David Wise claims top spot, Gus Kenworthy eliminated in freeski superpipe semifinal

On Friday, a stacked field of heavy-hitters kicked off the men’s freeski superpipe semifinal competition. Each of the 26 riders that started were awarded two runs. The top ten automatically advanced to the finals; however, those riders that placed 11-20 were given another opportunity for redemption in the last chance qualifier which immediately followed. Unfortunately those riders that placed 21-26 would be eliminated.

PHOTO GALLERY: Men’s Freeski Superpipe Semifinal

Early in the competition, shock was in the air as many of the podium contenders were unsuccessful in completing an entire run. That didn’t stop Alex Ferreira from revealing his arsenal of tricks early in Run 1. Ferreira came out charging with a right flair dub 900 Japan on his first hit and a massive left dub 1260 mute towards the end of his run. Hailing from France, the determined Kevin Rolland showed the competition that he meant business and put together a great run scoring 86.40. David Wise may have surprised some by adding an unorthodox tactic in the middle of his run. “I didn’t throw down any new tricks but I changed up my run and threw in a zero spin in the middle,” Wise stated. With a left dub 1260 mute to start his first run and a switch left dub 1080 Japan to end it, the judges awarded Wise a 90.20.

Conversely, where there is glory for some there is distress for others. Mike Riddle and Gus Kenworthy both took spills, relying solely on their second runs to grab a spot in the final.

Alex Ferreira came out strong in Run 1 adding pressure to the competition. (Photo: Anna Stonehouse)

Many heavy favorites found themselves at the bottom of the rankings in their quest to land a spot in the top ten, which would guarantee them a position in the finals. The pressure was on for the second set of runs. Perhaps too much pressure. “You can tell that there were a lot of nerves out there amongst the competition, being that it’s the first contest of the year,” Wise admits. The second set of runs were more subdued than the first set, as no score eclipsed an 84.20 from Wise. Wise sat comfortably in first place but podium hopefuls Mike Riddle and Gus Kenworthy couldn’t successfully complete a run. Riddle scored a 7.00 on both runs and Kenworthy took a spill attempting a left alley-oop dub flat 900 in Run 2. “I was really surprised that Gus and Riddle didn’t qualify, those are podium candidates not just guys that make it to the finals,” exclaimed Wise. “I like to compete with the best, so it’s a shame that they didn’t advance.”

Olympic gold medalist David Wise dominated each wall of the pipe and had onlookers in awe. (Photo: Topher Baldwin) 

In the end, Kyle Smaine, Beau-James Wells and Byron Wells all scored in the 80s and locked a spot in the finals. It was Kris Atkinson who jumped from 20th place to 10th, edging Jaxin Hoerter off who sat on the bubble position sending him to the LCQ.

Semifinal Results
1. David Wise, 90.20
2. Alexander Ferreira, 88.00
3. Kevin Rolland, 86.40
4. Kyle Smaine, 84.00
5. Beau-James Wells, 83.00
6. Byron Wells, 81.20
7. Taylor Seaton, 76.20
8. Broby Leeds, 74.00
9. Birk Irving, 70.80
10. Kris Atkinson, 68.60
**Top 10 advance to the final

11. Jaxin Hoerter, 67.00
12. Jacob Beebe, 65.20
13. Colby Stevenson, 64.60
14. Lyman Currier, 64.40
15. Jake Mageau, 63.80
16. Taylor Wilson, 59.80
17. Ryan Malone, 58.20
18. Kwang-Jin Kim, 54.00
19. Aaron Blunck, 53.00
20. Lennon Vaughan, 52.20
**10-20 advance to the LCQ

21. Gus Kenworthy, 27.00
22. Brendan MacKay, 26.20
23. Thomas Krief, 18.40
24. Joffrey Pollet-Villard, 8.20
25. Mike Riddle, 7.00
26. Noah Bowman, DNS

Only two freeskiers would advance to the final in the last chance qualifier. They have one run and one run only to claim their worth for a chance at a spot on the podium. Aaron Blunck didn’t waste time and scored an 80.20 in his run, eventually securing the top spot in the LCQ. Lyman Currier sat on the bubble as Jaxin Hoerter seeked to reclaim a spot in the finals after being bumped in the semifinal. After a longer than usual deliberation from the judges, Currier held steady in the two spot and secured a seat in the finals.


Aaron Blunck showed determination in his LCQ run, locking up a spot in the final. (Photo: Anna Stonehouse)


LCQ Results
1. Aaron Blunck, 80.20
2. Lyman Currier, 77.20
**Top 2 advance to the final 

3. Jaxin Hoerter, 75.40
4. Kwang-Jin Kim, 74.20
5. Colby Stevenson, 70.80
6. Jacob Beebe, 68.00
7. Ryan Malone, 41.40
8. Taylor Wilson, 23.20
9. Lennon Vaughan, 19.80
10. Jake Mageau, 17.60

Be sure to tune in to the men’s freeski superpipe final at 6:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, December 12th live on DewTour.com. Also tune in to DewTour.com 30 minutes early for the Dew Tour Live pre-show with Georgia Lindsay and Doug Bishop. 

Advancing to the final
1. David Wise
2. Alexander Ferreira
3. Kevin Rolland
4. Kyle Smaine
5. Beau-James Wells
6. Byron Wells
7. Taylor Seaton
8. Broby Leeds
9. Birk Irving
10. Kris Atkinson
11. Aaron Blunck
12. Lyman Currier