words: Mary Walsh
photos: Mike Yoshida, Aaron Blatt, and Mary Walsh
Over the past few seasons, as triple corks have become ubiquitous with podium finishes in the slopestyle circuit mandating that any snowboarder with an interest in precious medal must have a few multi-axis spins in their rotation, riders have looked to the metal options in within a course to further put them in scoring position. But when overall flow and speed are necessary to complete a full pull down a three-or-so hit rail line and a three-to-four hit jump line, jib tricks need to be completed on the fly and while technicality has been increasing, rarely are slope competitors provided the option to really focus on showcasing their closer-to-the-ground mettle.
In the revamped 2016 Dew Tour, sixteen snowboarding's most talent heavy freestyle phenoms were provided the opportunity to split their slopestyle skills in two by way of a two-day competition that separated jumping from jibbing. On Friday, December 9th, the Canadian trio of Mark McMorris, Tyler Nicholson, and Sebastien Toutant has gone first, second, and third on the leaderboard in the best two-out-of-four jump competition. Mark had a substantial lead, fifteen points ahead of second place, but the day two rails-only contest provided anyone in the line up a chance at the winner's circle.
Snowpark Technologies curated a course that offered both creative jibs and classic DFDs and donkeys for Mark, Tyler, Seb, Eric Willett, Marcus Kleveland, Chass Guldemond, Michael Ciccarelli, Max Parrot, Brock Crouch, Darcy Sharpe, Eric Beauchemin, Torstein Horgmo, Brandon Davis, Red Gerard, Kyle Mack, and Mons Roisland to showcase their skills. At top, a four-option rail plaza started off the set up, followed by a right angle wall corner on rider's left and a banked flat down with creeper options. The third section proffered three options, a banked flat down on rider's left, a c-box in the middle, and the Toyota Forerunner feature, a pole jam to chainlink wall/cage with coping on rider's right. Finally, just above the corral and mass of spectators was a rail plaza with four multi-kink round rails.
From the start, the men were sending semi-outrageous combos on the jib line. Seb Toots crushed his second run with a nosepress back one switch nose on his first rail, followed by a cab 450 on the flat down and a hardway 270 on for his last hit. On the scoreboard, the best rail run (scored out of 100) was added to the existing jump score for the overall total and with run one, Seb secured his podium position. Mons Roisland had a killer first drop that included a wallie to switch front blunt 270 out on the flat down and a hardway 270 on the final down rail. The Norwegian up and comer was scored high by the judges, but it wasn't enough to buoy an uncharacteristically low jump score from the day before. Luckily he will be able to rebate on the jumps on Sunday in the team competition. Red Gerard put down a switch back 270 to regular on the flat down, easily one of the most technical tricks of the day. Max Parrot, whose ability to land mind-boggling tricks just seems to grow with every contest, came out firing on his final run with a cab hardway 270 on the first rail and landing a 450 on 450 off the second flat down--a trick he had learned the day before. Mark McMorris built on his success in the big air portion with a solid first run in which he stomped everything but was penalized a few points for a small hand drag. His first run landed him in the lead, but after, he was bumped down two spots before his last drop. As the 2015 Dew Tour slopestyle winner, the Canadian savant was the final rider of the day to drop and as Mark pointed it for his final go at the course, he sat in third place behind Seb and Max. Mark is a true competitor though, and for him, pressure only seems to catalyze perfection. Mark landed every trick flawlessly and captured back-to-back Dew Tour titles just as another storm began to move in and coat the ground with flakes.
On the ladies' side, ten riders started off the two-part slope finals with the jibbing side. Jamie Anderson, Spencer O'Brien, Enni Rukajarvi, Hailey Langland, Kjersti Buaas, Katie Omerod, Silje Norendal, Sina Candrian, and Klaudia Medlova lined up at the top to begin the weekend of competition. Jamie Anderson set the pace on her first run, 50-50ing the Toyota feature and taking the top spot. She would best her score during her Spencer O'Brien landed a clean run her first go as well and backlipping her way into second place. Enni Rukajarvi also came out swinging and rounded out the top three after run one. Hailey Langland, whose third place finish in the 2015 Dew Tour was the California native's first major podium, put down a hammer run with one of the most proper gap to backlips, but wasn't able to put down the landing gear on a 360 out of the final donkey rail. A wind squall would hamper Hailey's second run, though she mitigated the breezy weather and it would be her third run that she stomped the 360 out and secured the number two spot going into the second half of competition Sunday. Spencer O'Brien, who took second place in slope finals in the previous year's Dew Tour has an easy and proper style when it comes to the jibbing portion of contests and landed in third place for the day. The female royalty of slopestyle heads to the 70-foot jump tomorrow.
Men’s Slopestyle Finals
first – Mark McMorris – 172.66
second – Max Parrot – 161.66
third – Seb Toots – 160.66
fourth – Chas Guldemond – 148.32
fifth – Tyler Nicholson – 147.00
sixth – Mikey Ciccarelli – 143.00
seventh – Marcus Kleveland – 140.32
eighth – Brock Crouch – 135.99
ninth – Eric Beauchemin – 128.66
tenth – Darcy Sharpe – 124.66
Women’s Slopestyle – Jib
first – Jamie Anderson – 91.33
second – Hailey Langland – 86.00
third – Spencer O’Brien – 80.00
fourth – Julia Marino – 79.00
fifth – Enni Rukajarvi – 77.66
sixth – Katie Omerod – 70.00
seventh – Silje Norendal – 69.66
eighth – Klaudia Medlova – 69.00
ninth – Sina Candrian – 57.66
tenth – Kjersti Buaas – 20.33