American rider Kiana Clay and Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari won the first snowboarding medals of Dew Tour 2021 at Copper Mountain on Friday, with Clay winning the women’s final and Suur-Hamari winning the men’s final in the in the Adaptive Banked Slalom presented by Toyota.
It’s the first Dew Tour medal for Clay, a Summit County local from nearby Silverthorne, Colorado, in her second appearance: she previously competed at Dew Tour in 2020.
“I love getting to be here at Dew Tour and meeting all the riders that I look up to in the halfpipe, slopestyle, adaptive, everything, and what’s special about this event is that it’s my home mountain: I train with Adaptive Action Sports here at Copper and I live in Silverthorne, so I’m only like 10 minutes away,” Clay said. “It’s also really great because Toyota puts an amazing amount of effort and support into backing this event and just generally growing adaptive sports and showing people what’s possible out there, whether they’re snowboarding or just doing anything in life. The course was prepped well and had a really good flow, and had some parts that were really challenging, which makes it fun.”
Clay was joined on the women’s podium by fellow Coloradans Peggy Martin and Annika Hutsler. Martin, the oldest in the field at 57, lives in Golden, has been snowboarding for more than three decades, and works as an air traffic controller. Hutsler, a retired Marine, lives in Denver but said she is taking a pause from competitive snowboarding after this week to pursue an acting opportunity in California.
Clay normally competes under the SB-UL classification for athletes with a physical impairment affecting one or both arms, after losing her right arm in a motorcycle accident, but there is no classification system for the Dew Tour event, meaning athletes with upper limb impairments compete against riders with lower limb impairments and other classifications.
She said there is not currently an upper limb impairment classification for the 2022 Beijing Paralympics and has petitioned the International Paralympic Committee to allow her to compete.
“I’m hoping that they accept it and I’ll get to go to Beijing, but if not then we are guaranteed to compete in Italy in 2026, which is going to be really rad,” Clay said.
In the Men’s Adaptive Banked Slalom race, Finland’s Matti Suur-Hamari topped the podium, ahead of Great Britain’s Owen Pick – the 2020 Dew Tour gold medalist – and Canada’s John Leslie.
“I think I was a bit lucky to have a really good run through and get the fastest time today: there were really good riders out here today,” Suur-Hamari said. It’s his first Dew Tour win, following two silver medal performances in previous appearances. “I’m super happy about it. It’s a pretty awesome day! It’s always cool to come to race at Dew Tour: we are always super proud to be here to race the banked slalom and showcase adaptive snowboarding and what we can do. It’s never an easy course, so it’s always fun to be here.”
Suur-Hamari, who won snowboard-cross gold and banked slalom bronze in the SB-LL2 lower limb impairment classification at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has already locked in his qualification slot for the 2022 Beijing Paralympics. He says Paralympic years always keep things interesting, and was glad to stop by Dew Tour for a break from the hectic pace of the World Cup circuit on the road to Beijing.
“There’s more events in a Paralympic year, more media attention, and of course everyone wants to do good and get their spot to the Games,” he said. “I feel it makes the competition fiercer, but at the same time, our field is still super friendly. We’re always cheering for each other and happy about all the good results.”
Full Women’s Snowboard Adaptive Banked Slalom Results
- Kiana Clay, 1:03:15
- Peggy Martin, 1:05:11
- Annika Hutsler, 1:11:32
- Darian Haynes, 1:14:53
- Noelle Lambert, 1:16:56
- Jennifer Ackers, 1:38:83
Full Men’s Snowboard Adaptive Banked Slalom Results
- Matti Suur-Hamari, 47.75
- Owen Pick, 49.19
- John Leslie, 50.41
- Ben Thudhope, 50.43
- James Barnes-Miller, 51.72
- Alex Massie, 52/72
- Colby Fields, 53.41
- Jimmy Sides, 59.64