words and photos by Julie Weinberger
Superpipe wrapped up the North American Open on Sunday, with Simon Dumont and Keltie Hansen walking away with wins.
Just as in slopestyle the morning pipe qualifier was a lengthy jam session. Jon and Simon then proceeded to hand out bibs to 22 guys and five women who stood out to them during the jam. After another free lunch courtesy of Jon and Simon, finals were underway, judged by Jon, Rory Will and Andy Woods.
Despite the tough conditions, the women threw down. Keltie spun her way to the top with back-to-back 5’s in the middle of her run, and then another 5 at the end. Angeli VanLaanen boosted herself into second, throwing a huge 5 and going higher than any of the other women. She also took some gnarly crashes, but was still able to put down a solid second run. Gina Gmeiner rounded out the podium with some stylie alley-oops and a 360 on her final hit. MC Waryas’ alley-oop hand plants were also crowd pleasers.
Angeli wasn’t the only skier wrecking big. Almost everyone in the finals fell on at least one of their three runs. Howling winds and snow definitely made the conditions of skiing this perfectly cut pipe a little rougher. Still, the riders battled through it.
“I really tried not to make the conditions a factor,” Keltie said. “I just tried to go as fast as I could.”
On the men’s side, we saw a lot of variation. JP Solberg was boosting huge and throwing stylie alley-oop flatspins as well as 10’s in the middle of his runs. Parker Thomson stomped the crap out of a first hit 1260. Marshall Lacroix threw smooth back-to-back 9’s. Peter Olenick was going huge on his first hit flatspins. The crowd was definitely hoping to see the Whiskey Flip, but the conditions just were not right. When it was all said and done, newcomer Matt Duhamel made his way into third. Dan Marion found himself in second with a 9, a switch 7 and an alley-oop flatspin. And, our contest co-host Simon Dumont took the win, consistently going bigger than the rest of the field, even with his hurt shoulder from X Games.
“The level of skiing was really good,” Jon said. “It was good to see some kids out here who we’ve never really seen ski before.”
Once awards were given out, the North American Open officially wrapped up. What a fantastic contest. The only thing that could have been better was the weather.
Angeli VanLaanen (silver), Keltie Hansen (gold), Gina Gmeiner (bronze)
Simon Dumont (gold), Dan Marion (silver), Matt Duhamel (bronze)
“It turned out the way I wanted, except for the blue skies I was hoping for,” Jon said. “I’m never really happy, but if I don’t seem upset, then it went well. Now, I’m just thinking about what we could have done differently, but I haven’t figured it out yet.”
The jam sessions allowed riders to find their groove without the pressure of only a couple of runs. Group lunches and the Empire party brought everyone together, adding to the overall camaraderie of the event. Jon and Simon were talking to everyone and answering any questions anyone had. There is absolutely no reason as to why Jon and Simon should not have entered this event. Just because they built the course and decided to have jam sessions does not mean they can’t ski what they spent countless hours putting together. And, in the true spirit of an open event, the newcomers who are really ready for the big show stood out. Even skiers who didn’t ski their best or find themselves on the podium were having fun.
“My face hurts because I have been smiling for four days straight,” MC said. “The jam format and doing everything with the other skiers made it really enjoyable.”
1) Simon Dumont
2) Dan Marion
3) Matt Duhamel
4) Marshall Lacroix
5) Colby West
6) Peter Olenick
7) Christian Allen
8) Duncan Adams
9) Taylor Felton
10) Evan Schwartz
1) Keltie Hansen
2) Angeli VanLaanen
3) Gina Gmeiner
4) Jillian Kazley
5) MC Waryas