The last freeski event of the 2015 edition of Dew Tour Breckenridge was the Men’s Toyota Slopestyle Final. Last year, this event took place in snowy conditions that slowed the course down but didn’t stop eventual winner Gus Kenworthy from unleashing a barrage of big tricks. This time around, the snow came one day earlier, leaving today’s final to take place under beautiful conditions, and once again, it was Gus taking full advantage to repeat as the slopestyle champion.
One thing Gus is known for is spinning all four directions, and of course he did just that in his run, landing a left double cork 1080 tail, right double cork 1260 mute, switch right double cork 1080 Japan and switch left double cork 1080 Japan on the jumps. He also had very technical rail sections, going rightside 450 disaster to 270 out on the first section, leftside back 360 switchup to 270 out on the gap rail and switch 270 on to misty 450 Japan off on the up-flat-down. His first run earned him a score of 92.2 and put him into the lead after the first set of runs.
“Everybody’s runs are really technical,” Gus explained. “Everybody knows that with four jumps, you have to spin all four directions. There were a lot of guys doing double corks in all four directions, including myself, but I knew it was gonna be the rails that would set me apart if I was gonna try to win.”
With so many heavy runs overall in the first set of runs, it was clear that everyone would have to step things up on Run 2 just to land on the podium. Antoine Adelisse attempted a triple cork 1440 but had issues on the landing that would derail his run. Joss Christensen and Bobby Brown cleaned things up on their second runs to improve their scores but ultimately neither could quite crack the podium.
Jossi Wells made his case for victory with his second run though, landing a right double 1080, left double 1280 on the first two jumps, then going for a switch right double 1080 on the third jump to set him up for a banger at the end – a switch left double 1440. It nearly got Jossi the top spot, but after some deliberation, he ended up in second behind Gus with a 90.0.
Fabian Bosch held on for a spot on the podium after posting an 89.4 on his first run.
Gus’s win is even more impressive when you consider that he almost pulled out of the slopestyle contest after bruising his heel during the superpipe semifinal on Friday. “I knew if it was a little bit of pain, I would tough it out and go through with the contest, but if I wasn’t able to do it, I wouldn’t do it,” Gus said. “I got a local anesthetic injection in my heel right before the slopestyle final, and it totally numbed it, so I was able to put my run together.”
This isn’t the only injury Gus has had to overcome. He spent over six months off the snow rehabbing from knee surgery back in March. Today was only his ninth day on the snow since the surgery, but you wouldn’t know that from watching him ski. “I think I knew I was prepared,” he said. “I tried to wait with the recovery. I wanted to come back really strong, and I felt since I’ve been back on snow, that my skiing’s back on the level it was before I got hurt.”
This was one of the heaviest slopestyle contests that we’ve seen at Dew Tour in recent years, and the fact that Gus was able to top such a loaded field to defend his title was the ultimate reward for him.
“It’s an honor to be able to hold onto the title for one more year,” Gus said. “Last year it was slow and snowy, and I felt really great about winning, but I knew that it was hard for people in those conditions. This year was one of the craziest finals I’ve ever seen – super high level of riding, everyone put down runs – so it feels a little more validating to win.”
1. Gus Kenworthy, 92.20
2. Jossi Wells, 90.00
3. Fabian Bosch, 89.40
4. Joss Christensen, 88.80
5. James Woods, 88.40
6. Bobby Brown, 88.20
7. Oystein Braaten, 87.60
8. McRae Williams, 87.40
9. Antoine Adelisse, 81.80
10. Robby Franco, 78.40
11. Jesper Tjader, 75.80
12. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand, 33.40