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Sunday, December 20, 2009
Updated: June 16, 11:04 AM ET
Dew Tour Slopestyle

Beneath the clear, blue Colorado sky, 12 world-class athletes read through an alphabet soup of gymnastic movements. Spectators flock to cordoned-off viewing areas like the salmon of Capistrano. As the judges discuss who they expect the day's winner to be, speakers ionize the air with an invigorating mix of electronica, hip hop, and indie electronica.
Winter Dew Tour Breckenridge Slopestyle Podium
Breckenridge Winter Dew Tour Pipe Podium: 1) Andreas Håtveit; 2) Tom Wallisch; 3) Sammy Carlson.
Engines growl in the distance and the world's best slopestyle skiers commute to the start area atop a fleet of snowmobiles. Those who know know that what they are about to observe will be dubbed by sports writers searching for a good way to kick off an article as the most impressive display in slopestyle competition history.

Men Slopestyle Final Results
Rank Competitor Country Score
1 Andreas Håtveit NOR 93.00
2 Tom Wallisch USA 92.38
3 Sammy Carlson USA 91.13
4 Bobby Brown USA 89.50
5 Elias Ambühl SUI 89.00
6 JF Houle CAN 84.00
7 Philip Casabon CAN 81.50
8 Sean Jordan USA 79.50
9 Alexis Godbout CAN 74.00
10 Oscar Harlaut SWE 66.75
11 Tom Schiller USA 16.50
12 Charles Gagnier CAN 12.00
Rhetorical convenience aside, the standing-room-everywhere Breckenridge crowd periodically made interjections of relative confusion as twelve athletes from two continents alternated between putting their skis and their bodies at risk for ruin.

Parallel with collective expectation the American Tom Wallisch jumped out to an early lead, returning the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. In the waning seconds of the contest, however, Willie Beamen found the end zone with a gutsy QB sneak to give the Norwegian Andreas Håtveit the lead at the end of regulation.

"The way that Andreas rode today was a spectacle that even a man as accomplished as myself would be proud of," said friend and fellow Atomic team rider Chris Benchetler of Håtveit's stunning come-from-behind victory. "I shouldn't have ended a sentence with a preposition, should I have?"

American Sammy Carlson wowed spectators with massive something, consistent something, precise something, and outstanding Overall Impression. The 20-year-old's excellent performance reminded the judges of the supreme difficulty of differentiating slopestyle competitors. Carlson took the bronze medal in a tight finish, only 1.25 seconds off of Wallisch, the second place finisher.

"Sammy is obviously a contender at anything he enters," commented Australian slopestyle analyst Christian Sirianni, "but his podium finish today surprised me a little."

"His performance during the semifinal and practice rounds didn't show me the promise that I saw in the final round," continued Sirianni. "What I hadn't taken into account was Carlson's uncanny ability to perform under extreme pressure."

Men's Slopestyle winner Andreas Håtveit and Men's Pipe winner Mike Riddle turned in identical final scores of 93.00. With identical scores, no overall champion has been crowned for this first annual Totino's Open.

The tie will be carried forward until the upcoming Wendy's Invitational where Håtveit and Riddle will compete head to head in a one-run, sudden-death, winner-take-all playoff.

According to the official pamphlet of regulations, a coin flip will determine whether this weekend's winners face off in the superpipe or the slopestyle course.