Kelly Clark came back and took down Gretchen Bleiler to bring home the Toyota Championships win and her third Dew Cup at the women’s snowboard pipe Finals. Her score of 95.00 to Bleiler’s 94.25 gave her the advantage during Saturday’s event at Utah’s Snowbasin Resort.
The lead changed hands between the two riders, with Bleiler in the lead going into second and final runs. Her first run started off with a massive crippler, backside 5, frontside 9, backside air, frontside 9, backside air, frontside 7 to end with a cab 7 and score 91.00. Clark responded with an inverted 7, and back-to-back 5s in her run, but it left her sitting in second with an 89.25.
China's Xuetong Cai was another big contender with massive amplitude and 5s and 7s mixed into her run, and she finished in third with and 89.75.
But the battle of the Finals really became all about Bleiler and Clark, who were both guaranteed a Dew Cup with the win.
Bleiler dropped in for her second run before Clark, and started things off with a massive Crippler, 900 tail grab, backside air tail grab, and a frontside 7 mixed into her run. She managed to increase her lead with the 94.25, but with Clark still up top and waiting to drop, there was no guarantee that score would hold up, and such was the case.
"I really had to stay focused on what I came out to do today," Clark said. "My strategy really gets tested when I'm put in that position where the scenarios change dropping into my final run. I have to stick to the plan regardless of what's going on around me, and that's what I was able to do and land it on my feet and come through with the win."
For Bleiler, it was a bit of a repeat from the first event of the season where she also finished second to Clark.
"I'm bummed," Bleiler said. "Again, Breck was super close. This was super close. It just keeps me motivated to keep working harder. Last Dew Tour in Breck, that already motivated me for this event and getting my tailgrabs around more on my front 9s. I didn't do my back 9 today, so I still have more to give. And I know I can do front 10s since my front 9s are coming around so easy now. I'm not too worried, but I'm a little bummed that it was so close.”