iON Mountain Championships Snowboard highlights
The Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado is always one of the hottest competitions in the world, a flagship shred event that attracts the world’s best. This year was no exception – if anything, the stakes were even higher thanks to the fact that most of the heaviest American riders were competing for places in the Olympic teams for Sochi. With only four places available per team, this was going to be an epic weekend.
As with every snowboard comp out there these days, the riding at the Dew Tour was a ridiculously high standard. As Olympic vet and 2014 halfpipe hopeful Louie Vito put it, “It’s pretty much like the Olympics in every contest right now”.
That was certainly the story in the men’s super pipe final. When Shun White doesn’t win and iON team rider and 2010 Olympic Bronze medal winner Scotty Lago can only score 11th , you know some heavy shredding is going down. White’s second run, during which he stomped his signature Double McTwist 1260, earned him second spot: not enough to beat Greg Bretz’s amazing 91.40 scoring first run which left him “speechless” at beating White and third place Taylor Gold on an all American podium.
The women’s superpipe final was also sick, with defending Olympic champion Torah Bright of Australia claiming another first place, keeping her in good shape for her personal Sochi challenge of three events: halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross. iON’s Kelly Clark finished a close second, and amazing 13-year old prodigy Chloe Kim, who is ineligible for the Olympics because of her age, came third.
Of course, the big news for Sochi is the inaugural Olympic slopestyle comp, and this was the first chance to see how the big hitters would fare. Shaun White, in particular, is a fascinating case. He’s not really known as one of the scene’s best slope riders, but has reportedly been training hard to try and up his game, so plenty were keen to see him unveil his run a month before the Games.
In the end, White decided not to compete due to an ankle injury he sustained in the halfpipe finals, a decision that made Canuck shredder Mark McMorris favourite. Sure enough, his score of 97.80 saw him win ahead of Sven Thorgren of Sweden and fellow Canadian Max Perrot. No wonder McMorris is favourite for the slopestyle gold.
Women’s slopestyle was won by another medal favourite, America’s Jamie Anderson, who has four X Games gold medals to her name, ahead of Finland’s Enni Rukajärvi and Silje Norendal from Norway.