February 24, 2007
Aspen/Snowmass, (THST Press Release)—The second day of on-hill ski competition wrapped up today at The Honda Ski Tour (THST) Aspen/Snowmass, CO. Skier halfpipe competitors delivered both entertainment and excitement for the hundreds of spectators who came out to watch these athletes battle for the $25,000 top prize. With the best run of two counting, competitors held nothing back and Simon Dumont made history matching the highest halfpipe score ever recorded with his final run score of 97.50, winning the event, the $25,000 check and retaining the lead in overall points standings.
THST is North America's new elite, four-stop mountain festival and skiing competition that features the world's best halfpipe and ski cross skiers competing for a total of $500,000, the biggest purse in skiing. Cumulative points will determine the overall winners of THST ski cross and halfpipe events and both will receive a Honda Element at the THST championships at Squaw Valley USA, CA, March 8-11, 2007.
The mass of spectators who turned out to watch The Honda Ski Tour halfpipe competition today on Snowmass Mountain weren't disappointed as 12 of the world's best halfpipe athletes who advanced to the finals put on an incredible show. The third to last competitor to start, Mike Riddle of Canada had an incredible first run linking together a 540 nose grab, right-side 540, and a 900 with a safety grab to launch him into first ahead of John Symms of the U.S.
Simon Dumont had everyone holding their breath wondering how he would push the envelope further than he has in the past. Winner of THST halfpipe in Sun Valley, ID, Dumont finished a disappointing fourth at THST Breckenridge, CO, leaving some looking to the judges for a reason why. Dumont began his run by boosting huge out of the pipe, easily clearing the height markers (well over 15 feet above the lip of the pipe) while executing a perfect ally-oop flat spin 540. Throughout his run he included a 900 and an ally-oop 900 which launched him into first place ahead of Riddle. [pagebreak]The second run of the finals saw competitors pushing the limits even further than the first run. Peter Olenick who stole the show at the Breckenridge THST stop with his signature double flatspin dubbed the whiskey flip couldn't put together an entire run today beyond his signature trick and ended up seventh overall. Mike Riddle had an incredible second run with a 540 nose-grab, a right-side 540, Cab 720, a1080 and finishing it off with a 720. Riddle solidified his second position behind Dumont.
"This was one of my best runs ever, said second place THST halfpipe Aspen/Snowmass finisher Mike Riddle. "I felt like I had to go big, Dumont was going that big or bigger so I had to give it my all. I mean, this is the premiere series of events; it's up there with the X Games so I had to go all out. For Squaw I'm thinking of throwing a Cab 900 at the end of my run and just trying and go bigger than Dumont. I've come second to him three times this year, so I've got to step it up somehow.
Colby West who fell during his first run put together an incredible final run and included a switch 700 to a 900 which moved him from nearly last place into third overall with only Dumont, who had already won the event, left to ski.
For his final run, Simon Dumont charged out of the start-house and boosted a huge 540 truck driver, launching nearly 20 feet out of the pipe. He continued into an ally-oop 540, a ground-breaking 1260 and finished his flawless run with an ally-oop 1080, which had never been successfully executed in competition before today. The crowd was on their feet as Dumont was awarded a 97.50 which matches the highest score ever awarded to an athlete in halfpipe competition, which he shares with CR Johnson.
"I wanted more than just to win today, said two time THST halfpipe winner and leader of overall points standings Simon Dumont. "I wanted to land evverything and have people say, that this was the best halfpipe run they saw this year. If people don't believe it yet, then come to Squaw Valley; because I'm gonna throw down something even better. I'm going to do whatever it takes. I want to be remembered when people talk about halfpipe skiing. I'm really doing it for the crowd and for our sport. And now that I've matched the highest score in halfpipe, my goal is to break it.