Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Riders at Dew Tour aim for Sochi Olympics

Farrington is fifth in superpipe

Express Staff Writer

     The countdown to the 2014 Sochi Olympics is on, bringing many of the world’s best snowboarders to Breckenridge, Co. last weekend for the Dew Tour Mountain Championships.

     Selection points from the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association were up for grabs, vital to the qualifying process for February’s Olympic Games.

     The deep field of superpipe and slopestyle riders moved closer in their qualification process for U.S. Snowboarding teams headed to Russia.

     Bellevue’s Kaitlyn Farrington, who turns 24 today, Wednesday, finished fifth of eight Elite women riders in Saturday’s Women’s Snowboard Superpipe final won by 2010 Olympic gold medalist Torah Bright, 26, of Australia.

     Having placed sixth in Wednesday’s 25-rider qualifying round, Bright pulled out her bag of tricks in the final with a huge 95.40 first—nearly five points better than runner-up and top qualifier Kelly Clark, 30, of Vermont (90.60). Clark had come to Breckenridge on an unrivaled 16-of-17 winning streak.

     Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation Gold Teamer Farrington, who qualified fourth, pulled off an 83.80 on her second run to make the top five.

     In third was 13-year-old Chloe Kim, a member of the U.S. Rookie Halfpipe Team (89.40). She’s too young to qualify for the U.S. team to Sochi.

     Mammoth Mountain’s Greg Bretz, a 2010 Olympic halfpipe rider, put himself in the lead position for the U.S. Olympic team Saturday with a win in Men’s Snowboard Superpipe ahead of favored Shaun White.

     Although he was the top slopestyle qualifier, two-time Olympic gold medalist White, 27, from San Diego, Ca. said he aggravated an ankle injury in the Saturday pipe and thus pulled out of Sunday’s Men’s Slopestyle final in Colorado.

     The winner was defending Dew Tour slopestyle king Mark McMorris, 20, of Regina, Saskatchewan. Two-time reigning X Games slopestyle king McMorris, the first to pull off a backside triple cork 1440, brought that trick out in the final bumping his score up to an untouchable 97.80.

     Best American in the slopestyle final, in fifth place, was Chas Guldemond, 26, the Laconia, N.H. native from Reno.

     Meanwhile, 22-year-old Jessika Jenson of Rigby, Idaho and Kelly Canyon Ski Area finished fifth in Friday’s Dew Tour Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle final won by four-time X Games slopestyle gold medalist Jamie Anderson, 23, of South Lake Tahoe.

     Competing in her first Dew Tour event, Jenson was the second-ranked American and earned Olympic qualifying points for her effort.

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