Words & photos by Dan Brown
The third annual Dumont Cup took place this weekend with general newcomer Nick Goepper claiming the top spot and with it a $12,000 check. Goepper, who's been rising through the ranks of the freeski scene, most notably claiming third on the Killington Dew Tour podium earlier this year, was joined by Gus Kenworthy, who took second, and Jacob Wester in third. The two-day event, taking place at Simon Dumont's home mountain of Sunday River in Newry, Maine, saw both ams and pros sending it for the massive prize purse.
The Cup started off on Friday with two open jam sessions, one in the morning and another in the afternoon, for competitors who weren't pre-qualified to compete in the semi's and finals. With over 70 competitors, the level of talent was evident as athletes looking to qualify in the open event dug deep into their bag of tricks to impress the judges. 30 would move on.
The Dumont hands out bibs.
Luke Van Valin with last year's winner and pre-qualified athlete Alex Schlopy, who unfortunately had to opt out of the contest due to an illness.
Saturday found the course buffeted by strong winds and unseasonable cold that seems to be the theme of the East Coast competition scene this year. Weather aside, the annual event brought all the needed aspects to the table to make for a great event: a good course, top level talent and an enthusiastic crowd. Expanding the length of the course, the Sunday River park crew put together a perfectly manicured run that began with a box that curved up at it terminus, into the option of a down-flat box or flat-down rail into a wall ride or cannon box. From there, the rider would enter the three jump line and finish with a quarter pipe, which wasn't a mandatory feature.
Semis took place in the morning which allotted each qualifier two runs to advance to the finals in the afternoon, where Gus Kenworthy took the top spot followed by Jossi Wells, Chris Laker and Nick Goepper going into the big show. After a break for lunch for competitors and staff, which in its own right has become a delightful annual event, the top 12 from semis were announced and headed to the top of the course to join last year's podium Joss Christensen and Tom Wallisch for the final event.
With the wind continuing to race through the valley, athletes found themselves having difficulty finding the right speed as a tailwind at the top of the course would very often turn to a headwind at the bottom. This caused a number of skiers to go down with injuries as the third jump's knuckle was gobbling athletes up left and right, notably Joe Schuster, who's face bore the brunt of the an icy landing.
In the end, it was Goepper, Kenworthy and Wester who were able to make the best of three runs. Goepper's run included a 270 on the flat/curved box into a K-Fed on the flat down rail, finishing the rail section with a misty 630. In the jump line, he threw down an unnatural cork 900, switch dub rodeo 9 japan and a dub cork 10 mute. Goepper would walk away with the 12K prize and the top spot on the podium.
Gus Kenworthy, $5,000 richer in second place, hit the top section with a 270 on, 450 out on the first box, 450 on, 270 off the down/flat rail and a cork 630 blunt off the cannon, followed by a right 900 tail grab, switch cork 900 tail and a dub 1260 with a mute grab on the jumps.
Jacob Wester, taking third and the $3000 cheque, began with a 270 on the box, a 270 disaster on the down/flat rail and a cork 630 out of the cannon, along with a left 900, switch 900 tail and dub cork 1260.
Congratulations to Goepper, Kenworthy and Wester, and to all the athletes who put on an amazing show despite the conditions. To see how this event affects the AFP rankings, be sure to head on over to http://www.afpworldtour.com.
1) Nick Goepper - 92.40
2) Gus Kenworthy - 90.00
3) Jacob Wester - 87.60
4) Charles Gagnier - 83.80
5) Phil Casabon - 83.00
6) Tom Wallisch - 82.60
7) Simon Dumont - 75.00
8) Willie Borm - 67.20
9. Joss Christensen - 61.80
10. Brian Kish - 60.60
11. Jossi Wells - 45.00
12. Vincent Gagnier - 40.00
13. Chris Laker - 40.00
14. Peter Engen - 27.40
15. Antoine Choquette - 19.00
16. Alex Schlopy - DNS