Despite entering the open qualifier heavily favored, Ian "Chug" Cosco fell victim to the harsh conditions and failed to qualify into the semifinal round.
"@#$%, it's cold!" was the exclamation of the day today as 50 hand-selected slopestyle skiers did their damnedest to outspin, outflip, and outrailslide each other in the Open Qualifier phase of the inaugural Winter Dew Tour Slopestyle. Temperatures dipped below zero degrees fahrenheit and wind gusts tipped the scales at 30 miles an hour. None of these figures come from an accredited weather source, but that's how it felt. It was brutal. Brutal enough that the inclement conditions played a significant role in the playout of today's event. Many athletes had to make early exits from useful-looking runs when uphill gusts of wind robbed them the speed necessary to clear jumps that, on the previous training day, Peter Olenick had described as "The best triple line I've hit in my entire life." Bummer.
16-year-old Henrik Harlaut overcame the conditions and speed issues to lock in the day's top score. Perhaps he'll carry that momentum into the finals and fulfill the expectations that much of the ski community, myself included, has for him. "What the ?" was the unanimous reaction of all who saw PK Hunder's name on the open qualifier list. That reaction looked quite justified as he stomped that double cork 10 that all the kids are so wild about and easily slid through into the semifinals.
Today's top 16 finishers will move on to the semifinal round, wherein they will fiercely clash with the likes of Simon Dumont, Tanner Hall (possibly?), Sammy Carlson, and Jossi Wells in a slopestyle battle royale. (I'm not linking to that article to give credit for the line. Rather I'm linking to it to assert that it's my line, and to direct you to more photos from the day.)
Here they are, in order: