Words by Rocky Maloney
Photos by Rocky Maloney & Trevor Woods
As the sun went down in Snowbasin, Utah last night, the lights in the halfpipe came on and the men and women of the ski superpipe world took their turn in prelims at the Winter Dew Toyota Championships. Up first were the ladies, who took their first run while the growing crowd began to congregate at the bottom of the pipe.
Out of the 16 in contention, only the top six women in prelims would move onto Saturday's finals, and squeaking into that last spot in sixth was none other than Maddie Bowman. Maddie was spinning and taking big hits down the whole pipe with both a 540 and a left 900, scoring herself a 78.25 and will be the first one down the pipe in finals.
After gracing the podium at last weekend's FIS World Championships Keltie Hansen continued her consistency here at the last stop of the Winter Dew Tour. With a right 540 to start her run, Hansen kept her speed to take each hit big and connected a 540 into a 900, solidifying her spot in fifth place with an 80.75.
And after becoming FIS World Champion just last weekend, Rosalind Groenewoud was at it again tonight. Anyone who has seen Roz ski pipe knows she goes huge, and she continued to do so with left and right 540's and finished things off with a 360 into another 5, but this time switch, taking an 85.00 on her first run to grab fourth place.
Brita Sigourney is already having the most amazing year of her young career, and is always impressive to watch with her big airs and stylish spins. Kicking her run off with a left 540 into an alley-oop on her second hit, she continued to show that speed was no issue and took her left 900 to the moon, and the judges responded accordingly with a score of 87.50 and third place just behind Devin Logan.
After being in the lead for the whole first run there was no stress for the young Logan, who after taking the top spot in slopestyle prelims earlier in the day continued to showcase her skills as one of the few ladies to excel in both disciplines. Her first run consisted of a smooth 540 into a flair followed by another 5, but unfortunately took quite the spill on her second (but appeared to be fine), and ended up in the second place spot going into finals.
But it was Jen Hudak who was hailed queen of prelims, as after having a tough time in training trying to land her first hit 900, she put it all together on her second run, with the 9, a huge alley-oop 540 and a last hit 720, allowing her to earn the top spot of the evening with a big score of 91.00.
And please join us in wishing all the best to Mirjam Jaeger, who was unfortunately the second skier to go down at The Toyota Championships with an injury after she fell in an unusual way and had to be taken to the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are with you Mirjam.
Following the women the stage was set for the top 23 male pipe skiers in the world to duke it out for one of the nine coveted slots in the ski superpipe finale of Winter Dew Tour. By the time the men got going, a large crowd had gathered at the base to witness a truly amazing spectacle. Taking the ninth place bubble position was Byron Wells, who is always a joy to watch. Going absolutely massive throughout his run with a switch 720 into a stratospheric alley-oop 540 shifty, Wells later finished things off with a combo of left and right 900's and earned a scored of 76.00.
After taking the top spot with authority in the previous day's Last Chance Qualifier Benoit Valentin put it together once again tonight. With all the confidence in the world, the impressive young Frenchman threw a massive dub cork 1260 amongst other shenanigans, prompting the judges to feel he deserved a spot in finals with a 79.25 and the eighth place position just behind Matt Margetts.
Margetts has been going massive in the pipe all weekend long and his showing in prelims was no different. After some frustrations in practice Marg took out all of his aggravation on his run. Starting off with a big dub flair 900 he continued with consistent and big airs down the whole pipe, capping his run off with an alley-oop 360 into a switch 720 a last hit right 1080, which was good enough for an 81.50 and the seventh place spot.
Matt Margetts. Photo: Trevor Woods
Jossi Wells continued his great day by nabbing a spot in finals a few hours after he did the same on the slopestyle course. Starting off with a left 900 and into a big second hit right 900, he then unleashed a huge dub flair 900, finishing off the night in sixth. Good to see Jossi back slayin' the competition scene.
