Sandy's Louie Vito holds on for Dew Tour win
Huntsville • Louie Vito ran toward Iouri Podladtchikov and slapped his hand. Then the Sandy resident wrapped his rival in a hug.
Briefly, in the moments Saturday after a record-setting superpipe final at the Dew Tour T, two of the world's best snowboarders were one. When they finally separated, the two were just one point apart.
In a series of firsts for the sport and event at Snowbasin, Podladtchikov's 97-point run was not enough to top Vito's 98, which was highlighted by a string of four double-cork spins.
With the victory, Vito won the season points championship, the Dew Cup, for the second straight season. After the first of his two runs, the Ohio native ranked first, allowing him to take a shot in his second run and to hold off Podladtchikov, who finished fourth at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
"You always want to push yourself," Vito said. "You landed the first run so you gotta go bigger and better the second run, so that's what I tried to do."
The back-to-back-to-back-to-back doubles were a first in competition, while Vito's 98 was the highest score in the Dew Tour's four-year history.
Long one of the most popular winter spectator sports, superpipe was back in the news this month when Shaun White scored a 100-point run to win X Games in Aspen, Colo. Vito said that run, while "amazing," did not open the door for higher scores in other events and that, if anything, it harms the sport.
"It's hard to get a hundred because you're saying that's the best run you can do on a snowboard," Vito said, "you're capping the progression."
Vito and Podladtchikov entered the contest separated by two points in the Dew Tour standings, a slim margin considering the winner at each of the three stops is awarded 100 points.
Even with a 98 on the board, Podladtchikov said he thought he could steal first.
"For sure, I was thinking I could beat it," he said. "I have already scored a 98 in Euro X two years ago. It's definitely possible. That's why I went for it, I was pretty close."
The men's competition was the second narrow finish of the day, after Kelly Clark scored a 95 on the last run of the women's competition to knock Gretchen Bleiler out of first place.
Vito and Podladtchikov started the day and ended it on top of the Dew Cup standings, but they competed against a diluted field Saturday. Contenders including Luke Mitrani and Scotty Lago were already in Norway for the World Snowboarding Championships, while Matt Ladley, who was in third place in the points race, was injured.
But in the end, the only two who mattered were locked in a quick embrace, awaiting Podladtchikov's score.
While the hysterical announcer drowned out applause and the sounds of sport echoed back up the pipe, Vito held his rival and said, "Thanks for pushing me so hard.'"
R Sandy's Louie Vito edges rival Iouri Podladtchikov to win the snowboard superpipe, which also earns him the season points championship for the second straight year.
• Vito's 98-point run is the highest score in the Dew Tour's 4-year history.
• Podladtchikov follows Vito's 98-point run with a 97-point run.