By Justin Broglio
In a loose scenario not unfamiliar to the Freeski community, Tanner Hall and Simon Dumont battled it out for not only the Toyota Championship Superpipe Final, but for the coveted Dew Cup itself, here at Northstar-at-Tahoe. The Final was crammed with skiers both illustrious and relatively up-and-coming; unfortunately, the unknowns for whom everyone was rooting weren’t able to execute the monstrous tricks required to knock out Hall and Dumont from their two-man show.
In the end Tanner, who scored a 93.75, was victorious. Behind Hall, Simon Dumont finished with a close 92.50; Colby James West placed third with a 87.00.
So how did Tanner do it this time? He went to business by nailing a huge 1260 right off, which he followed with an equally massive right 900 to an ally-oop flat 360 japan air. Further down the pipe, it was his "disgusting"–as one spectator called it (you know, like “bad”, as in “good”)–switch 900 with a grab. A run like this is pretty much the Freeski Superpipe equivalent of grabbing the judges’ lapels and shouting, “Hey! Anybody Home?”
Throughout the night, Dumont–who failed to podium in the Men's Slopestyle Final earlier in the day–pitted pure determination against what had to be sheer exhaustion. Atop the pipe, when asked how the flat light conditions were affecting him, Dumont mumbled an answer as he shouldered his skis while unloading from the snowmobile shuttle.
After crashing numerous times during practice runs and continually battling some sort of head-cold/flu mix, Dumont managed to throw down a solid run the first time around, but a sketchy landing out of a massive right 900 forced him to turn a 1260 mid pipe into a 900. His score remained stuck at 88.25. In his second run, Dumont followed up with the same line; this time he dialed that 1260, bumping his score to a then-high-score of 92.50. It was around this moment Dumont actually smiled for the first time of the day. Lingering at the bottom of start-order, however, Tanner Hall saw to it that Dumont’s score wouldn’t stay at the top for long.
After the awards ceremony, Dumont, dog-tired and clearly disappointed, said he was glad to be done with the whole thing. "I don't even want to talk about it anymore,” he said, adding it was just another day. “I laid down what I could and now I want to go home and get some sleep.”
As for the rest of the field of world-class pipe-riders…
Justin Dorey, who entered the Final as a pre-qualifier and clearly the crowd favorite, tried for one of the biggest tricks of the night: a double flip on the first hit and another on the fourth hit. On the first double he lofted well over 18 feet above the lip of the Superpipe before smashing down to the deck–leaving over 2,000 fans (myself certainly included) horrified he'd broken bones. Undaunted, Dorey righted himself, waved his hand in the air, and took a snowmobile ride to the top before giving it another go. In his second run he dialed the first double but sketched out on the second.
"I had to go for it, it's the last stop," Dorey said, who landed the trick in practice. However, the young skier’s efforts did not go unnoticed.
"Let's give it up for Justin Dorey," Tanner Hall yelled from the top of the podium during the award ceremony. "Now there's the future of pipe skiing."
Mike Riddle also threw down his beautiful cork 900–the same one which earned him the top spot at Thursday's Prelim–but it wasn't enough at tonight’s Final.
Xavier Bertoni, who qualified just behind Riddle in the Prelim, boosted way out of the pipe, spinning both ways with a left 900 into right 900 before finishing with an ally-opp flat 360. Xavier landed in fifth place with an 84.25.