Breckenridge’s Keri Herman tops Dew Tour podium in women’s slopestyle
Freeskier Keri Herman and snowboarder Kelly Clark have both said they feel like they are skiing and riding at the top of their games, and on a busy finals Saturday at the Dew Tour they showed it.
The 32-year-old Herman and 31-year-old Clark proved once again that there is no age limit in a sport predominantly filled with teenagers and early twenty-somethings. The two Olympians topped the podium in their respective disciplines — ski slopestyle for Herman and snowboard halfpipe for Clark.
For Herman — a four-time X Games medalist and freeskiing’s inaugural World Cup slopstyle title winner in 2013 — it was the first time on top of the Dew Tour podium after two previous top-three finishes.
The Breckenridge local earned the win on her first run in front of a rowdy home crowd filled with family and friends.
“It’s so awesome,” Herman said after the win. “The support I felt today was incredible. Everyone was crazy. I feel like they were feeling exactly the way that I was feeling. It was the wildest.”
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Herman earned the win with a solid first-run 87.50 score.
“It was the best run I’ve put down in the contest,” she said of a run that included three 720s and a rodeo 540.
But as the second to drop she had to wait almost two full rounds to find out the result.
“You don’t think about anything except for completing your run,” Herman said of her approach to handling that pressure. “I didn’t watch anything. I don’t ever pay attention for a contest. You just have to stay in your head and not let anything get in there. I didn’t even know my score. That’s the best for me.”
Keri’s mother, Diana, had a decidedly different take while watching from the spectator area at the base of the course.
Much like watching her daughter at the Sochi Olympics, she said she was sick to her stomach .
“I’m always sick to my stomach,” she said, adding that she was overcome with emotion after the results were in. “She’s worked so hard. I was thrilled and sobbing at the same time.”
With the Olympics in the rearview — at least till 2018 — Herman said she was excited about the strong start. “Starting off with a win is always great. I think it’s going to be fun going through the season this year.”
CLARK BRINGS HOME ANOTHER
Herman wasn’t the only one who only needed one run to top the podium. Four-time Olympian Kelly Clark started the full day of finals competition throwing down a run that scored a 95.5, holding off teammate Arielle Gold for the second consecutive week. Gold finished third behind Clark and 14-year-old phenom Chloe Kim, who earned her second consecutive trip to the Dew Tour podium, after last year’s third-place finish.
“I’ve come up short. I haven’t won the last few years,” Clark said after the win. “I was really pleased to come out and have my riding where it was supposed to be. I’m riding much stronger than I have in years past.”
Arielle’s brother Taylor topped the men’s snowboard halfpipe podium, making for wins in consecutive events.
The Steamboat Springs siblings each finished in the top three at last week’s U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain.
ASPEN’S YATER-WALLACE TOPS WISE
Last year freeskier Torin Yater-Wallace’s Dew Tour ended in a hospital with his second punctured lung. This year the Aspen native and Sochi Olympian unseated Sochi gold medalist and U.S. teammate David Wise to claim a spot on top of the podium and the ceremonial Dew Cup. Yater-Wallace completed a high-amplitude run that earned him 95.25, topping Wise’s 94.75.
The pair swapped podium spots from last week’s U.S. Grand Prix, at which Wise took the win.
The 2014 Dew Tour wraps up Sunday with men’s ski and snowboard slope finals.