- Freestyle Skiing
Goepper tops Breckenridge men's ski slopestyle semis
American Nick Goepper topped the iON Mountain Championships men's freestyle skiing slopestyle semifinal field in Breckenridge on Thursday with a sensational run that produced a 93.20 score.
The qualifier consisted of 30 freeskiers each taking two complete runs down the course, with only the best score counting. The 16 highest-scoring athletes are moving on to the final on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET / 9 a.m. PT, live on NBC.
The Men’s Freeski Slopestyle Qualifier was the third of many slopestyle events to take place this week at the iON Mountain Championships in Breckenridge, Colo. The event took place under clear, sunny skies with no wind on Breck’s top-notch course.
Coming into the event, the men’s slopestyle field was one of the deepest in all the Dew Tour events, with such studs as last year's champ Russ Henshaw, podium fixture Tom Wallisch, heartthrob Nick Goepper, two-sporter Gus Kenworthy, bubble athlete Alex Schlopy and the dreadlocked Henrik Harlaut.
Embedded owg_slideshow: Top storylines to watch: Freestyle Skiing
"[The course] is super fun this year, I'm loving' it," said Russ Henshaw, last year's champion from the freeski slopestyle event. "It's a perfect day. There's sunshine, bluebird [skies] and no wind at all."
Perfect conditions seemed to have eased the nerves of the American freeskiers looking to earn valuable USSA points in order to qualify for the first-ever U.S. freeski slopestyle team, and every athlete out there had nothing but good things to say about Dew Tour acting as an official selection event.
"It's great to see that USSA was able to include the Dew Tour because it is certainly one of our biggest events of the year," said Tom Wallisch following his first run that temporarily landed him in third. "I would have hated to see this event not included."
Nailing the top spot with his first run of the day, 19-year-old Goepper rode like a true veteran despite not holding his poles due to a lingering injury.
"This summer I broke my hand and had surgery on it, there is a screw in it right now. So, I have a brace on my hand and can't ere ally hold a pole."
Goepper didn't seemed phased. If anything, he was enthused with the slopestyle course and the fact that he has done well thus far considering he is on the hunt to earn a spot on the U.S. freeski slopestyle team.
"This is the best course Breck has ever built, and this event means a lot. I really hope I do well here because this is a U.S. selection event for the Olympics. So, yeah, I'm stoked!".
The qualifier also featured Gus Kenworthy’s first attempt at qualifying for finals in two disciplines – he’s also competing in halfpipe whose qualifier is Friday, under the lights, at 7 p.m. ET. Watch it live here. Kenworthy fell on his first run, but came back in his second run, just barely finishing high enough to make his way to the final in the final 16th spot.
1 Nick Goepper 93.20
2 Russ Henshaw 89.60
3 Joss Christensen 88.80
4 Øystein Bråten 88.20
5 Bobby Brown 88.00
6 Alex Beaulieu-Marchand 87.40
7 James Woods 86.20
8 Robert Franco 85.80
9 Tom Wallisch 84.80
10 Alex Schlopy 82.80
11 Sammy Carlson 81.80
12 Mcrae Williams 81.20
13 Antti Ollila 79.00
14 Noah Wallace 76.60
15 Kolby Ward 75.00
16 Gus Kenworthy 74.40
Embedded video_content_type: Aerials: Anatomy of the Jump
Best of Sochi