Winter Park’s Irving top American skier on Dew Tour’s superpipe
Canada’s Noah Bowman wins ski modified pipe contest on final run
COPPER MOUNTAIN — It was a wild men’s ski modified superpipe competition at Dew Tour’s final day Sunday, complete with broken bindings and skis coming undone on landings.
In the end, Canadian 27-year-old Noah Bowman won with a 95-point score on his third and final run to leapfrog Gus Kenworthy of Telluride for first place. Bowman’s run stood out for its huge vertical amplitude and massive distance he traveled in the air down the pipe.
Bowman transitioned from the modified portion of the course to the traditional pipe with a forward diving flare 540. He then boosted backward to ski switch into the pipe, where he landed a pair of switch double-cork variations with an alley-oop double 900.
“I’ve really been trying to do my own thing within the realm of what we could push,” Bowman said about the inventive switch-heavy run he skied. “I couldn’t be more hype. This is a dream come true. Honestly, a dream come true. … I think I just like to try to do something a little different. When I see forward tricks, it makes me want to do switch stuff.
Kenworthy, an American Olympic medalist who now rides for Great Britain, had a redemptive day in the pipe after struggling Saturday on the slopestyle course. Despite his recent struggles in big events like Dew Tour, the 28-year-old grabbed command of the competition early with an 84.66 as the first skier to drop into the pipe. That put him in second place going into his second run.
On that second run, Kenworthy sent it even bigger, earning a 92.66 and landing in first place with a run through the pipe that included an alley-oop flat spin in the modified portion of the course before a right-side 1080 and a soaring switch 1260 at the bottom of pipe.
“I was really, really stoked,” Kenworthy said. “I just wanted to put one down first run and hopefully gain some momentum. … Honestly, I did everything I could. I’m happy with my performance.”
Birk Irving, 20, of Winter Park, was the top-scoring American on the day with an 87.33 on his final run through the pipe. On that run, Irving laced a line that featured an alley-oop flat-spin 540 on the first modified feature into an impressive double-cork 1260 on the side-hit transition waterfalling into the pipe portion of the course. In the pipe, Irving landed his trademark double flat-spin 720 switch before executing a 900.
Defending Dew Tour champion and X Games Aspen gold medalist Alex Ferreira of Aspen finished in fifth place with a score of 85.00 on the strength of a run that included a 540 with a tail grab up top on the first feature before he executed a rightside double flat-spin with a Japan grab on the side hit transitioning into the pipe portion. In the pipe, Ferreira sent a massive double-cork 1440 with a mute grab, holding his edge on the switch landing, before launching and landing a rightside 900 switch.
“It’s so different,” Ferreira said about the modified pipe contest compared with traditional halfpipe. “We’re audibiling the whole time.”
Fresh off a dominating performance at the Mammoth Mountain Grand Prix, Aaron Blunck of Crested Butte had maybe the most interesting run on a day full of wild lines through the pipe. On his final trip down, Blunck aired up to a switch ride at the top of the first modified feature, landing a switch 360 before launching a big switch double-cork 720, holding his edge to transition into the pipe.
In the pipe, Blunck landed a switch right-side 720 and a double flat-spin 900 to set up the speed for his double cork 1260 with a tail grab on his last hit. Blunck landed the trick seamlessly despite his right ski coming off, and he skied on one foot into the corral. Though Blunck wowed the crowd more than any other skier with that landing, he earned an 84.33 for sixth.
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