Pre-qualified skier Sammy Carlson gets in some training at Breck. Photo: Martin Rubio

Pre-qualified skier Sammy Carlson gets in some training at Breck. Photo: Martin Rubio

By Chris Casula

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. — Although the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour, the Nike Open, doesn’t officially kick-off until today, yesterday served up a flurry of spinny-flippy wizardry as the slopestyle qualifiers went down under not-so-sunny skies.

In what has become something of an annual tradition, Mother Nature made her presence felt and did her best to spoil what most described as a truly great slopestyle course. Light was variable all afternoon, even drastically different between features, and gusting winds accompanied by blowing snow made speed a constant concern. As it turns out, holding a world-class slopestyle comp indoors is something of a logistical nightmare, so the 60 skiers representing eight nations from the world over threw caution to the wind (literally) and took to the immaculately groomed course in hopes of earning a coveted spot in Friday’s semifinal where the 23 pre-qualified riders await.

Aidan Sheahan, Dew Tour slope alternate to semifinalist. Photo: Chris Casula

Aidan Sheahan, Dew Tour slope alternate to semifinalist. Photo: Chris Casula

When it was all said and done, the day definitively belonged to the young guns, who were clearly not intimidated by their much older and more experienced counterparts. Canuck Jamieson Irvine, 16, found himself atop the field after absolutely stomping a run which included both a forward and switch double. And that on a day when many skiers resorted to plan-b and stock tricks. Also making the cut was 14-year-old “Stop Calling Me a Phenom” Willie Borm, who could potentially become the youngest freeski athlete to ever make a Winter Dew Tour final if he manages to land a clean run on Friday.

The Breck stop of the Winter Dew Tour has become something of a springboard for up-and-coming freeski talent, and a preview for the upcoming contest season. In what now seems like an eternity ago, an 18-year-old relatively unknown Bobby Brown back-to-back dubbed his way to a first place finish, handily beating out much more well-known competitors.

In similar upset fashion, on Wednesday another Colorado native, Aidan Sheahan, fought his way into the semifinals. Some 24 hours earlier, an anxious Aidan waited for his chance to lap the course knowing that, as an alternate, chances were almost nil that he’d even get a bib. However, after Norway’s Klaus Finne was unable to compete, Aidan got a phone call at 5 p.m. and was offered the shot he’d been hoping for.

With his dreams on the verge of becoming reality, instead of celebrating or mentally prepping, Aidan was forced to drive to Boulder to take a final at CU… a FINAL! From 7-10 p.m., he distractedly took his exam before hopping in the car and heading back to Breck. Just a few hours later, I bumped into an elated Aidan, who had just been informed that he had earned a spot in the semis.

“I just stuck with what felt right,” he said of his run. “I was feeling the pressure because other guys were throwing dubs on the second jump. I was going to throw switch dub rodeo 9, but then I thought to myself that I wanted to do something unique and that would hopefully standout, so I went with switch 9 with an octograb. I also was grabbing lead Japan into the first rail. I was really just hoping that the judges would appreciate my creativity, and I guess they did!”

So did everyone else.

Stay tuned to Powder.com for further updates through the weekend.


Men’s Ski Slopestyle Qualifiers Results
Wednesday at Breckenridge

Heat 1
1) Chris Laker – 83.83
2) Willie Borm – 79.50
3) Torin Yater-Wallace – 78.67
4) Aleksander Aurdal – 77.67
5) Matt Walker – 76.17
6) Vincent Gagnier – 75.83
cut-off
7) Colby James West – 73.33
8.) Tim McChesney – 73.33
9) AJ Kemppainen – 73.00
10) Lyman Currier – 71.00
11) Alex Beaulieu-Marchand – 70.17
12) Oscar Scherlin – 69.83
13) Cody Cirillo – 69.33
14) Jeremy Pancras – 66.00
15) Pat Goodnough – 62.83
16) Kai Mahler – 62.17
17) Beau-James Wells – 60.17
18) John Spriggs – 59.83
19) Kim Boberg – 59.33
20) Steffen Hamre – 58.50
21) PC Fosse – 57.83
22) Ben Smith – 57.00
23) Alex Gorham – 53.00
24) Max Peters – 41.67
25) Joe Schuster – 32.83
26) Rockwell Nixon – 32.17
27) Tyler Duncan – 32.00
28) Austin Torvinen – 20.50
29) David Wise – 15.33

Heat 2
1) Jamieson Irvine – 84.67
2) Chris Logan – 84.50
3) Ole Christian Mustad – 81.33
4) Fridtjof Fredricsson – 79.33
5) Aidan Sheahan – 77.17
cut-off
6) Karl Fostvedt – 75.17
7) Banks Gilberti – 75.00
8.) Will Hibbs – 72.67
9) LJ Strenio – 71.67
10) Thomas Dolplads – 70.50
11) Mike Mertion – 68.67
12) Alex Bellemare – 68.33
13) Erik Hughes – 59.33
14) Noah Morrison – 56.33
15) Dale Talkington – 55.00
16) Clayton Vila – 53.17
17) Marshall Mcgonegal – 50.83
18) James Campbell – 50.67
19) Will Berman – 49.50
20) Charlie Ingalls – 41.33
21) Tim Gage – 40.50
22) Spencer Milbocker – 40.17
23) Elvis Harsheim – 35.83
24) Jonas Hunziker – 32.00
25) Kolby Ward – 30.50
26) Peter Brown – 26.50
27) Jason Arens – 22.00
28) Nicholas Keefer – 16.17
29) Willis Brown – 12.00