bertoni will throw down against yesterday’s nine and hungry qualifiers.