Cassie Sharpe wins ski pipe, Liu Jiayu snowboard pipe at Copper’s Dew Tour
COPPER MOUNTAIN — At Saturday’s Dew Tour at Copper Mountain Resort, Canadian star Cassie Sharpe won the women’s ski modified superpipe competition despite falling hard on her head during her second run through the pipe.
The competition was without heavy favorite in Estonian teen phenom Kelly Sildaru, who dropped out at the last minute to rest a bruised knee for Sunday afternoon’s women’s ski slopestyle competition. With Sildaru out, Sharpe took command of the competition early on her first run through the pipe, led by landing a 1080 in the traditional pipe portion of the course.
Sharpe’s first run put her in first with an 85.00. Then, on her second run, she tried to improve the 1080 with a cleaner tail grab, but Sharpe rotated a little short. The under rotation led to her right ski coming off when landing on the pipe wall, slamming Sharpe’s head and back into the icy course.
Due to the fall, Sharpe chose not to drop into her third and final run, though she hung on for the win.
“I’m just happy to be here skiing and doing my thing,” Sharpe said. “It was a little challenging trying to figure those (modified pipe features) out over the week here, but I like this course better than last year’s.”
Sharpe was joined on the podium by runner-up and fellow Canadian Rachael Karker. Karker bumped up to second on her third run, gapping a flare on first feature, going inverted over the channel, before boosting a huge 360 on the side-hit into the waterfall landing into the pipe. The Canadians were joined on the podium by American-born British rider Zoe Atkin, who landed on the podium on her final run as well.
Earlier Saturday in the women’s modified snowboard superpipe final, Liu Jiayu of China won with a fun line through the Dew Tour modified superpipe on her second of three runs through the course. Like the women’s ski competition, the snowboard contest was without American star Jamie Anderson, as the slopestyle legend dropped out last minute.
As for Jiayu, on her second run, the 27-year-old from Secret Garden, China, earned the championship score of 92.00 beginning with a frontside 360 over the modified course’s channel on the first feature. Then, on the second modified feature, a side-hit to a straight landing, Jiayu landed a 540 with a melon grab to set herself up for the 300-foot-long traditional pipe portion of the course. In the pipe, Jiayu followed up the 540 with a big frontside 720. Holding her heel edge on that landing, she landed a switch (riding backward) 720 to jump American Maddie Mastro for first place.
“I think I just got really excited this morning after the powder day,” Jiayu said, “and today we are doing Dew Tour competitions, and all of the features make me excited. So I scheduled step by step and then do the most style and fun I can do. And on the second feature I did a 5(40), I never did that in the training. I just feel like, ‘I could do it.’”
Mastro finished in second place with a 90-point score on her first run which, in a lot of ways, was a warm-up run for the second and third runs she couldn’t land on.
In the pipe, Mastro set up the rest of her run with a method air on her first hit before landing a backside 540 on the second hit. That second hit seemed to be the spot where Mastro was planning to try her twice-inverted double crippler, a trick she is the only women’s snowboarder to ever land in a pipe. But Mastro struggled with that channel hit on her following two runs and never got the chance, ending up runner-up again at Copper.
Spaniard Queralt Castellet finished in third place with a score of 77.33 on her third and final run, which included a pair of 900s in the pipe after entering with a straight air after alley oop.
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The Owl Creek Chase continues — with a catch. Skiers in this year’s race won’t ever set foot on the Owl Creek Trail.