Torin Yater-Wallace soars to top in rivalry
The Aspen Times
The halfpipe rivalry is alive and well, thank you.
Aspen freeskier Torin Yater-Wallace edged Olympic champion David Wise in a Dew Tour showdown at Breckenridge last weekend — heralding the return of the friendly rivalry between two of America’s top halfpipe skiers.
“It feels amazing,” Yater-Wallace said after this historic duel when he and Wise traded the best halfpipe runs of their young careers. “Last year, the Olympic year, I got hurt at this event, and the whole season didn’t work out so hot for me. So, coming back and getting on the podium is a great feeling.”
With the sun setting at the 10th annual Dew Tour in Breckenridge, the halfpipe finals were set up by a strong showing from Aspen’s Alex Ferreira, himself a Winter X Games medalist in Aspen last winter.
Ferreira finished fifth in the Dew Tour finals behind winner Yater-Wallace, runner-up Wise, third-place Kevin Rolland and fourth-place Gus Kenworthy, yet another Olympic medalist.
In the finals, Yater-Wallace took the lead over Wise with a huge double cork 1260 on the first hit in the Breckenridge halfpipe. He then landed what observers called the biggest double flat spin alley-oop ever — ever.
He scored a 92.25 to take the lead.
Wise, who won the Sprint U.S Grand Prix at Copper Mountain a week earlier, then hit the pipe for “the best run of my life.”
He linked consecutive 1260 doubles and took the lead over Yater-Wallace with a 94.75.
Then Yater-Wallace offered an even bigger frontside 1260 on the second run and also linked back-to-back alley-oop double corks that would take the lead and the win — 95.25.
The two swapped positions from the previous weekend when Wise won and Yater-Wallace finished second at Copper Mountain.
“I’ve never done too well here, so this is awesome,” Yater-Wallace said. “It just felt like any other run, but I heard others saying I was going really big. The pipe was really fast, so that’s what happens.”
He said he had to clean up the final part of his first run after he landed flat.
“I had to polish that up, land higher up on the wall and bring all the speed I could to the last hit to get the grab, better amplitude and the grab — it got me the few extra points I needed, I guess,” Yater-Wallace said.
“I just knew it was going to be a hot contest because last week at the Grand Prix was so intense,” Wise said of the duel. “Torin came out first run and landed the biggest double alley-oop flat spin I’ve ever seen, so I was like, ‘All right, that’s how you’re gonna set the bar,’ and then I landed probably the best run of my life, first run. Got every grab, super smooth, went huge and couldn’t be more happy with that run.”
But, he said, Yater-Wallace had one more shot.
“And Torin throws another heater run and moves into first. I’m stoked on the Wallace versus Wise rivalry.”
Both are expected to extend the friendly rivalry in competition at the Winter X Games in Aspen on Jan. 22-25.
Last year, Yater-Wallace was unable to complete the Winter X Games competition because of his earlier injuries.
But he came back to qualify for the Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia, where he joined the likes of Wise and Kenworthy as U.S. Olympic teammates.
The dramatic duel in the Breckenridge halfpipe will be featured on NBC television in a taped program Dec. 28, from 2-3 p.m. Aspen time.
In other weekend events at the Dew Tour, Breckenridge’s Keri Herman won her first Dew Title in women’s slopestyle.
“I feel absolutely amazing to win the Dew Tour at my home mountain, with all my family and all my friends here,” she said.
Emma Dalstrom was second and Julia Krass, a freeskiing rookie, finished third. Favorite Maggie Voisink fell in the first run and byassed the second.
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Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures and a few inches of snow from Monday night’s storm helped Snowmass skiers and snowboarders cruise into the season Wednesday for opening day.