Hall survives crash, outlasts Dumont


ASPEN, Colo. (AP) – Tanner Hall defended his ski superpipe title Friday night, surviving a horrific wipeout and a duel with his friend Simon Dumont at the Winter X Games.

Hall and Dumont have dominated ski superpipe over the past five years and they put on a can-you-top-this show this year, trading leads and tricked-out moves.

Hall, a five-time Winter X gold medalist, took the lead with a 90 on the penultimate run on the first of three rounds, only to be topped by a 1260 – 31/2 rotations – by Dumont that gave him the lead with 92 points.

Hall answered with another spectacular run in the second round, starting with a switch (backward) 1080 and ending with another 1080 for 95 points. It seemed like Dumont, a two-time ski superpipe champ, would take the lead back seconds later after he landed a near-flawless 1260 midway through his second run, but he wiped out on his final trick after landing too far down the pipe.

Worried that Dumont would pull off another great run, Hall went for a big trick right from the start of his final run, but caught his ski at the bottom of the pipe and lost control as he flew in the air. He landed with a thud at the lip of the pipe and his right knee jammed into his chin, sending him sprawling to the bottom of the pipe.

Hall lay there for over a minute as medical personnel check on him, then got to his feet and pumped his poles in the air as he gingerly slid to the bottom of the pipe.

Dumont looked nervously as Hall lay on the ice, but regrouped in time to thrown down a spectacular run that included a near-flawless 1260 (31/2 revolutions). Dumont slid to a stop, gave Hall a big hug and asked his friend if he was all right, then waited for his score to be posted.

It was a 95, leaving Dumont a point behind Hall in one of the best duels – in any sport – in the 11 years of Winter X.

Local favorite Peter Olenick landed the first-ever double flip in a superpipe by a skier or snowboarder during his second run, then hit another on a third-round run that earned him 90 points and a bronze medal.

In women’s ski superpipe, Sarah Burke won her first gold, finally ending Grete Eliassen’s run as champion with a trick she broke her nose attempting in practice.

Eliassen, a Norwegian who lives in Salt Lake City, had won gold in ski superpipe her first two years at Winter X, edging Burke both times. Eliassen was one of the few riders to complete her first run without falling, earning an 83.33 – 17 points higher than the next closest rider.

The score held up through the second round until Burke put together a run loaded with technical difficulty. The Canadian landed a 540 for her first trick and followed with a 900, the same move that left her with two black eyes and a scrape on her nose after slamming it against the ice during practice earlier this week. Burke followed with a pair of 540s, earning a 90 and the lead.

“It’s one (the 900) that I’ve been working on for a while and I knew that’s what I wanted to have in my run,” Burke said. “I broke my nose trying it in practice, so I’m glad everything’s in tact.”

Eliassen had the final shot at catching Burke, but knew she had her work cut out after Burke landed the 900. Eliassen bobbled on a 540 and dropped her hands to the ice while falling back on a switch-landing 720, earning 86.33 points and a silver.

“It’s over, she won,” Eliassen said of what went through her mind after Burke landed the 900. “I thought, ‘Whoa, I’ve got to step up.’ I guess I was a little too stoked.”

Jen Hudak, of Hamden, Conn., took bronze with 66.33, a score that was good enough for second after the first round.

AP-ES-01-26-07 2352EST