By Justin Broglio
Published: January 10, 2011
When 20-year-old Chris Logan stepped off The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series slopestyle podium, on Saturday afternoon at Northstar-at-Tahoe, there was one person he had to thank first. That would be mom.
"I won. We're all going to the X Games!" Logan shouted into a phone that his sister, Devin—who was the day's winner in the women's division—was holding up with their mom, Nancy, on the other end.
Chris Logan, who now holds the coveted 16th entry into the 2011 Winter X Games in Aspen later this month, led the qualifying rounds on Friday with one of the most technical runs of the day including blind switchups and 450 spins on and off the rails. Without pause he carried that momentum through Saturday's semi and final rounds. Logan repeated his rail trickery and spun switch-right 1080 to switch-left 1260 on the bottom kickers and tossed in a flawless 720 with mute grab on the retro quarterpipe in his second run, earning him the high score of the day at a 95.40.
"I felt solid all day and my run had everything I could land well and thought would impress the judges," said Logan, who has also made his way into several Level 1 Production edits and was recently nominated for Rookie of the Year at IF3.
Behind Logan in the men's slopestyle rankings was well-known Vermont native John Strenio with solid switch-right 1080s and a huge ally-opp flatspin 540 on the quarterpipe; and 16-year-old newcomer Nick Goepper from Lawerenceburg, Indiana.
Throughout the day Saturday it became increasingly apparent that judges Steele Spence, Evan Raps, Omar Otte, Skogen Sprang and Mike Laroche were focusing on technical difficulty and unique style versus the often awarded huck-yourself double flip or one directional super spin after super spin.
As the field was narrowed down athletes refined their runs on a much smaller, faster and tighter course than most were used to competing on. The sun managed to peak through the rare gray Tahoe skies during the second semifinals heat to help with the flat light and everyone dug deep to find something they could land on the quarterpipe.
"The quarterpipe definitely separated the men from the boys today," said Laroche. "This venue was a bit smaller for sure, but it forced some more technical tricks, better grabs and the guys who were well-rounded did well. The first place score proves you don't have to double flip to win."
Easily the highlight of day had to go to the women. With medium-sized jumps and routine rails the Northstar-at-Tahoe course was much more friendly to the ladies than others seen around the country.
"This course was an ideal setup for the women," said head judge Steele Spence. "We saw the women skiers throwing down some great tricks—rodeos, 7s, 9s, good grabs—and we all loved seeing the progression out of the women's field today."
While AFP (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) slopestyle points leader Devin Logan and X Games gold medal winner Anna Segal took first and second place, respectively, it was third place winner Maude Raymond that had crowds cheering.
Raymond, a Montreal native, came switch off the rails, threw down a couple of lofty cork 540s and a clean 360 on the quarterpipe to earn third place and the women's seat in slopestyle at Winter X 16.
Other notables of the day included Jessica Warll, the first women to land a double flip (less than six months ago at Whistler's Camp of Champions), and recent Winter Dew Tour Champion Dania Assaly.
Warll led the field by nearly eight points after the semifinals but couldn't hold on during the final round. Warll lost the landing on her cork 7 during her second run and was forced to take her lower, first run score and finish in fourth place overall.