Words & photos by Will Eginton
The second and final day of the fourth annual Dumont Cup wrapped up yesterday in Sunday River, Maine. The competition saw unprecedented mainstream media coverage, as both NBC and Red Bull Media House crews were abound throughout the six-feature course. The host himself – who recently had ACL Surgery – made sure no one left his home resort unhappy. From five-star dinners for the competitors to endless schwag tosses, Simon made pulled out all the stops to ensure this year’s Dumont Cup was the best yet. The competition itself proved to be worthy of the Platinum status it now enjoys from AFP without losing its grassroots vibe. Ultimately, Gus Kenworthy walked away victorious followed closely by Nick Goepper and Joss Christensen.
The Dumont, aka the host with the most.
In a drastic departure from yesterday’s summere-sque weather, contestants awoke to grey skies and surprisingly firm snow. “Don’t call it hard,” joked one coach to his athlete. “It’s all psychological. Call it firm.” While on Friday many struggled to clear the jumps, Saturday’s semi-finalists were forced to adapt to a surprisingly fast course and flat light.
No one, however, seemed to have any issues. The 20 amateurs – along with the 13 pre-qualified skiers – got after it after only two laps on the touched up course. Lucas Evans set the tone early, dumping a double misty off the second jump on his first run, which proved to be the catalyst for the double hysteria that dominated the competition.
The Utah boys – Dale Talkington and Ryan Wyble – quickly picked up where they left off yesterday. While neither opted to dip twice on their spins, each put down both of their runs. Dale’s switch 9 to rodeo 9 – sent deep down the landing of the final jump – firmly established the pair on the start list for finals. Wyble, in fact, beat out many of the pre-qualified competitors to qualify first.
Not to be outdone, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand stomped an equally impressive run. Consistently slaying the rails throughout the two-day event, ABM stepped it up on the jumps tossing a smooth right 9 and capped off his run with a rodeo 9 to the left on jump three.
The professionals at this point in the competition were mixed in with the amateurs for the cloud-ridden semi-finals as well. Joss Christensen looked exceedingly comfortable throughout the day while James Woods and Gus Kenworthy equally tore apart the six-feature course. The two easily qualified for finals, with Woods in third and Kenworthy in second, respectively.
As the sun began to poke through the clouds during the second run of semi-finals, it became clear that at the current moment, the gap between amateurs and professionals is rapidly diminishing. In fact, over half of the finalists came from the amateur pool. Alex Schlopy, Torin Yater-Wallace and Joe Schuster – despite having a solid first run – all failed to make finals. Oh, and Ian Cosco did more back flips.
As the semis wrapped up and the crowd collected for finals, the sun managed to push through for the best-of-three final heat. Temperatures quickly rose – pushing the mid-70’s by the end of the day – and the course began to resemble the slushy, trench-ridden state it inhabited yesterday. The finalists, however, show little difficulty making it through; in fact, many were sending the three-pack to the last few feet of transition.
The finals portion of Saturday’s competition ultimately belonged to the six pre-qualified athletes from semis, despite valiant efforts by the amateur contestants. Sam Lagrange – a relatively unknown Quebec skier – set the tone with silky smooth cork 9’s and switch misty 10’s. The quiet killer Kolby Ward struggled to piece together his runs, and Andy Partridge’s smooth style couldn’t best the more experienced athletes who were present. Dale Talkington – despite linking a massive switch 12 with a rodeo 10 – wasn’t even able to crack the top ten.
Charles Gagnier – who earned his spot in finals through Friday’s open division – proved that he is still on top of his game with big left and right spins. James Woods ultimately slid in to fifth place ahead of Willie Borm, as Willie’s switch dub 9 to dub 12 – combined with a disaster 4 onto the oft-ignored down-flat-down up top – was bested by Woodsy’s left double 10 to right double 12 combo on his second run.
James ‘Woodsy’ Woods
Jossi Wells proved once again that he is always a threat; after botching his first and second runs, he came in hot on his third with a solid rail section, a switch left 9 to double 12 and switch 10. The run placed him just shy of the podium in fourth place. Park City native Joss Christensen then bested the Kiwi with a left dub 12 into the most effortless switch unnatural 10 of the day to round out the podium in third.
The battle for the top spot became quite apparent after the first run. After stomping a clean run with two doubles and a gorgeous right 9, Gus Kenworthy jumped out front early. Not to be outdone, last years’ champion Nick Goepper – who had not skied a single scored run prior to finals – laced his “stock” run with a switch misty 9 and back-to-back doubles.
Gus, however, was ultimately triumphant. His second run – although almost identical apart from the rail section up top – was borderline flawless. Goepper upped his game, dropping three doubles across the three jumps, but couldn’t top Kenworthy’s style and grabs. He walked away with first place and a cool $12,000.
As the legions of pint-sized spectators crowded the bottom corral for the award ceremony at the end of th day, it became quite clear that The Dumont Cup truly is a unique event. Simon Dumont has ensured that the event that bears his name – although recently elevated to Platinum status by the AFP – has not abandoned its roots. The event is accessible to fans of all ages, and truly demonstrates the personal level on which this industry operates.
Joss Christensen (3rd), Gus Kenworthy (1st), Nick Goepper (2nd)
1) Gus Kenworthy
2) Nick Goepper
3) Joss Christensen
4) Jossi Wells
5) James Woods
6) Willie Borm
7) Charles Gagnier
8) Ryan Wyble
9) Alex Beaulieu-Marchand
10) Andy Partridge
11) Dale Talkington
12) Sam Lagrange
13) Kolby Ward
Check out this video of the event from AFP, and to see how this event affects the AFP World Rankings, go to afpworldtour.com.