By Shay Williams Freeskier Magazine – Winter Dew Tour Day 2 here in Breckenridge, CO has come to an end with a thrilling — to say the least — Halfpipe Prelims in the books. Under the lights tonight, 22 of the best pipe riders in the world took to the skies in hopes of capturing one of the elusive top 10 spots for tomorrow night’s big show. Two runs for a shot at glory.
Big names and bigger air dominated tonight’s festivities, but in the end, there was only Mike Riddle. The Alberta native put together a flawless run with a double flatspin to back to back 900s to an alley oop flatspin 360 to an unimaginable switch 900 to pipe domination. Frenchmen Xavier Bertoni and Kevin Rolland followed Riddle in 2nd and 3rd, respectively, with double flatspins, back to back 900s and alley oop flatspin 360s of their own.
David Wise, yesterday’s top qualifier, put down quite the showing, boosting as big as some of the leaders of the sport, to snag 4th. Jossi Wells’ smooth style (afterbanging in the pipe?) and Matt Margetts’ technical wizardy allowed them the 5th and 6th spots. Youngester and Frenchy Thomas Krief was hot on their heels, with Team Captain Dan Mation and Banks Gilberti not far behind. Matt Duhamel, yesterday’s 2nd place finisher, managed to grab the bubble spot and stay on it through the entirety of the 2nd run.
There were the near misses as well. Peter Olenick’s new alley oop double flatspin was boosted into the stratosphere, but the rest of his run was a bit sketchy. Tucker Perkins took a hard crash while in the midst of a top 10 run knocking him out of contention. Lyndon Sheehan went about 900 feet on his first hit, earning big wows from the crowd, but decked out later on, ending his campaign for the finals.
The night saw a few scratches, with Walter Woods and AJ Kemppainen injuring themselves in practice. Gus Kenworthy, who squeeked in form yesterday’s qualifier, broke his collarbone today, but he still managed a straight air run, with one jacket sleeve dangling. Byron Wells took a mellow run, as he’s still resting up his heel in anticipation for the next Dew Tour stop.
These top 10 pipe warriors will join Super Qualified Simon Dumont and Justin Dorey tomorrow, under the lights, in an all out battle royale for Winter Dew Tour celebrity. If you thought tonight was crazy, just wait until tomorrow night to see how all the stunt ditch antics shake out.
But first, tomorrow morning, we’ll have 20-odd competitors battling it out in Slopestyle Prelims, hoping to score one of those top 10 magic spots. Stay tuned to Freeskier.com so you won’t miss a beat.
1) Mike Riddle
2) Xavier Bertoni
3) Kevin Rolland
4) David Wise
5) Jossi Wells
6) Matt Margetts
7) Thomas Krief
8) Dan Marion
9) Banks Gilberti
10) Matt Duhamel
11) Peter Olenick
12) Christian Allen
NBC Saturday, Dec. 19 3-4:30pm EST SNB Pipe Women’s/Men’s Finals
NBC Sunday, Dec. 20 4-6pm EST SNB Slope Women’s/Men’s Finals
USA Network Saturday, Dec. 19 Midnight-1am EST SKI Pipe Finals
USA Network Sunday, Dec. 20 2-3am EST SKI Slope Finals
USA Network Monday, Dec. 21 7-8am EST
MTV2 Saturday, Jan. 2 10-11pm EST