Tour peaks at Mount Snow
Boarders, freeskiers share finale spotlight
By Marty Basch and Tony Chamberlain
Globe Correspondents / February 4, 2010
Slopestyle and superpipe take center stage as the three-stop Winter Dew Tour wraps up this weekend at Mount Snow in West Dover, Vt. In its second year, the tour features top-flight freeskiers and snowboarders competing in the halfpipe and on a course loaded with rails and features that make it like taking a long run through a terrain park.
Slopestyle is a non-Olympic discipline but is featured in competitions like the Winter X Games, Grand Prix, and US Open.
“Slopestyle is definitely progressing,” says Brandon Reiss, a 21-year-old snowboarder from Peterborough, N.H., who is in sixth place on the tour. “There’s a high level right now. That’s how snowboarding works, keep progressing it.’’
The progression has led to a must-do trick: the off-axis double flip double cork.
“A lot of people are doing double corks now,’’ says snowboarder Sam Hulbert, 20, also from Peterborough and in ninth place. “It’s kind of scary going upside down a second time. I’m working on it and trying to get into the mix.’’
Reiss and Hulbert train together, pushing each other along the way. Reiss started riding at Pats Peak, while Hulbert ripped it up at defunct Temple. They both landed at Waterville Valley under the tutelage of coach Bill Enos, who has shaped many podium-level riders. Reiss has second-place finishes on his résumé at the Grand Prix and Vans Cup, while Hulbert has top-10 spots in the Global Open series and last year’s Dew Tour. Both made their X Games debut last weekend in Aspen, Colo., with Hulbert as an alternate and Reiss nearly qualifying for the finals.
“There’s variety to slopestyle,’’ says Hulbert. “Every course is different. You go to a new mountain, there is a new course, and you have to figure it out.’’
Reiss found slopestyle appealing because he didn’t ride in a halfpipe growing up.
“There weren’t any halfpipes,’’ Reiss says. “We would build jumps and do little things off jumps and rails.’’
Freeskier Simon Dumont, coming off fourth- and sixth-place X Games finishes, is scheduled to compete along with Peter Olenick and TJ Schiller. Snowboarders Elijah Teter (brother of Olympic gold medalist Hannah), Olympic (2002) bronze medalist JJ Thomas and Chas Guldemond, who earned a slopestyle bronze at the X Games, will be there. The snowboarding members of the 2010 US Olympic team are not competing. Two members of the Norwegian Olympic team are: Kjersti Buaas and Roger Kleivdal.
The preliminaries are today with finals tomorrow in men’s freeski slopestyle and snowboard slopestyle. Saturday is the superpipe finals. On Sunday, Peter Engen of Wellesley and Brendan Wall of Rockport are competing in the Dew Tour’s amateur series, seeking a spot on next season’s tour. There’s also a freeski big-air competition.