The men’s snowboard slopestyle semifinal was the first glimpse of who was riding strong for what was likely the most anticipated event of the Dew Tour Mountain Championships. With Defending champion, Mark McMorris, looking to fend off Olympic gold medalist, Sage Kotsenburg, the semifinal kick-started the heated action to come on Sunday. Though, what nobody saw coming was Kotsenburg slipping out of contention without making a clean top-to-bottom run — anything but predictable.
Changing the semifinal game this year, Dew Tour enabled a last chance qualifier (LCQ) as a final go for those that may have slipped up on both semifinal runs. Starting off with thirty riders in the semi, after two runs each ten were sent directly to the final while the next ten ranked riders received one last run to vie for the remaining two LCQ spots.
Snowboard Slopestyle Semifinal Highlights
Semifinal Moments of Interest:
The semifinal was a bit outside of the expected with a few notable moments. First off, Chas Guldemond and his switch double wildcat, or switch straight double backflip. The wildcat is in itself a crowd pleaser as it stands out for both its cleanliness and of course the double rotation — but switch? Yes, Chas, aka Chuck G, threw one out switch today that instantly had everyone buzzing. Way to mix it up Chuck!
Another moment of interest was when Sage slipped up on his second run. Following his creative runs that won him the gold medal in the Sochi Games, Sage was showing off a similarly creative approach to the Dew Tour course. From 50-50 to fakie on the top close-out section of the Nixon handrail, to gapping out to firecracker on the Mountain Dew stairs, Sage was not disappointing with a fun run to watch. However, he continued to have trouble lower down on the course and was unable to hold it together and advance to either semifinal or the LCQ. Oh well, we still enjoyed watching his unique take up top.
Mark McMorris’ LCQ run
LCQ Moment of Anxiety:
With a stacked list of riders including Mark McMorris, Torstein Horgmo, Max Parrot, Kyle Mack and local Breckenridge boy Eric Willett forced to give their final go during the LCQ, the entire thing was making most anxious. Though, for defending champion McMorris the moment of anxiety came just before the final kicker where he asked himself repeatedly, “double or triple, double or triple,” before he boosted a backside 1440 triple cork that would ultimately lock him in for the final. Always setting himself up for a suspenseful finish, McMorris couldn’t hold back his grin once his run was wrapped.
Sven Thorgren qualifies 1st
Sven Thorgren — Method to frontside boardslide to fakie on the Mountain Dew handrail, cab 1260 grabbing roast beef and back-to-back 1080s spinning both ways on final two jumps.
Yuki Kadono — 270 on to 270 off the Nixon 20+ handrail, frontside boardslide gap to 450 out on Mountain Dew box and stairs, switch backside 900, 270 to smith on the Toyota rail to fakie and a backside double cork 1080.
Sebastien Toutant — 450 onto the Nixon 20+ handrail, cab 1260 grabbing tail, double backside rodeo, tail press across the Toyota rainbow rail.
Mark McMorris — Cab 270 to frontside boardslide on the Nixon 20+ handrail, cab double cork 900, frontside double cork 1080, double wildcat and a backside triple cork 1440.
Chas Guldemond — Front boardslide gap out to 450 over the Mountain Dew stairs that set him up for a switch double wildcat!
Chas Guldemond qualifies 4th
Quote for Creativity:
“Yeah, buddy! For years I’ve always just wanted to do a double backflip and switch was always easier for me. I just learned [the switch double wildcat] this summer and it’s still scary every time I do it — t’s a nice setup trick for me, I really enjoy it. These judges have been judging me for 10-12 years so I’m always working to refine myself. It’s a battle to try and stand out but that’s my effort.” — Chas Guldemond
*Top 10 advance to the final
*Top 2 advance to the final
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final:
Watch the final this Sunday, December 14th, at 4 p.m. ET on NBCSN or online at DewTour.com/LIVE or download the NBC Sports Live Extra app.