If you have never ridden a superpipe it's hard to understand how incredibly difficult it is to do a run switch, but Duncan Adams did just that tonight by laying down one of the most technical runs of the night, and he did it without a double. Linking together a big switch 720 into a switch 900, Duncan earned a 84.75 and fifth place, and everyone in attendance here in Utah is more than excited to see what Duncan will bring to the table in finals.
Tucker Perkins is always consistent in pipe competitions and knows how to lay it down when necessary. Starting off with a combo of left 900 and right 900's followed by a dub flair 900, Perkins carried his speed into an alley-oop flat 540 into a left 1080 and finished it all off with a switch 720, allowing the young man from New Hampshire to take the fourth place spot.
FIS World Halfpipe Champion Mike Riddle continued to be on top of his game this evening following his big win last weekend, with a first hit dub cork 1260 into left and right 900's, and capped off his run with a switch 900, allowing him to claim third place going into finals, where he'll surely be a contender for the top of the box.
In second was Riddle's Canadian partner in crime Justin Dorey, who really gave the crowd something to cheer for on his first run. J-Bone skied as solid as a kalashnikov throughout his first go at it with a first hit dub 1260 followed by a right 900, and finished off his impressive display of pipe skiing with an alley-oop 540 to alley-oop 360 into a switch 720, which earned him a 92.00. He then opted not to take his second run in anticipation for finals, where God only knows what we'll see from one of the most technical pipe skiers on the planet.
Justin Dorey. Photo: Trevor Woods
Just a short drive from his stomping grounds of Reno, Nevada, David Wise made his trip very worthwhile tonight. Taking the top spot going into finals, Wise acquired all the momentum in the world by stomping his second run that launched him onto the top of leader board. Changing up his second run a bit from his first, Wise threw a second to last hit double cork 1260 into an alley-oop 540 and put down easily the best run of the night, and the judges agreed, awarding the always impressive young man with a high score of 95.00.
Stay tuned yet again for more daily coverage on the final stop of the Winter Dew Tour, which continues with Men's and Women's Ski Superpipe Finals on Saturday followed by Men's and Women's Ski Slopestyle Finals on Sunday.
1) David Wise - 95.00
2) Justin Dorey - 92.00
3) Mike Riddle - 90.00
4) Tucker Perkins - 86.75
5) Duncan Adams - 84.75
6) Josiah Wells - 83.25
7) Matt Margetts - 81.50
8) Benoit Valentin - 79.25
9) Byron Wells - 76.00
10) Tyler Peterson - 75.00
11) Taylor Seaton - 73.00
12) Christian Allen - 73.00
13) Dan Marion - 72.50
14) Noah Bowman - 71.75
15) Rob Heule - 66.50
16) Joss Christensen - 66.25
17) Banks Gilberti - 64.25
18) Tai Barrymore - 50.75
19) Evan Walls - 44.00
20) Nils Lauper - 39.75
21) Peter Olenick - 36.00
22) Peter Adam Crook - 30.50
23) JP Solberg - 27.75
24) Patrick Baskins - DNS
24) Colby West - DNS
24) Xavier Bertoni - DNS
24) Torin Yater-Wallace - DNS
The top nine finishers will advance to Men’s Ski Superpipe Finals joining Kevin Rolland, Simon Dumont and Thomas Krief, who are currently top three in the Dew Cup standings.
1) Jen Hudak - 91.00
2) Devin Logan - 87.75
3) Brita Sigourney - 87.50
4) Rosalind Groenewoud - 85.00
5) Keltie Hansen - 80.75
6) Maddie Bowman - 78.25
7) Kendall Deighan - 73.00
8) Keri Herman - 65.00
9) Hannah Haupt - 49.25
10) Miyuki Hatanaka - 47.25
11) Anais Caradeux - 43.75
12) Blake Peterson - 37.00
13) Shuri Terada - 36.75
14) Chloe Lee - 35.25
15) Mirjam Jaeger - 25.00
16) Madeline Baker - 10.25