By Shay Williams Freeskier Magazine – The Winter Dew Tour at Breckenridge has completed its first round of competition today. The stunt ditch was the spot where halfpipe mayhem went down today, as pipe qualifiers were in effect. Roughly 40 competitors braved the snow, occasional wind gusts, and sunny patches in hopes of making the preliminary round tomorrow, joining the likes of Riddle, Olenick, Wells and more. Simon Dumont and Justin Dorey are pre-qualified for the finals rounds, as they finished in the top 3 overall Winter Dew Tour standings from last season.
Practice opened up for qualifiers and pre-qualified alike. The hopefuls rubbed shoulders (and pipe hits) with the pioneers and leaders of the sport. Double flips, leftside, rightside; absolute halfpipe bedlam continued for almost three hours until the pre-qualified were ushered into the crowd to watch the up and comers.
As the highest levels of pipe skiing has risen in the past year, so has the level of amateur pipe skiing. Bigger amplitudes, more technical tricks and more fluidity reigned supreme in the halfpipe today. The magic number today was 9, as those top 9 spots are being taken into tomorrow's competition.
David Wise, who has begun to make a name for himself, dismantled the pipe, big 900s, smooth flips and solid style propelled him into 1st. Matt Duhamel, another up and comer in the pipe scene used a similar strategy to Wise --big amplitude and solid tricks -- to nab 2nd. Walter Wood, the human centrifuge, spun his way, including a 1260, to the 3rd place.
Gus Kenworthy 900 Tail Grab
Dan Marion 900 Tail Grab
Matt Duhamel Alley Oop Flatspin 360
JP Solberg, who was absent from the comp scene last year, hasn't missed a beat with smooth style and BIG 900s, taking the 4th spot. Noah Bowman, Christian Allen and Thomas Krief, have their technical happenings dialed while the big air eludes them, but were still pimp enough to grab the 5th, 6th and 7th place spots. Dan Marion, a veteran, had no problems throwing down some stock tricks to grab 8th and Banks Gilberti -- who flowing blonde locks make him the man to watch -- took the bubble, with points to spare.
JP Solberg 900 Tail Grab
Walter Wood Alley Oop Flatspin 360
Rumor has it that 10th place Gus Kenworthy will be in the prelims, as Taylor Seaton -- a prequalified athlete -- is injured and has taken himself out of tomorrow's contention.
Slopestyle notables Teen Heartthrob Bobby Brown and LJ Strenio tried their hands at pipe today, throwing technical tricks, but the amplitude escaped them, pushing them out of contention. Veteran Scott Hibbert took his signature style and flare-genies to new heights, but unfortunately missed out on the top nine. The showing was impressive today from all competitors, definitely raising the bar on pipe skiing.
Byron Wells, BobbyBrown, Russ Henshaw
Davina Williams, Meg Olenick, Peter Olenick, MIke Riddle
Top 10 Men's Results:
1) David Wise
2) Matt Duhamel
3) Walter Wood
4) JP Solberg
5) Noah Bowman
6) Christian Allen
7) Thomas Krief
8) Dan Marion
9) Banks Gilberti
10) Gus Kenworthy
Stay tuned for more Winter Dew Tour coverage. On tap tomorrow: Slopestyle Qualifiers and Halfpipe Prelims.
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