Men's Slopestyle Finals
Among Alexis Godbout's tight circle of friends back home in Quebec, he is known as the Ham. The nickname refers to his thick legs, but at 5 foot, 8 inches and 175 pounds, the Ham is also one of the lucky ones when abundant snow slows down the rest of the field.
Godbout used his girth to carry more speed than anyone else in Sunday's star-packed and dramatic slopestyle final at the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge, the key ingredient (along with his incredible jumping talent) to the first big victory of his career. His second-run score of 94.5 was just enough to squeeze past hometown favorite Bobby Brown's first-run score of 92.25.
"I definitely didn't expect to win when I came here," said Godbout, who, like Sunday's women's freeski winner, Ashley Battersby, comes from two ski-instructor parents. "Just because everyone throws doubles both ways and it was pretty scary out there. But I'm usually pretty good in snow, so this was OK for me."
Godbout, 20, threw a right rodeo 9, switch cork 10, switch misty 9 and Kangaroo Flip in his winning run. Brown, 19, opened his day with a perfectly executed but less technical run, then failed to stick his switch 9 cleanly on his more difficult second run.
"Alexis just killed it," Brown said. "I can't emphasize that enough. He had a lot of speed to clear the jumps, and I did what I needed to do. I'm super stoked on second place."
On a day when many competitors struggled to clear the knuckles on the lower jumps, Sammy Carlson, Tom Wallisch and Russ Henshaw completed the top five.
Women's Slopestyle Finals
Ashley Battersby spent more than two years waiting for the moment she experienced Sunday, when she finally returned to the top of a major contest podium.
Back in 2008, Battersby -- then a 20-year-old upstart -- won the U.S. Freeskiing Open slopestyle title among a number of other significant victories. But the Chicago native tore her ACL and missed the entire 2009 season, then struggled to find her winning form last year.
On Sunday, she put together an 86.5-point run that included a switch 540 and 720 to upset Breckenridge local and X Games silver medalist Keri Herman. Herman missed her grab on her left 360 and was bumped down to 83.0. Jessica Warll, who landed a double flip to much acclaim at Whistler this summer, took third (80.0).
In addition to glowing about the day's result, Battersby was also grateful female skiers are included in two of the Winter Dew Tour's three stops this year.
"They didn't have us in the Dew Tour last year and for them to put us back in this year was amazing," said Battersby, who lives in Park City, Utah. "We only had a couple competitions before that, and this gives us a couple more to do well at and progress women's skiing."