A huge crowd gathered in the heart of Breckenridge tonight to watch the ski streetstyle competition. Twelve riders competed in an open jam format for 45 minutes, lapping a creatively built course packed with eleven features.
Keegan Kilbride took first with consistent skiing and a unique take on the course, including an innovative nollie 450 over the concrete barriers to the down in the third stage of the course. LJ Strenio--who managed to get inverted more than any other athlete tonight--took second. Quinn Wolferman’s distinctive style and intensely focused approach to the course earned him third.
The looser competition setting--with fewer rules, more opportunity for risk-taking, and a much more engaged crowd--was a welcome change for the athletes.
“When the events are on the mountain it’s hard to be interacting with the crowd, but here you get direct feedback as you’re skiing. You’re walking back up and there are kids throwing their hands out, you’re high fiving kids on your way. You feed off the crowd and the crowd loves being right there with you. It’s just an all around good feeling,” said Strenio.
Timmy McChesney also came away with an award: best trick, which he took home in this event last year as well. The winning hit was a massive 360 gap over the first feature--a snow-filled dumpster--to the angled table below it, with a 180 out.
The challenging course offered endless opportunity to innovate, and the steep drop-in gave athletes the speed they needed for big hits like McChesney’s, It was a significantly different course than last year, with a more natural flow to it.
“It was fun last year for sure but this year it was just better, faster. The drop-in was really sick, the park crew did a really good job. I loved the jersey barriers--those concrete jersey barriers? Those are my favorite things in the world. I love all the creative features the park crew put in,” said Kilbride, a down-to-earth Maine native who is blowing up right now. In addition to winning tonight’s event, he took home the award for Breakthrough Performance at Thursday’s Powder Awards, and last year won Level 1’s Superunknown competition.
“I had no idea I was going to win, I was kinda just messing around the whole time and I guess they liked it. I’m really happy. I didn’t think this was going to happen,” Kilbride explained, after stopping to gift his contest bib to and take a photo with a very excited kid.
Tanner Hall made a surprise appearance, competing for the first time in years in tonight’s event. Though he didn’t podium, he threw down and clearly had a great time doing it, engaging with the crowd and taking everything--from cleanly stomped runs to massive wipeouts--in stride.
The athlete field was incredibly stacked tonight, with Sean Jordan, Khai Krepela, Alex Bellemare, Alex Hall, Will Berman, Lupe Hagearty, and Breckenridge local Pat Goodnough rounding out the field.
“This [event] is super unique, especially since such a big contest puts it on,” said Wolferman. “To have so many good skiers around is really cool. Nothing really compares. When Dew Tour holds something like this it’s definitely a different feel and quite a bit more exciting.”