In challenging weather conditions, Tess Ledeux prevailed to win the Dew Tour Women’s Slopestyle on Friday, December 17, 2021.
The 20-year-old veteran slopestyle competitor put together a run including both-way switch 270s on with 270s out in the rails, and a switch right 900 and left cork 900 tail in the jumps. Her first-run score of 91.5 was good enough to carry the day as many other competitors struggled to find speed in the Dew Tour jump line at Copper Mountain, Colorado.
Despite being in the lead already with a win almost guaranteed, Ledeux still went for broke on her last run, attempting and almost landing a double cork 12 mute on her last hit before crashing hard.
“The weather is bad today, the speed is so sketchy, so I’m super happy to land my first run,” said Ledeux.
Eileen Gu was clean through the rails, including this k-fed on the flat-down. Photo: Walter
Eileen Gu trailed Ledeux in second place. Gu, who won the women’s halfpipe event earlier in the day, landed a switch 270 to pretzel 450 in the jumps as well as a switch left misty 900 tail. She looked to be considering a double cork on the final jump, but held it to a single left cork 720 instead given the conditions. Third place went to the ever-consistent Johanne Killi, who linked together a clean rail section with a cork 900 tail and matching switch cork 720 japans in both directions in the jumps.
Johanne Killi unpacked her photogenic cork 9 tail as well as matching switch cork 7s. Photo: Walter
American rookie Bella Bacon and Swiss veteran Mathilde Gremaud both had some of the most impressive rail runs of the day, but couldn’t back them up with solid jump tricks. Bacon landed an impressive cork 1080 tail, but only spun 360s otherwise. Gremaud put down a respectable third run, but a few bobbles kept her in fourth place and off the podium.
Marin Hamill with a nice poke on her switch right cork 540 japan. Photo: Walter
Her compatriot Sarah Hoefflin struggled and ultimately succeeded in landing a switch right 10 mute on the third jump, the biggest jump trick of the day. But the judging panel was apparently unswayed by her performance on the rest of the course, and held her to sixth place. In fact the entire Swiss squad was kept off the podium, with Gremaud, Giulia Tanno and Hoefflin taking places 4-6 respectively.
The event also marked the debut of a transgender athlete in freeski competition. Jay Riccomini, a 17-year-old female-to-male skier, competed in the women’s category because he hasn’t yet taken testosterone or other hormone therapies. Riccomini took a brutal slam on his double flatspin 7 japan on his second run, but got back up and managed to put down a clean third run, finishing in 11th overall.
With fresh snow on course and unpredictable uphill wind gusts, the weather conditions made this contest less an athletic showcase and more of a survival challenge. The women’s qualifying event was cancelled, and several potential finalists—including slopestyle heavyweight Kelly Sildaru—chose not to compete due to the conditions.
Looks like someone forgot the podium: Johanne Killi, Tess Ledeux and Eileen Gu standing in the snow. Photo: Andrew Durso
2021 Dew Tour Women’s Ski Slopestyle
1. Tess Ledeux
2. Eileen Gu
3. Johanne Killi
4. Mathilde Gremaud
5. Giulia Tanno
6. Sarah Hoefflin
7. Kirsty Muir
8. Marin Hamill
9. Grace Henderson
10. Bella Bacon
11. Jay Riccomini
12. Marion Balsamo