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Saturday, December 17, 2011
Updated: December 18, 11:00 PM ET
O'Brien, Braaten win Dew Tour slope

By Devon O'Neil

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Women's Halfpipe Men's Halfpipe Slopestyle Ski coverage

Men's Slopestyle Finals

Norway's Gjermund Braaten upset a stacked field to win the opening Dew Tour slopestyle at Breckenridge, Colo., with an eye-popping first-run score of 97.75.

It was just enough to beat reigning Winter X Games champion Sebastien Toutant, who took second with a 96.

Braaten's run, which included four double-cork variations and a gorgeous switch alley-oop off the wall feature in the middle of the course, scored 10 points better than his best run in either of the week's first two rounds. His double variations went like this: switch back dub 10, cab dub 9, back dub 10, front dub 10. "I knew it was a good run," he said after the final, "but I had no idea it would be a 97."

Braaten has been entering Dew Tour contests for four years, but going into this year his primary goal was simply to earn the right to compete throughout the tour. "Now it looks like I can do all of them," the 21-year-old quipped. He credited defending Dew Cup champion Torstein Horgmo, one of his snowboarding idols, for his victory Sunday. "I've just learned so much from him. A big part of what I did today was because of his influence on me."

Toutant, 19, also threw four clean double corks: cab dub 9, front dub 10, back dub 10 and double backside rodeo 9. "I think both runs were really good," Toutant said. "It's all about the judging, you know? I'm stoked for Gjermund, it's his first Dew Tour podium, and mine too. It's a judging sport, so you never know."

Another young gun, 21-year-old Charles Reid, laid down what he called the best run of his life to join his fellow French Canadian Toutant on the podium.

Top three women's Slopestyle finishers: Spencer O'Brien, Enni Rukajärvi, and Sarka Pancochova.

Women's Slopestyle Finals

After watching Jamie Anderson dominate women's slopestyle snowboarding the past two years, Spencer O'Brien took a major step toward reclaiming the Dew Cup overall title she won in 2009 with a surprisingly easy victory Sunday at Breckenridge, Colo.

O'Brien posted the day's top two scores and was the only woman to break 80 points, winning the Nike 6.0 Open by a whopping margin as Anderson -- the two-time defending Dew Tour champ -- fell on both of her runs and finished fifth out of six women. O'Brien's second-run 90.75 distanced her from runner-up Enni Rukajärvi (79.5) and third-place finisher Sarka Pancochova (72.0).

Anderson, the only woman pre-qualified for the final, looked unsteady from the start as she fell on the first jump of her first run, then again on the third jump of that run. Her second run appeared like it would challenge O'Brien for the win, but she washed out on the knuckle of the final jump while attempting a 720. Visibly distressed, she declined an interview afterward.

"Jamie's an amazing rider and I love to compete against her because she is so good," said O'Brien, whose first pro victory also came at Breckenridge. "She pushes me so much, and she definitely comes out on top more than I do. But I'll take the wins when I can get them. It's rare for her to fall."

O'Brien's winning run was highlighted by a switch backside 540 mute and a frontside 720 indy off the last of four jumps. She said she hopes to add a backside rodeo for her run at the Winter X Games a month from now.