Shaun White takes top spot in Dew Tour snowboard superpipe semifinal

With Shaun White’s entry adding to what was already a heavy field, men’s snowboard superpipe has to be one of this weekend’s most eagerly-anticipated events at Dew Tour Breckenridge. On Thursday, 30 riders dropped in for the semifinal, with ten of them advancing straight into Saturday’s final and ten more moving into the last chance qualifier for a shot at one of the last two spots in the final.

PHOTO GALLERY: Men’s Snowboard Superpipe Semifinal

Throughout the competition, riders were routinely rewarded for going big, and of course, when you think of big airs, Shaun White’s signature first-hit backside air has to immediately come to mind. Sure enough, he busted it out, then followed it up with back-to-back double cork 1080s, keeping his amplitude up throughout the duration of his run. Shaun’s first run scored a 95.40, eclipsing 2014 champion Taylor Gold’s 93.40 to move into the lead and ultimately earning Shaun the honor of being the top qualifier headed into the final.

Shaun White doing what he always does: blasting out of the pipe. (Photo: George Crosland)

The remainder of the top five featured several riders who were just a blast to watch: Ben Ferguson (3rd place) included a double crippler and a huge frontside double cork 1080 in his run, Ayumu Hirano (4th place) – riding to “Straight Outta Compton” despite hailing from Murakami, Japan – added a Japan grab to a massive first-hit crippler to create one stylish trick at the top of the pipe, and France’s Arthur Longo (5th place) also had the big airs that we’ve all come to expect of him.

The rest of the top ten was rounded out by Chase Josey, Iouri Podladtchikov, Brett Esser, Gabe Ferguson and Matt Ladley. Taku Hiraoka (18th) and Danny Davis (20th) just barely made the cut into the LCQ and would get another opportunity to crack the final, but a pair of former Dew Tour winners, Greg Bretz and Louie Vito, found themselves eliminated.

It’s hard not to get hyped on Ayumu Hirano’s first-hit crippler Japan. (Photo: George Crosland)

Breckenridge’s Brett Esser cracked the top ten to earn a spot in the final. (Photo: George Crosland)

Semifinal Results

1. Shaun White, 95.40

2. Taylor Gold, 93.40

3. Ben Ferguson, 90.00

4. Ayumu Hirano, 89.00

5. Arthur Longo, 85.20

6. Chase Josey, 83.80

7. Iouri Podladtchikov, 82.20

8. Brett Esser, 80.00

9. Gabe Ferguson, 76.80

10. Matt Ladley, 76.00
**Top 10 advance to the final

11. Rabid Katayama, 65.40

12. Markus Malin, 65.00

13. Scotty James, 58.40

14. Christian Haller, 51.80

15. Yiwei Zhang, 48.20

16. Jan Scherrer, 47.00

17. Kohei Kudo, 44.20

18. Taku Hiraoka, 42.20

19. Tim-Kevin Ravnjak, 41.60

20. Danny Davis
, 31.00
**10-20 advance to the LCQ

21. Jake Pates, 25.40

22. Ayumu Nedefuji, 24.80

23. Nathan Johnstone, 21.00

24. Greg Bretz, 17.20

25. David Habluetzel, 16.20

26. Beni Farrow, 14.40

27. Ryo Aono, 14.20

28. Spencer Shaw, 12.20

29. Kent Callister, 11.40

30. Louie Vito, 6.40

Switzerland’s Christian Haller snuck into the final after placing 2nd in the LCQ. (Photo: Anna Stonehouse)

Some of the heaviest hitters relegated to the last chance qualifier were Danny Davis, Taku Hiraoka and Yiwei Zhang. Davis was the first to drop in the LCQ but had to roll down the windows to avoid losing control on the landing of his first-hit switch method and later wasn’t able to recover after landing low on his third wall. Taku had issues of his own, going down on his fifth wall. Then Yiwei – who finished 2nd at last year’s Dew Tour – went down on a frontside double cork 1080 on his second hit.

Those miscues opened the door for a pair of Swiss riders – Jan Scherrer and Christian Haller – to take advantage and grab the final two transfer spots thanks to solid LCQ runs.

LCQ Results

1. Jan Scherrer, 76.80

2. Christian Haller, 72.00

**Top 2 advance to the final

3. Markus Malin, 62.60

4. Kohei Kudo, 44.80

5. Taku Hiraoka, 43.60

6. Tim-Kevin Ravnjak, 33.80

7. Danny Davis, 25.80

8. Scotty James, 18.20

9. Raibu Katayama, 18.20

10. Yiwei Zhang, 10.20

The men’s superpipe final will go down this Saturday, December 12 at 2:30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBC or Make sure to tune in to the live stream starting at 12:00 p.m. ET to also catch the women’s superpipe final.

Advancing to the Final

1. Shaun White

2. Taylor Gold

3. Ben Ferguson

4. Ayumu Hirano

5. Arthur Longo

6. Chase Josey

7. Iouri Podladtchikov

8. Brett Esser

9. Gabe Ferguson

10. Matt Ladley

11. Jan Scherrer

12. Christian Haller