Aspen’s Ferreira fifth in Dew Tour halfpipe as Canada’s Bowman takes the crown
COPPER MOUNTAIN — It was a wild men’s ski modified superpipe competition on Dew Tour’s final day Sunday morning, one complete with skis coming undone on landings and broken bindings.
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 portion 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 in the pipe with an alley-oop double 900 as well.
“I’ve really been trying to do my own thing within the realm of what we could push,” Bowman said of the inventive switch-heavy run he skied through the pipe. “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 Sunday after struggling Saturday on the slopestyle course. Despite his recent struggles in big competitions 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, which had him in second place going into his second run. On that second run, Kenworthy sent it even bigger, earning a 92.66 and first-place position with a run through the pipe that included an allley oop flat spin in the modified portion of the course before a rightside 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.”
Young Nico Porteous of New Zealand finished in third with a score of 88 on his first run that was powered by a huge, powerful 1440 on the quarter-pipe transition hit that flows from the modified portion of the course into the traditional pipe.
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, or backward, 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 of the modified pipe contest compared to traditional halfpipe. “We’re audibiling the whole time.”
Fresh off of 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. Blunck on his final trip down aired up to a switch ride at the top of the first modified feature, landing a switch 360 down before launching a big switch double-cork 720, holding his edge to transition into the pipe.
In the pipe, Blunck landed a switch rightside 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 but, a run after he lost a ski higher up in the pipe, he landed the trick seamlessly despite his right ski coming off, skiing on one foot into the corral. Though Blunck wowed the crowd more than any other skier with that landing, he only earned an 84.33 for sixth.
David Stapleton is the development officer for the Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club. A product of the club, AVSC sat down with Stapleton for a Q&A session in this week’s Clubhouse Chronicles.