Josh Dirksen backside-nined his way into a second Vans Triple Crown Big Air competition and $6,000 in prize money. “All I was really worried about was landing,” Dirksen said. “Gunny made a really good jump. It’s a little smaller than last year. It’s a little mellower and more fun to hit.”
The sun fought with the clouds all morning and by the time the Big Air finals started at 11:15 some blue sky was showing but it didn’t stay for long and most of the contest went off under lightly snowin conditions. The night before, jump builder Chris Gunnarson had taken a little out of the jump because of the weather forecast.
Josh landed the 26.1-scoring backside 900 on his first jump and had to wait while 16 riders took shots at his high score. The person who came closest was friend and fellow Morrow team rider Todd Richards. Only .9 of a point separated them, but Dirksen said he wasn’t even worried when he saw Todd stomp a cab nine. “I would have been so amped if Todd had won,” Josh said. “It’s pretty cool that he got second.”
Behind Dirksen and Richards was Marc Frank Montoya who despite staying up most of the night dj-ing at the Sessions party was still able to pull off a cab 900 tailgrab. And if he hadn’t dragged his hands probably would have beated Richards.
In the women’s division Leah Wagner of Vancouver BC scored a 23.2 with a stopped double-grab front flip. This was her second big air win this year. “I’m so excited to have won here today,” she said. “The competition was great, and the jump was ideal for the first event of the season. I couldn’t have asked for a better day, or a better jump.”
The scariest moment of the contest came in the first round of the women’s big air when Leslee Olson, who had been jumping well in practice all morning, pulled out her nemesis trick: the rodeo. Leslee torqued off to the side of the landing, over rotated, and landed directly on her face and head. The blow appeared to have knocked her unconscious. Breckenridge ski patrol was at her side in moments and had her on a backboard on the way to a local medical facility within minutes.
Luckily Leslee was later able to walk out of the facility with what was described as a “heavy concussion.”
The 2000 Mountain Dew Pro Nationals continues tomorrow at Breckenridge with the Halfpipe Finals
Sunday, December 10
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. – Halfpipe Warm-up #1
9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. – Women’s Heat 1
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. – Halfpipe Warm-up #2
10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Men’s Heat 1
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – Finalist Warm-up
12:10 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. – Women’s Finals
1:15 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. – Men’s Finals
2:45 p.m. – Vans Final Awards