By Courtney Vermaas
The chase for the Superpipe Winter Dew Cup is over and Frenchman Kevin Rolland found himself on top again. After finishing third in Breckenridge, CO and winning in Killington, VT, Rolland came into the finals tied for the Cup with Simon Dumont. Rolland took his tied position as positive motivation, saying "it's a good challenge and we are going to have a great final!"
His golden momentum from Killington and X Games managed to carry over to the Toyota Championship at Snowbasin, UT with Rolland scoring a 95.00 on his first run. As the last competitor to go, and with his score setting the bar, his second lap was sweet victory but he still managed to bump that score up to a 96.50. Rolland landed himself at the top of the podium again, earning his first Dew Cup title.
Kevin Rolland showing what it takes to be the Dew Cup champ
Upon winning the event, and the Dew Cup Rolland said, "I feel so good because at the beginning of the day it was my goal to win this Dew Cup. It hasn't been easy because everyone's been learning new tricks and the level was so high. I'm just so stoked."
The winning run went a little something like this: Whiskey double flip, alley-oop flatspin 360, switch 900, switch 720, and sealing the deal with another massive double cork 1260.
French teammate Benoit Valentin followed Rolland with a 90.25: double cork strong tail grab, alley-oop flatspin 360, switch 720, right 900, and a solid left double cork to his feet. Valentin was part of the Last Chance Qualifiers, winning that heat to get him into prelims so out of pure excitement for this window of opportunity he was able to avoid the pressure. According to Valentin, this second-place run was "the best run I've ever made. I went huge and technical like the judges wanted. Kevin won with a lot of class, he's the man to beat!"
Byron Wells rounded out the podium thanks to an impressive first run and a score of 84.25. Kicking things off for the men he started with a switch 1080, alley-oop flatspin 540, left 900, right 900, and a solid 1080. At the finish Byron was giving props to his older brother Jossi who's still coming off an injury but managed fifth place with an 82.0, right behind David Wise's 83.0.
On the women's side, Brita Sigourney was able to end her three-week comp streak on a win. She stomped her first run for a score of 92.00 to put her in the lead. Her run included a 540, alley-oop 180, 900, 540, straight air, left 900 and a big 720. Going into her second run she was looking to expand her lead because top-qualifier Jen Hudak still had one more run on the table. Sigourney started off her second run in similar fashion to the first, but went for the 1080 on the last hit. Unfortunately she didn't have the speed and although she tried to make it around, it wasn't enough and she was carted off the hill by ski patrol. She's OK with just a tweaked leg and fortunately can take a couple weeks of rest at home before her schedule resumes in Europe.
Brita Sigourney blasting.
Devin Logan was sitting in third after her first run, so she decided she was going to go bigger, cleaner and hold those grabs for everyone to see the second time around. It worked, bumping her into second. Both runs were consistent with a Japan grab, 540 tail grab, flair, 540 Japan, alley-oop critical to 720 mute. "This was a long time coming for me. I've been qualifying high but not doing well in finals. I just think positive and have good vibes."
Local favorite Jen Hudak was consistent through qualifiers and finals, earning herself the third spot on the podium. Jen said, "I wanted to perform well today and I feel like I did. I'm grabbing all my tricks now which is what I've been working on – improving my style." Jen knew she needed to up her game for the second run so she went for the 1080. A hard blow to the head on this trick in warm-ups earlier in the day tainted her confidence, so she was unable to commit to her landing causing her to wash out. Either way, Jen is "glad I got back on the horse. I feel really good about my skiing and the state of the sport on the women's side."
The athletes all agreed this was a good pipe to finish off the Tour. Snowbasin stepped it up from last year going the distance with 22-foot walls. The steep angle of this pipe allowed the athletes to continually gain momentum and therefore amplitude throughout their runs. As the athletes continue to gain momentum, learn new tricks, and push the field of pipe skiing, we look forward to seeing them on the Tour next year.