- Devon O'Neil, Writer, Action Sports
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Snowboard Superpipe Finals just wrapped up for both men and women's categories at the Nike 6.0 Winter Dew Tour Open in Breckenridge, Colo. In Men's Superpipe, Louie Vito took the win, while Queralt Castellet claimed victory in Women's Superpipe.
Men's Superpipe Finals
It's a rare occasion in men's halfpipe riding when only three riders break 70 points on a 100-point scale. It's even more rare that the winner beats the rest of the field by more than 15 points. But that's what happened Saturday at the snowy Nike 6.0 Open, where Louie Vito continued his early-season run of success just one day after he almost failed to qualify for the final.
Vito won his second major contest in a week by making one of the slowest pipes in recent memory look like it was hard ice. His second-run score of 90.25 easily put him ahead of runner-up Matt Ladley (75.0).
"You've always got to come in knowing you've got what it takes to win," said Vito, who qualified tenth out of 10 riders Friday. "Even if you don't, it's like the old Floyd Mayweather approach. That's what I did all last season. You just go in thinking you're the best and no one can touch you. Because you can't control what other people do, you can only control what you do."
Vito's run featured his trademark back-to-back double 1080s, followed by a Crippler, Michalchuk, front 10 and cab 7. Ladley, a nineteen-year old who moved to Breckenridge this winter, threw back-to-back 10s to start his run and added two 9s and two 7s.
"If it was faster out here today, you'd be seeing some crazy doubles," Ladley said, "but it's the same pipe for everyone so I'll take it."
Top qualifier Greg Bretz finished third (73.75) on a day when many of the men struggled to clear the pipe lip toward the bottom of their runs.
Women's Superpipe Finals
With conditions rapidly deteriorating due to the storm currently pummeling Colorado, Spain's Queralt Castellet had positive energy on her side Saturday in the crash-marred women's halfpipe final.
As the defending champ at the Breckenridge Dew Tour stop, Castellet's confidence overpowered the slow snow and allowed her to land the one key trick needed to win.
"From the first day I started training here, I feel very comfortable," said Castellet. "It's good energy for me."
Her frontside 900 wasn't as difficult as fellow 21-year-old Elena Hight's backside 9, but Castellet's superior boost out of, and consistent spins down, the pipe gave her the edge. Castellet and Hight finished with final runs scores of 85.25 to 80.5.
The $15,000 (before taxes) winner's check also made Castellet smile, as she receives no money from the Spanish federation to compete, and thus funds her travels and competitions through sponsorships and personal savings. "I kind of needed this win," she said.
Kaitlyn Farrington, last week's Grand Prix champ, took third with a solid second run. Kelly Clark, whose 97-point score in Friday's prelims came on a fast, clean pipe, fell on both of her runs and finished sixth out of six women.
Men's Snowboard Superpipe Final
Women's Snowboard Superpipe Final
22hEthan Sherwood Strauss