Steamboat lands 2 men’s snowboarders in Dew Tour finals
Steamboat Springs — Thursday’s qualifying round of the men’s half-pipe competition at the Dew Tour didn’t exactly showcase the cleanest snowboarding in the sport. Even Shaun White only recorded one good run on two tries.
That was still good enough for the iconic snowboarder to post the highest score, and a pair of Steamboat Springs riders survived a mayhem-filled qualifier round, as well, those three joining 13 others in earning spots in Saturday’s finals at the Breckenridge event.
Steamboat’s Taylor Gold stuck a big run on his second attempt to finish ninth while fellow Steamboat rider Benji Farrow was 15th.
“I was super stoked,” Gold said. “I have been having good practices, and I was able to put down my last run and secure my spot.”
Gold scored 61.4 on his first run and was right on the bubble as far as advancing to the finals. He managed to improve on that, though, posting a score of 72.8. Turns out, he’d have advanced either way, but he was happy to make sure.
He was one of only a few riders to have solid results on both runs, and one of very few to stomp his second run. Gold said the pipe got slippery as the event wore on and the sun lowered in the sky. By the time riders were taking their second run, the walls were icy, and that much showed up in the result.
Steamboat’s Matt Ladley fell on both of his runs and missed the finals, finishing 21st. White and six other riders in the top 10 slipped on their second attempts, relying on their high-scoring first runs to get them into the finals.
The Dew Tour is the first of five Olympic qualifiers, which means big pressure for athletes as they compete. Gold said he’s doing what he can to keep that in the back of his mind, however. He’ll approach Saturday’s finals — shoulder to shoulder with Farrow and the other members of the nation’s snowboarding elite — eager, not nervous.
He said he’s even saved a few tricks for the finals.
“I feel really good about my riding,” he said. “I’m trying not to center my focus around making the Olympics. I want to ride as well as I can. If I can do that, I have as good a chance as anyone, except maybe White, who’s a lock to go.”
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Editor’s note: This story discusses the sensitive topics of domestic violence and abuse.