With four doubles in a few of the runs during the men’s snowboard slope finals, the field of 12 guys had to put down flawless runs in order to make it onto the podium at the Nike Open in Breckenridge.
After posting a 97.75 on his first run, Norwegian rider Gjermund Braaten set the bar extremely high in the men’s snowboard slope finals.
“It was unbelievable,” Braaten said. “I’d been doing that run a lot in practice so I was feeling good when I came into the contest. Just being able to put down a run that I was satisfied with was more than I could ask for.”
His run went like this: switch back tail 270, cab boardslide front board to fakie, switch back double cork 10, cab double cork 9, front 180 switch wallride, switch backside 180 off, back double cork 10, front double cork 10.
The next guy to score in the 90s was Canada’s Sebastian Toutant, who has some troubles last season hanging on to his rhythm in the finals, but today in Breckenridge that was not a problem.
His run was off the charts, with a back 180 in, cab 3 out on the first down rail, cab 2 lip to fakie on the second down rail, cab 9 double cork on the first jump, front 10 double cork on the second, boardslide 270 out on the up rail, back 10 double on the third jump, and a double back rodeo on last hit. He earned a 96.00.
“I was definitely nervous this morning when I woke up, just thinking about competing,” Toutant said. “But after the practice this morning I was more calmed down and ready to go.”
Everyone seemed to have bangers in their runs, so much that if you didn’t score in the 90s, you couldn’t crack the top three. The last guy to make it onto the podium was Canadian rider Charles Reid.
“I landed the best run I’ve ever done so it’s just amazing,” Reid said.
He started things off with a front 270 on the down flat down, to 50-50 gap back 180, switch back 12 double rodeo 9, half cab back 180 out, cab 9 double, front 10.
“The course was amazing,” Reid said. “Seriously today was the best I ever had. I rode through all of qualifier and today was the best.”
Defending Dew Cup champ Torstein Horgmo usually dominates this event, but he sketched a bit on his runs and wasn’t able to finish higher than eighth.
“I was afraid of Torstein because he had a mean run,” Braaten said. “And I’m sure if he landed that, I would have been sitting in second. But I don’t know, maybe it was my turn to have some luck today.”
In the women’s field, Nike rider Spencer O’Brien proved her injuries are behind her after posting the highest score of 90.75 to take the snowboard slopestyle win in Breckenridge.
She stepped it up with a winning run that went like this: front board on the down rail, front lip on the next rail, back 5 melon, switch back 540 mute, 50-50 bs 180, switch bs 180 mute, fs 7 indy.
“I battled back from a separated shoulder so I actually missed this event last year,” O’Brien said. “It feels so good to come back here and win because this was my first professional win, so it’s kind of like home a little bit.”
Canadian rider O’Brien won the first ever Winter Dew Tour held in Breckenridge in ’08/’09, and she went on to earn the Dew Cup that season.
“I’ve been focusing a lot on strengthening and conditioning the last couple years so I think that’s really starting to pay off,” O’Brien said. “I’m just trying to ride without hesitation, and ride harder and push myself. All the girls are riding so good so I know I need to step my game up and keep progressing.”
Second place went to Finnish rider Enni Rukajarvi, who did a boardslide 270 out, tail press, back 5, cab 5, 50-50, front 7, back 3 to score 79.50.
“”The course was really good and I really liked the jumps and everything,” Rukajarvi said. “I’m so stoked that I landed my run because I had two new tricks, the boardslide 270 out and frontside 7.”
It was an international field in the women’s final, with Czech rider Sarka Pancochova taking the third podium spot. She did a front 3 stalefish, back 7, switch back 180 and frontside rodeo 5 to finish with a score of 72.00.
“I was really happy just to do my run because I got a little bit hurt in practice,” Pancochova said. “I fell on my shoulder that I had surgery on, and it’s not feeling really great right now. I was like, ‘Should I do it or should I not,’ and I decided to do it. I’m really stoked I did it.”
Two-time defending Dew Cup champ Jamie Anderson was noticeably absent from the podium after struggling to land both of her runs, and she finished fifth.