The Dew Tour kicked off yesterday in Breckenridge with stormy weather and a stacked field of athletea.
A small crowd of dedicated fans gathered in the morning to watch the men’s Slopestyle Pro competition—a reimagining of a traditional big air comp—on a course that saw six inches of fresh snow the night before and a continual accumulation throughout the day. Each skier had four attempts on the 65-foot jump, worth a maximum of 50 points apiece, and was required to spin both directions to be scored.
Henrik Harlaut ended up leading the pack, with plenty of Wu-Tang call-outs and a successful execution of a new trick: a double cork bio 1260 with a tail grab. The Swedish Olympian was thrilled after landing it, telling cameramen and friends he had no idea he was going to pull it off. James Woods of Britain and Evan McEachran of Canada rounded out the top three, but the wildest trick might’ve been courtesy of Vincent Gagnier, who threw a variation on a screaming semen that had an otherwise quiet morning crowd cheering.
The most impressive performance, however, was from 14-year-old Kelly Sildaru, who dominated the women’s portion of the events. Sildaru won with a score of 86.33. For context, Harlaut won with 81.32. Harlaut beat Woods by four points, Sildaru beat Kaya Turski, who took second, by 17.
The diminutive Estonian is stunning to watch. Though she still starts far further up the slope than her competition to gain speed, she’s explosive. She landed left and right switch 900s and smoothly negotiated issues that inhibited other skiers, including an increasingly slow course and poor visibility. Reserved and incredibly focused, Sildaru has already made remarkable strides in women’s freeskiing and will continue to do so this season.
Maggie Voisin—who was cheered on by her grandmother, holding a “Maggie” sign aloft—took third. The talkative Montanan dissected, laughed about, and celebrated her runs with the crowd and fellow skiers throughout the competition. After one particularly loose (and impressive) run, she yelled to her friend and competitor Devin Logan “D Lo! I went so big!” and Logan hollered back “I know! I asked if you landed!” There’s a definitive sense of camaraderie and good humor among the women; Keri Herman, who took a straight air after an iffy takeoff, commented that her next successful run was “720 degrees better than my last one!”
In the evening, park and urban skiers competed in a massive rail jam running into Breckenridge’s Main Street. A huge crowd lined the course, spreading across the street and into the opposite plaza. Everyone from stoked kids to college students passing flasks and pros (including Olympic gold medalist Joss Christensen) enjoyed the show. Alex Bellemare took home first after laying down consistently smooth, creative runs during the 45 minutes of competition. Coming in second, Sandy Boville impressed in his clean execution of arguably the widest variety of tricks by any rider. Alex Beaulieau-Marchand took third, and Tim McChesney took best trick handily with a rail-to-rail transfer incorporating several spins the rowdy crowd loved.
Afterward, athletes like Bellemare, who had already competed in Slopestyle Jump before his Streetstyle win, headed back to hotels to rest up, while other competitors and spectators headed out to bars or Transworld Snow’s Rider Poll—the second awards ceremony to be held during the weekend, after Powder Awards—to continue the Dew Tour’s celebration of snowsports—and the aprés parties that come with it.
Follow the live webcast of the rails on Powder.com on Saturday, and go here for more extensive coverage.