Kelly Clark has been one of the most dominating forces in women's snowboard superpipe competitions for quite some time now, but at the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour, she finished an unlikely last-place in the Finals.
Those results at the December season-opener in Breckenridge didn't really set her up for success. But the competitor inside Clark was able to pull it all together in the next two months for the overall win, earning her the second Dew Cup of her career.
Kelly in Breckenridge
"I had no aspirations of winning the Dew Cup after my Breckenridge event," Clark said. "I just didn't think it was even possible. And even after Killington with the win, I still thought it would be a stretch. The girls have been riding so well and so consistent, and I was just pleasantly surprised to win."
But Clark has something in her bag of tricks that no other girl can lay claim to, and it's the 1080 she landed for the first time in competition at X Games, just weeks before the Toyota Championships in Snowbasin.
She pulled it out again at the Winter Dew Tour, and her winning run had a frontside 7, cab 7, frontside 10, cab 3, frontside 5 and backside 5.
Going for her first Dew Tour win of the season at Killington
"That's what I'm working towards, is having it be a big part of my run in finals and getting to come out here and do it in another final is a great stepping stone," Clark said. "Hopefully I'll get both my 9 and my 10 going in the same run soon."
Clark won her first Dew Cup in '09 during the inaugural Winter Dew Tour season, but this was the year that she really had to work for it.
Taking the win and the Cup in Snowbasin
"I love contests," Clark said. "They cause greatness to come out of people. They cause you to rise to the occasion."
It's not all about winning though.
"This year my approach has been to be really intentional. I want to do things not because there's a contest, but because it's a personal goal that I can set. And I really am here to push the sport of snowboarding to another level, and I'm nowhere near being done progressing."
In the men's division, Louie Vito was gunning for the Dew Cup all season, and wins at the first two events of the season made it a pretty easy goal for him to achieve.
Vito’s cab 1080 double cork in action at the Nike 6.0 Open in Breckenridge
"You always think about the Dew Cup before you even start the season, but after the first win it definitely throws a lot of momentum in your direction," Vito said.
But when some of the other guys starting throwing down killer runs in the Finals at Snowbasin, the Dew Cup was looking kind of sketchy for Vito. He was able to put a run together, but it wasn't the one he was hoping for and he finished in seventh place.
Going for his second straight win in Killington
Luckily his back-to-back wins at the start of the season gave him the points advantage he needed to go home with his first Dew Cup.
"I wanted to get the Dew Cup for sure, but I would have liked to have made it a perfect season or ended up with podiums at every contest this year," Vito said. "But it's getting better and my riding is coming along. It's getting better as the season goes on and at the end of the day that's all that matters to me."
Snowbasin delivered the Dew Cup for Vito
Vito has double cork 10s dialed, and he can throw back-to-back doubles in blinding snow, but the true athlete within him will always be striving for the next thing.
"You always want more and more, and I guess that's what keeps me progressing," Vito said. "It's a love hate. I'm stoked I got the Dew Cup, but bummed I didn't get on the podium."