McMorris and Anderson Win Dew Tour Slopestyle; 13 #TeamOakley Athletes Podium
When you’re a professional athlete, there’s always pressure to perform. External pressures from fans, family and sponsors. Internal pressures that are a continual battle within one’s own mind; a mix of confidence and self-doubt. Any time an athlete is about to drop into the Superpipe or Slopestyle course, senses are on high alert knowing that a stomped run can mean the difference between a career on the rise and one on the fritz.
For most of the athletes competing at the iON Dew Tour Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo., that balance of pressures was on another level, as nearly every athlete was battling for an opportunity all would want but won’t all receive: a chance to dawn the colors of their country and compete at the Olympics in Sochi, Russia in two months time.
“I try not to let those thoughts enter my mind, but at the same time, I know it’d be a huge honor [to be on the US Team],” said Jamie Anderson, who was able to dismiss any nerves in her second and final drop and lay down the type of run that should net her a medal in Russia. “I’m happy and healthy and we’ll just see what happens between now and February.”
Anderson was one of 13 Oakley athletes to earn a spot on the podium this weekend. She was joined on the podium by Norway’s Silje Norendal,
As an official USOC qualifying event, the number of American athletes in attendance was greater than at years past, but that didn’t stop the international talent from performing. After squeaking through the qualifying round, Canada’s Mark McMorris was his usual dominant self in the final of Snowboard Slopestyle, executing one of the few triple corks of the weekend for a score of 95.0.
“This was pretty much a dream start to an Olympic year,” McMorris said. “I landed both of my runs and got good scores on both, so I was ecstatic with how it all played out. The weather finally cooperated and I was feeling on point, so, yeah, couldn’t be happier.”
McMorris was joined on the podium by fellow Canadian and Oakley teammate Maxence Parrot, who finished third. Sweden’s Sven Thorgren, who came to Colorado straight from winning Air+Style Beijing, finished second.
Shaun White was also in town to compete, and was the top qualifier in Slopestyle, but pulled out of the event with an ankle injury that he sustained on the way to second in Superpipe. During the Slopestyle finals, White posted an Instagram image of him on the couch, with the hashtag, #RoadToCouchi.
Taylor Gold placed third in Superpipe behind White.
In women’s Freeski Superpipe, Angeli VanLaanen, who has been out of competitive skiing for some time while battling Lyme Disease, was the top qualifier into the finals. She came .40 points short of Maddie Bowman’s score and took second. Brita Sigourney finished third.
Overall, Canadian athletes accrued enough podiums to let the rest of the snowboard and freeski communities know they’ll be a medal count threat at the Olympics. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand was solid in Freeski Slopestyle, taking second, while Kim Lamarre also represented Canada on the podium, also taking second in Freeski Slopestyle. Lamarre was joined on the podium by American Maggie Voisin, who was competing in her first Dew Tour at 15 years old.
“For me, this season has been more about experiencing high level events like Dew Tour and X Games. I just wanted to ski the best that I could and see where that got me,” she said afterward. “Last year I was out here watching Dew Tour, so to come as a competitor and to do well, that was amazing.”
While no final roster decisions have been made for the various national programs based on the results in Breckenridge, they’ll certainly go a long way in helping the committees determine who knows how to excel on the biggest platforms and who does not. For now, the focus shifts 20 minutes from Breckenridge to Copper Mountain, where the Grand Prix event kicks off Thursday. The Road to Sochi continues.