By Courtney Vermaas
Another gorgeous day at Snowbasin, UT provided a fast, smooth course for the Dew Tour Slopestyle Championships. Although Bobby Brown came into today in the lead for the Dew Cup, qualifiers made it clear that this podium was anyone's to grab.
Snowbasin's course is a little different from others we've seen this season. The three technical rail features up top were of focus with only two jumps on this course. The jumps, although bigger than what Snowbasin built last year, are smaller than what these skiers are used to, especially someone like Bobby who excels in this department. Earlier this morning Judge Taylor Felton acknowledged that "it will really come down to creativity and what happens on the rails."
Alex Schlopy was a trick machine on the course
Utah local Alex Scholpy made his runs count today by topping the podium with a 94.50. He started things off by taking the right side line onto the first box with a front 360 switch up transfer, blind 360 switch onto the second box with a blind 270 out, a blind 630 out of the cannon rail with a mute grab, a huge left 900 double Japan on the first jump, capping it off with a fluid switch 1440 to really impress the judges and secure the top spot.
Schlopy was thrilled to win on his close-to-home turf, thanking Utah and the local fans for making this "more fun for everyone." And of course, "there's nobody I'd rather have on the podium next to me than Joss."
So there we have it – Last Chance Qualifier Joss Christensen took the field by surprise when he qualified first, but blew the crowds away today when he landed himself the second spot on the final podium. The run that did it: front switch up to pretzel 270 on the flat down, switch back 270 over the up down, lip slide to uphill 450 off cannon, switch right 1080, switch double 1080. Christensen, another Park City local, reiterated Scholpy when he said "there's nobody I'd rather be behind on the podium than my best friend Alex. I'm so surprised and so stoked."
Joss Christensen showing how it’s done
Russ Henshaw was able to nail down third place and keep Brown off the podium thanks to his switch on 360 switch up on the flat down, 630 out of the up-down, 450 out of the flat cannon, and killing it with back to back doubles: 1080 followed by natural 1260. Brown's solid second run wasn't enough for medal contention, but it did the trick for him to walk away happy with the coveted Dew Cup.
Kaya Turski took the lead for the women with an 89.50. Her run consisted of a front switch up, switch 270 blind swap on the up-box, front 270, switch 720, and a switch 540. Turski's solid run combined with her signature smooth style was enough to hold the lead. She's worked hard to get back to where she is after injuring her knee last spring, saying "I'm stoked to keep my momentum moving from X Games and pull this off today."
Kaya Turski slaying the rail section
Following her winning run Turski joined best friend Kim Lamarre as she was taken off the hill in a sled by medical staff. Lamarre headed into the last jump a little off and while the massive switch zero spin was impressive, she landed a little to the side and slid into the netting and banners at the finish area. Turski and the other women in this tight-knit field proved their close camaraderie and support of each other today.
Devin Logan snatched up another Dew Tour second this weekend, saying "I couldn't have had a better run, I'm speechless. Two seconds at the Dew Tour, I'm in shock. I knew by switching some things up and adding a bit more to my rails I could be top three." All went as planned for Logan with this run: switch on to front 270 out of flat down transfer gap, switch onto the up flat, blind 270, 720 with a very controlled tail grab, capping it off with a rodeo 540.
Rounding off the podium in third, Anna Segal had a solid run with a back swap over the transfer box to 270 gap over the up down rail to front 270 out of the flat rail, switch left 5 mute to right rodeo. Anna said, "I started landing my rodeos a lot better at practice yesterday. I've been working on them for a long time and I'm finally feeling comfortable. I've never done it over a jump so big so that trick probably helped me out a bit.
Pre-qualified Ashley Battersby may have had the best rail section out of the group but couldn't put together a solid, clean enough run to reach the top. Battersby and the other girls will continue to push the women's side of the sport and we look forward to seeing all of the competitors on next year's Tour.