Words and photos: Scott Shoemake (BillyBecker)Video: Jeffrey LoeweThe fourth and final stop of the inaugural Honda Ski Tour rolled in to Olympic Village at Squaw Valley, CA on March 8-11 to show the world what skiing has been hiding in its back pocket. ESPN and ABC were both there to make sure the best superpipe skiers had a worldwide audience. And make no mistake about it, with $25,000 on the line, it was on!Interstate 80 and the sunshine were putting me to sleep, but as soon as Survivor came on my random shuffle of music, I was stirred and knew the day was going to be going off. There is just something about that good old tiger song. Anyhow, the Ski Tour is amazing, there is so much to do. They even had a rail jam, won by Tanner Rainville. If you ski, you’ll have fun. If you don’t (what are you doing here on NS?), you’ll have fun. There is seriously something going on every hour of the whole weekend. The folks running the show really had it dialed in and the Squaw Valley peeps were great too. This is a premier event, DON’T MISS OUT NEXT YEAR!Niklas Karlstrom had some good runs but cased at the bottom.Peter Olenick flippin' out for the cash.Pete gets the grab.After a nice gondola ride to the top, I thumbed a sled and arrived at the halfpipe. It had been cut only two days earlier by Snow Park Technologies (Snow Park, NZ) with all natural snow. But with temperatures warming, the skiers were ready to get down to business before the pipe slushed out. It seemed like everyone had an idea about what was going to happen: “If Dumont doesn’t fall, he’ll win.” Little did they know that Jossi Wells was back on the scene after a broken collar bone at the X-Games, Mike Riddle had some new stuff, and that $25,000 makes everyone do some strange and unexpected things to get it.All of the skiers were super stoked on the pipe and were just having a blast riding a really fun pipe. Despite the sum of cash on the line, the mood was fun and lighthearted. Pete Olenick even put on a “gun show” and pointed to the beach for the cameras at the bottom, too bad nobody bought any tickets to it.This was the Super Finals of the Ski Tour and each rider had two runs to give ’er all they had. There were a lot of scores in the 80s, and you could tell it was going to be a good finale. Jossi Wells came out guns blazing with both 900s and a 1080 mute to finish off his first run, which gave him an 87.2 and the lead position. Colby West, rocking the sky blue Sunice suit, blended in well with his surroundings: the sky. He brought home an 80.0 with a 9 and a 10 at the bottom, second position. Stefan Thomas was silky smooth, but bobbled a few landings and couldn’t get the score he wanted even with a 9 tail at the bottom and a 7 first hit. Keep an eye on this kid though, so smooth. And in dropped Mike Riddle, coming into the final in second place overall, stomping his run and bumping Colby into third position. Here is the suit that probably half of the NS population will be wanting next year.Stefan Thomas is silky smooth like white chocolate. 720 true tail.Then the Dumont rolls up to the top. Was it over before it started? Did he win before he even pumped the first tranny? He’s so good in the pipe, I would say—maybe. He proceeded to slay the ditch with huge boosts, solid grabs, and tech spins. Can you say 92.25, game over? He’s just so much higher in the air than everyone else, it’s hard to explain unless you’re there. Watching it on a screen doesn’t do it justice. Love him or hate him, The Dumont is in a zone in pipe skiing.
Colby predicts Simon's place on the podium.If you don't count switch tricks or rightside spins, Simon Dumont is simply on a higher level of pipe skiing. 5 to 8 feet higher, to be exact.He was so high at times, I thought he was a cloud with poles.So that was the first run, and the standings didn’t change much. Peter Olenick, who crashed first run, nailed the Whiskey Flip and put himself in third place behind Jossi on his last chance run. Everyone pretty much stuck to their guns and put the trickery together to hold onto their position in the last run. Dumont wasn’t even sweating it, the check was probably already being written with his name on it. It is truly amazing how far half pipe skiing has come in the last couple of years (months even) and I’m glad that this event is bringing skiing to a broader audience and helping to push halfpipe skiing in a new direction. It’s about time these guys who sacrifice their bodies for the sport get some decent compensation in a comp. It was also great to see guys like Shane McConkey, Kent Kreitler, Shane Anderson, Johnny Moseley and others out there supporting the next generation. Thank you Honda Ski Tour, Squawlywood, Crocs, Spyder, Outside, Salomon, Atomic, Paul Mitchell, etc. for supporting the sport we love. Oh yeah and some guy named Kirby Pucket, or something like that, was in first position for the Skiercross, if anyone was overly concerned about that.Jossi drops in for his first pipe run after getting broken off at X. Talent can't be stopped.Hometown hero Sean Field gives his love to NS. Final Results 1. Simon Dumont ($25,000)2. Jossi Wells ($15,000)3. Peter Olenick ($7,500)4. Mike Riddle ($5,000)5. Colby West6. John Symms7. Matt Philippi8. Sean Field9. Stefan Thomas10. Matt HaywardWatch the video here! (21MB .mov)
Here's a look at how the Nor Freeski Cup, Swiss Freeski Open, USSA Junior Nationals, U.S. Revolution Tour Finals, Absolut Spring Park Battle and SFR Freestyle Tour Slopestyle Finals have affected the AFP World Tour Rankings.
Here's a look at how the U.S. Revolution Tour, Mount St. Louis Moonstone FIS NorAm, Canadian Open Tour, Excelent Soldiers, European Freeski Open, SFR Freestyle Tour Halfpipe Finals and Freeski World Cup Corvatsch have affected the AFP World Tour Rankings.