words: Mary Walsh
photos: Mike Yoshida, Aaron Blatt, and Mary Walsh
The ruling ladies of slopestyle kicked things off at the 2015 Winter Dew Tour at Breckenridge, Colorado on Friday, December 11th. As graybird clouds filled the sky and errant flakes fell to the ground, six women lined up the start gate above the Peak 8 base area. Spencer O'Brien, Cheryl Maas, Hailey Langland, Anna Gasser, Katie Ormerod, and Klaudia Medlova had made their way through Wednesday's semi finals in order to get one step closer to the first podium of the 2015-16 contest cycle.
The Dew Tour is the only contest of the winter that utilizes a four-jump set up for slopestyle. This year's course started off with a two-hit rail line before moving into a double set of jumps. A rail island broke up the middle of the course and which finished with two final kickers. "[Having four jumps] sets the riders apart so much, but it's kind of fun having a rail in there because it gives you a minute to breathe and reset before those next jumps," said Spencer O'Brien. "It gives you a chance to switch the jumps up when they're not all in a row." With this set up, breadth of tricks is imperative to getting onto the podium. All with considerable bags of tricks, the three women that qualified in the top spots during semis would continue to dominate the contest in finals, as they each threw down effusive style coupled with technical trick selection.
Hailey Langland, who, at only fifteen-years-old is one of the most explosive up and comers in women's snowboarding, capitalized on her first showing at the Dew Tour with tweaked out switch back one and front three indys, and proper 50-50 gap-to-frontlips in the rail section. Hailey's natural ability, coupled with a wise-beyond-her-years style awareness navigated her through her two runs. "My riding is all based on having fun," Hailey commented, huge smile across her face after taking third place. "I would love to land a nine some time in my life, but if I can do a nice grabbed spin, I would do that over any double, any day." The California native's final run would secure her position in the top three, not only a great start to the current season, but a well-deserved welcome into the fold of competitive snowboarding. "I just wanted to come here, maybe make it to finals, but overall, I really just wanted to have a good time and land a run," said a glowing Hailey. "I think that worked out really well, so I'm pumped."
Second place went to veteran competitor and one of the most stylish women in the field, Spencer O'Brien. While Spencer is already the owner of a collection of heavy metals from events all over the world, she continues to progress her riding every season, always presenting heavy tricks with ample style. This year's Breckenridge contest was Spencer's first day back after a rough season placed her on the injured list not once, but twice. Watching her ride on Saturday, it would appear as if she hadn't skipped a beat, nailing down a silver finish by spinning all four ways, including a switch back five and her signature front seven off the toes, as well as a tech frontlip pretzel out in the top rail section. "I'm super stoked. I had a pretty rough season [last year]. I got hurt in March and I got hurt again in August, so it was a bit tough to come back in time for this event and nerves were definitely really, really high, but I'm just super stoked to put down that run."
Topping the podium for the day was Austrian Anna Gasser, who has illuminated a hefty fanbase via her popular video edits that showcase a breed of proper style and heavy trick ability. At Breck, Anna also stomped spins all four ways—going back five, cab five, switch back one and front seven—as well as a big cab 270 to frontboard in the rail section during her first run that would keep her in the top spot for the duration of the competition. On her second run, she attempted to land a 900, but wasn't able to keep her feet underneath her. While Anna has broken the internet a few times with her double cork clips, this win marks Anna's first time on the podium at a major event, an accomplishment that will likely only provide further momentum for this up and coming rider.
Congratulations to Anna, Spencer and Hailey! Stay tuned tonight for more from the Dew Tour Breckenridge Street Style Rail Jam right here on Snowboarder.com.
First – Anna Gasser – 91.20
Second – Spencer O’Brien – 86.60
Third – Hailey Langland – 85.60
Fourth – Cheryl Maas – 82.40
Fifth – Katie Ormerod – 75.00
Sixth – Klaudia Medlova – 73.60