Words: Heather Hendricks
Photos: Aaron Dodds
The fourth and final day of the Nike Open Winter Dew Tour culminated with men's and women's slopestyle finals in Breckenridge, Colorado. As the first major slopestyle competition of the season, the riders were throwing down solid runs throughout the day, and set the bar for upcoming slope events.
The ladies kicked things off bright and early Sunday morning under blazing blue skies and warm temps. Spencer O'Brien came out of the gates charging and laid down the best two runs of the day. On her second run, the Canadian ripper stomped a frontside boardslide, frontside lipslide, backside 540 melon, switch backside 540 mute, 50-50 backside 180, switch backside 180 mute, frontside 720 indy, and a massive frontside 720 on the fourth jump. This run earned her a 90.75, which was easily enough for first place.
Burton rider, Enni Rukajarvi, who had a break-out season last year, blasted into second place after landing a run that was highly technical and clean. Sarka Panochova rounded out the ladies podium with a score of 72.0.
Defending Dew Tour champ, Jamie Anderson, was pre-qualifed for the event, but was unable to successfully land either of her runs today. On her first run, Jamie washed out on the landing of jump one. Just as her second run was shaping up to contend with O'Brien's, Anderson knuckled the last jump during her 720 attempt.
Following the contest O'Brien, said "Jamie's an amazing rider and I love to compete against her because she is so good. She pushes me so much, and she definitely comes out on top more than I do. But I'll take the wins when I can get them. It's rare for her to fall."
Following the women's event, the men took to the course and destroyed all of the massive features. It was a double-cork showdown, as rotations were (seemingly) scored higher than smooth, stylish spins.
Norwegian Gjermund Braaten was the big winner of the day, and scored a massive 97.00 on his first run which included four whopping double-corks and a flawless switch alley-oop off the wall feature. Braaten was visble stoked with his performance and commented after the event, "I knew it was a good run, but I had no idea it would be a 97."
Sebastian Toutant also threw four doubles in his run; a cab dub 9, front dub 10, back dub 10 and double backside rodeo 9, which earned a 96.0 and slotted him in second place. Following the event, Toutant said, "I think both runs were really good. It's all about the judging, you know? I'm stoked for Gjermund, it's his first Dew Tour podium, and mine too. It's a judging sport, so you never know though."
Charles Reid was also riding extremely well and posted a score of 90.0 which was enough to earn the French Canadian third place.
Sunday's slope contest was one of the heaviest to date, and it's clear that a solid arsenal of doubles is required to be in podium contention.
The fourth annual Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Colorado is a wrap, and the action continues in Killington, Vermont next month.
Words: Heather Hendricks
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