Shaun White Dew-in’ it right at Breckenridge
Summit Daily News
Aspen, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – The Breckenridge crowd may have been treated to Shaun White’s only Dew Tour appearance this season, as the Olympic gold medalist rode to a decisive win with a score of 95 in his first run Saturday.
According to White’s coach Bud Keene, it’s up in the air whether the halfpipe superstar will compete at the Dew Tour’s next two events.
Asked what brought him back to the tour after a two-year hiatus, White said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to compete at Breck.
“I’m just really excited to come to this one because it’s Breckenridge and that’s a new sponsor with me – Vail Resorts,” White said after the win. “I think last season I was taking my time getting ready for the season, and it put me in a weird spot. I like that I was able to enter this event and immediately – I’ve only been riding four days – I’m already doing my hardest tricks. It’s way ahead of the curve from where I was last season.”
White set the tone in his first run by boosting out of the pipe with a bigger-than-everyone-else’s backside straight air (in the neighborhood of 26 feet) on his first hit. He followed it up with a front double cork 900, a back 540 and a front stale 540, his favorite trick of the run. White finished up the winning performance with a double McTwist 1260 into an alley-oop back rodeo.
“I really had to make it count. I did a double McTwist 1260 – it’s such a pain, that trick. Sometimes it’s your best friend and other times it’s not, and on that last run it really gave me a hard time.”
White wound up decking out super hard in his second lap through the pipe, getting knocked over by the world-famous McTwist. “I have the worst dead leg in the world right now,” he said.
But his solid first-run score proved to be comfortable enough to stave off Louie Vito and Iouri Podlachikov, who finished in second and third, respectively.
After dominating the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain last week, Kelly Clark rang up her second win in as many Summit County halfpipe competitions, busting out an entirely new, never-before-seen-in-competition frontside inverted 720 on Saturday.
The Olympic gold medalist botched her first run through the pipe and found herself heading into the second with nothing but a throw-away score under her belt.
Clark’s score of 91.25 was only a single point better than Aspen’s Gretchen Bleiler, who finished just above China’s Xuetong Cai on the podium.
“Gretchen went just two people before me,” Clark said. “I didn’t get to watch her full run, but I think we’re both putting down technical runs and pushing ourselves. At the level we’re both riding at, it’s going to be a really great season, and we’re just going to build on it from here on out.”
Clark’s winning lap started off with a frontside inverted 720 into a cab 720, followed by a front 540 and a back 540. She wrapped up the win with a front 900 and a back straight air. It was a completely new run for Clark and a fresh combination of tricks that fans will likely see again this season.
“Heading into the rest of my season, getting some time running close to what I’m going to run at the X Games is a good way to go for me,” Clark said.
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Had Hailey Swirbul decided against going to Europe, she would not have finished with a career-best result in Friday’s World Cup opener. Yes, there was a time, and not long ago, when the U.S. ski team member and Roaring Fork Valley native questioned her desire to put on a race bib.