Red Gerard had the lead after the first run then lost it during the second at the Dew Tour men’s slopestyle snowboarding contest Saturday in Copper Mountain, Colorado. But if there’s one thing the reigning Olympic champion has proven it's that he’s good for an amazing final run.
That’s just what Gerard delivered, landing arguably the hardest trick attempted all day — a switch backside triple cork 1440 — on his last jump. His effort paid off with a score of 97.33, improving over his first-run score of 93.00. The 19-year-old Gerard, who lives in nearby Silverthorne, was mobbed by his family, out in force to support him, after the score was announced in a scene reminiscent of the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 when his third and final run won him the gold medal.
As at the Olympic Games, there was still one rider to go, however. Defending Dew Tour champion Stale Sandbech of Norway moved up to third with his last run but didn’t score high enough to top Gerard or his buddy and fellow U.S. rider Brock Crouch.
In April 2018, Crouch, 20, survived being buried by an avalanche in the Whistler, British Columbia, backcountry and had injuries including a broken back and ruptured pancreas. His triple cork on the last jump of the course helped earn him what looked like the winning score until Gerard passed him in the final run.
Crouch finished just off the podium at the X Games in Aspen last month, coming in fourth in slopestyle.
Conditions on the Copper Mountain course were challenging. Although athletes were competing under bluebird skies, heavy snowfall forced the cancelation of qualifying rounds for both the men’s slopestyle snowboarding and skiing competitions on Thursday, and the fresh snow made the course run slow on Saturday. At times the wind was actually pushing uphill, making it even harder to get speed for the field of 17 in the men’s slopestyle snowboarding final.
Sixteen skiers took to the course following the snowboarding contest, and 2018 Olympian Alex Hall jumped from last to second on his second run to grab the silver medal. Hall fell on the very first feature on his first run, scoring a 12.00. His second run was a much different story, however, and his final jump was a big switch 1440 with a unique double grab combining a seatbelt grab with one hand and a tail grab with the other. He scored a 93.33 to bump U.S. teammate Colby Stevenson off the podium, with Stevenson eventually finishing fifth.
Earlier in the day, fellow U.S. Olympian Maddie Mastro took second in the women’s snowboarding modified superpipe contest.
The Dew Tour, which also features non-Olympic events, wraps up Sunday with men's finals in modified superpipe snowboarding and skiing, and women's finals in slopestyle snowboarding and skiing.