It has been a wild week of weather at Dew Tour Copper, but after a cancelation of the qualifier on Thursday the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final took place in near perfect conditions on Saturday.
Not only was the qualifier canceled, which resulted in a 17-man final, but the Team Challenge event also opted to not hit the jumps on the slopestyle course as a decision to put safety first for the riders. For the finals, blue skies and new snow from the day prior made for an ideal environment to hit all seven of the jib and jump features.
In addition to the change in the number of competitors in the final was a change in the number of runs each was allowed to take. Instead of a three-run final, the larger field was only given two chances to throw down their best line down this year’s creative course.
With respect to creativity, Rene Rinnekangas took the most unique line, bar none. Rinnekangas started with a super wide carve to hand plant a Miller flip on the Mountain Dew quarter pipe, later a giant backside lipslide on the gigantic Woodward wall and ultimately ended his first run with a massive backside rodeo 900 tail grab off the Performix SST jump. Rinnekangas was all smiles.
However, by the end of the first set of runs, it was the local boy Red Gerard that held the top of the leaderboard with a score of 93. Just below him was defending champion Stale Sandbech and the most decorated Dew Tour medalist in the field, Mark McMorris.
Red’s run began with an alley-oop backside 360 into the Mountain Dew hip, then he pulled a noseslide pretzel to fakie before a switch back 270 boardslide to regular on the Dew Tour rails, then 50-50 180 out of the Woodward flat bar before twisting a switch backside 360 off the butter box, but it was his switch boardslide underflip out of flat bar that capped his rails off with class. For the jumps, Red sent a frontside 1080 grabbing tail to set up for a backside 1260 melon off the Toyota jump and ended with a switch backside double cork 1080.
During the second runs there were a number of changes to the top of the leader board, but the most notable name and run was Brock Crouch who crushed every feature on the course. Crouch’s second run earned him a 95.66 by way of a 50-50 backside 360 into the Mountain Dew quarter pipe, nose slide to fakie to set up a half cab 50-50 backside 360 out of the Dew Tour rails, a pressed bluntslide 270 out of the giant Woodward wall and then a 50-50 frontside 360 melon to close out the rails.
Crouch’s jumps included a frontside 900 tail grab to start, a cab 1260 nose grab off the Toyota jump and an incredible backside triple cork 1440 mute off the Performix SST jump to finish strong. It seemed all but locked for Crouch, but he would have to wait patiently for nearly half the field to take their second runs.
“Honestly, I’m super sore right now because I snowboarded yesterday for like six hours,” said Crouch, referring to the unforeseen powder day. Once he caught his breath he went on to comment on his progress since his broken back suffered in an avalanche in April of 2018. “It is crazy to think of where I have come since two years ago, not even being able to walk. I’m so lucky.”
The stress was visible on Crouch’s face after every run while he waited for the event to come to an end, but it would not be the final result he was hoping for. Once Red returned to the top of the course to take his final run, Crouch knew that the hometown hero had the best chance of anybody to take back the top spot.
Red’s run began just as his first. In fact, there was only one trick that Red opted to swap out and it was on the final Performix SST jump. Despite only a few triple corks being thrown throughout the day, Red reached deep to send a switch backside triple cork 1260 and managed to ride out, a bit in the backseat, but clean enough to overtake Crouch.
Though Sandbech followed with another amazing run that included a lipslide 270 out of the Woodward wallride and ended with 1260s off every jump, it was not enough to dethrone Red.
“It was pretty hard,” said Red of his switch triple cork, considering the speed on course with fresh snow from the day prior. “I don’t really have a comment [on the triple cork], I am happy I landed it,” admitted Red, acknowledging the level of competition was what pushed him to try it.
Red went on to comment on the competition coming to his home mountain of Copper and the meaning behind a win in front of friends and family. “It’s insane. I was insanely hyped when I found out that Dew Tour was coming to Copper, and then to come away with the win was beyond me. Honestly, I am speechless.”
Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle Results
1.) Red Gerard, 97.33
2.) Brock Crouch, 95.66
3.) Stale Sandbech, 94.00
4.) Rene Rinnekangas, 93.66
5.) Sven Thorgren, 93.33
6.) Judd Henkes, 90.66
7.) Mark McMorris, 90.33
8.) Mikey Ciccarelli, 80
9.) Darcy Sharpe, 73.66
10.) Fridtjof Tischendorf, 72