After the sick slopestyle competition, the halfpipe finals had a lot to live up to and they didn’t disappoint. In both male and female divisions the standard was again super high, with the overall victory being closely contested between the top riders of each category.
In the womens event, Gretchen Bleiler set the tone for the day with her first run when she threw down a crippler, back 900, front cork 7, cab 7, straight air, back 5 to score a 90.25. She took over the lead and held onto it throughout most of the 6-woman final. However, defending Dew Tour champion Kelly Clark was not about to be outdone and, on her final run, managed to score a 91.25 to just squeeze past Bleiler. Her winning run included a front inverted 7, cab 7, front 5, back 5, front 9 and back air. Xuetong Cai, from China, finished third after riding with huge amplitude all day to go along with a solid bag of tricks.
In the mens, it would be fair to say that the focus of the day was on Kevin Pearce, who has just returned to snowboarding following a horrific crash training for the 2010 Olympics. Although not able to compete, Pearce was there from start to finish cheering on his friends and colleagues. In the competition, the riders upped the heat and battled to a tight finish. Iouri Podlachikov (I-Pod) stormed into podium contention with his first run, going absolutely huge and landing backside air, crippler, backside double cork 12, front double 10, cab double 10 and backside rodeo. It was the best run of the night until he sketched the landing of his last trick and ended up slamming on his face and coming up bloodied. Had he nailed the run there would have been every possibility that he could have usurped Shaun White’s usual position at the top of the podium.
The ginger sensation, though, wearing skin tight pants (make of that what you will), threw down a massive backside air into a 900, backside 540, frontside 540 stalefish, a huge double McTwist 1260 and ended with an alley oop backside rodeo. He scored 95.00 and set the bar high. Louis Vito was the last man to drop and was the only one who could unseat White in first place. He came out strong with a double crippler, Michalchuk, front double 10, cab double 10, front 12 and finished with a back but couldn’t manage more than 92.75 to finish second and I-Pod was third.
So finished another sick days riding at the Nike Open Dew Tour 2011.