Chloe Kim takes a practice run before competing in the women's snowboard superpipe qualifier at the Dew Tour at Copper Mountain on Dec. 6, 2021 in Copper Mountain, Colo.
Never count out the champ. Chloe Kim saved the best for last in winning the women’s halfpipe snowboarding title at the Dew Tour Sunday in Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Meanwhile, 2014 Olympian Taylor Gold finished second in the men’s competition, and three-time Olympic champ took seventh in what he’s calling his final season.
Kim has been flawless in the standings since returning from a nearly two-year break last season, having now won all five of her starts. Sunday’s competition was hardly a cakewalk, though.
The 21-year-old who rose to prominence with her ability to nail 1080 spins fell on each of her first two runs while attempting those three-rotation tricks. With one last attempt, though, she nailed a pair of 1080s to secure the win with 96 points.
Queralt Castellet of Spain was second with 95, followed by Xuetong Cai of China with 89.
Fellow U.S. Olympian Maddie Mastro — the last person to beat Kim, back in 2019 — came into Sunday’s competition as the top qualifier but crashed hard on her first run and was unable to finish.
Gold, who finished 14th at the Sochi Winter Games in 2014 but missed the 2018 season due to injuries, came out strong with a 92-point opening run and held onto the lead until the last three riders, when Yuto Totsuka came out and dropped a 95.5. Two of his Japanese teammates, Ruka Hirano and Ayumu Hirano, looked poised to drop big final runs too but both fell, leaving Gold on the podium. Ruka Hirano was third with 89 points.
Before falling, Ayumu Hirano, the 2014 and ‘18 Olympic silver medalist, landed a triple cork, becoming the first person to do that in competition. He ended in fifth place.
White also saw his competition come down to the final run after falls on the first two, and like Kim he hit it when it counted. However, with some difficulty scaled down he settled for 82 points.
“I’m so happy to put one in,” he said after.
Joey Okesson, a 19-year-old who is in his first year with the national team, finished ninth, while 2018 Olympian Chase Josey was 10th after falling on his first run and retiring after that.
With the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 less than 50 days away, U.S. freestyle skiers and snowboarders head to Mammoth Mountain in California next month for the final Olympic qualification event.