Saturday at Dew Tour Breckenridge brought with it an onslought of snow – great for the denizens of Breck, but not typically the best conditions for shredding a superpipe in one of the biggest contests of the year. Credit to the ladies of the snowboard superpipe final though – they powered through the powder to lay down some solid runs.
Chloe Kim, who has steadily emerged as one of the frontrunners in this discipline in the last few years, grabbed the lead on her first run of the contest. She landed a backside air, backside 540, mctwist, frontside 720 and a cab 720 in her run to score an 89.60. She would hold the lead going into the second set of runs, with Liu Jiayu in 2nd and Xuetong Cai in 3rd.
Chloe Kim matched her 2nd-place finish from last year’s Dew Tour. (Photo: Bryce Kanights)
The second set of runs was kicked off by Jiayu, and she decided to switch things up in her run, going for a frontside 900 on her very first hit. Jiayu followed up the front 9 with a backside 540, frontside 720, cab 720, air-to-fakie and a switch frontside air, earning a 91.00 and overtaking Chloe for the lead.
Jiayu entered the week with goal of just having fun, and that led to her decision to add the 900 into her run. “I was happy with my first run,” Jiayu said, “so for my second run, [I thought] it’s snowboarding – just go for it, have fun!“
Liu Jiayu put down two good runs in the final. (Photo: Bryce Kanights)
Kelly Clark was next to drop, landing a frontside air, backside 540, frontside 720, cab 720, frontside air, backside air and inverted 720. She had some nice tricks in there but was likely hurt by the number of setup airs, as Clark – the all-time winningest rider in this event at Dew Tour – only slotted into 3rd behind Jiayu and Chloe with an 84.40.
Needing to step up her run a bit to retake the lead, Chloe then decided to add a frontside 900 tailgrab to her second run but went down on the attempt and would have have to stick with her earlier score.
The top qualifier from the semifinal, Arielle Gold had an opportunity to shake up the podium on the final run of the contest. She landed the Michalchuk – the new trick she unveiled during the semifinal – at the top of her run, then followed it up with a crippler, backside air, frontside 720, cab 720, stalefish and backside 540. The run put Gold into 4th with an 82.20 but wasn’t enough to knock Clark off the podium or Jiayu off the leaderboard. And with that, an unexpected victory was cemented for Jiayu.
Kelly Clark had to sweat it out, but she ultimatly held on for a podium spot. (Photo: Bryce Kanights)
Three days after needing to go through a last chance qualifier to even earn a transfer spot, Jiayu suddenly found herself standing on top of a Dew Tour podium. It was a win that seemed improbable even to Jiayu herself, who conceded that she had not anticipated that she might win due to the collection of talent of the other girls in the contest.
“It was awesome. This was my first time in Dew Tour finals, and then I won!” the 23-year-old from China said. “[The snow] was tough, but I know they were doing their best. I was pretty psyched for what they were doing [to the pipe].”
Left to right: Chloe Kim, Liu Jiayu, Kelly Clark. (Photo: Chris Ortiz)
1. Liu Jiayu, 91.00
2. Chloe Kim, 89.60
3. Kelly Clark, 84.40
4. Arielle Gold, 82.20
5. Xuetong Cai, 75.40
6. Maddie Mastro, 46.00
LIU JIAYU, WINNING RUN
CHLOE KIM, 2ND-PLACE RUN
KELLY CLARK, 3RD-PLACE RUN