Bigger skis turned into a gold medal this week for Simon Dumont, who repeated as men's ski superpipe champ Tuesday at the Winter X Games in Aspen, Colo. The 18-year-old from Bethel, Maine, bested one of the sport's stars, Tanner Hall, who left the games without a gold.
After having trouble landing his tricks, Dumont opted to go up 10 centimeters and ski on 178s in the halfpipe. The bigger skis, he said, gave him more speed.
Dan Marion of Windham, Maine, placed fifth.
Lindsey Jacobellis, shortly after seeing her brother Ben be taken to a hospital following a crash in the men's Snowboarder X quarterfinals Sunday, kept her emotions in check and claimed her third consecutive women's gold in that same discipline.
The 19-year-old from Stratton, Vt., said she derived strength from thinking about her brother during her run. Ben Jacobellis was diagnosed as having suffered a moderate concussion. Lindsey Jacobellis, who in five years of competing in the X Games has four medals, also competed in the superpipe, finishing seventh.
Hannah Teter, the 18-year-old halfpipe wonder from Belmont, Vt., who took third at the FIS World Championships in
Hometown favorite Gretchen Bleiler, sidelined last year following surgery to repair a torn ACL, landed three consecutive 540s to earn gold in the talent-packed women's superpipe. Silver went to Doriane Vidal.
With Bleiler healthy and riders such as Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark landing huge 900s in competition, Teter sees the playing field being kicked up a notch. "They are really pushing me to ride harder," she said. "I have to step up myself and get amped. The competition is progressing so far."
Next stop in Teter's quest for gold is Mountain Creek, N.J., for this weekend's US Snowboard Grand Prix. Teter is a past Grand Prix champ.
Clark, the Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Vermont and now lives in Mammoth Lakes, Calif., mastered the 900 -- a 2 1/2-spin move -- only three days before the Games. "I had such a great night and was excited to land the tricks I wanted to land, even if they weren't in the same run," she said.
Clark, who won gold in the Burton European Open women's halfpipe last month, is competing in the Grand Prix as well. "I'm really looking forward to putting all my tricks together and landing the run I had hoped for," she said.
Clark plans to return to Vermont later this season to teach a snowboard camp at Mount Snow.
Maine's Seth Wescott notched his fifth Snowboarder X medal in seven years, earning a silver. Frenchman Xavier de la Rue edged Wescott, a 1996 Carrabassett Valley Academy graduate and 2005 FIS snowboardcross world champ, for the gold.
Shaun White, who missed two competitions last year with an injured knee, showed that his knee is fine, dominating the men's snowboard slopestyle with a near perfect run for gold. But White didn't make the podium in the superpipe, which was won by 19-year-old Finn Antti Autti, whose final run included consecutive 1080s. Stratton's Mike Goldschmidt took eighth place.
Jamie MacLeod of Bradford, N.H., finished seventh in the women's snowboard slopestyle, which was won by Janna Meyen.
The Crist brothers, Reggie and Zach, from Sun Valley, Idaho, finished 1-2 in the Skier X men's finals.
The University of Vermont, sitting atop the winter carnival circuit, plays host to the collegiate competition this weekend in Stowe. Last week at the St. Michael's Carnival, the Catamounts got first-place finishes by junior Amy Cochran in women's slalom and senior Lowell Bailey in the 10-kilometer pursuit. UVM has won both carnivals this season and leads in the team standings with 870 points, followed by Dartmouth with 825 and Middlebury at 786 . . . A couple of Vermonters nailed the 50K Banknorth Craftsbury Marathon Saturday. Ripton's Dave Stewart bested a field of 1,000 who skied from the Highland Lodge in Greensboro to Craftsbury Common. His winning time of 2 hours 45 minutes 13 seconds earned him $250. Woodstock's Kate Underwood was the top female finisher at 3:18:28.
With Patriot Nation glued to the tube for Sunday's Super Bowl, New England ski country can have a quiet day. To entice skiers and riders out onto the slopes before the game, Cranmore in North Conway, N.H., has $25 tickets, while Waterville Valley reduces its rate to $28. The catch is, purchase the tickets online at their websites. The two-day Touchdown Ticket at Attitash in Bartlett, N.H., good Saturday and Sunday, is $69 online and $79 at the ticket window. Sunday River in Bethel, Maine, has a two-day $79 online deal, too. Tenney Mountain in Plymouth, N.H., has $20 tickets that day for anyone wearing Patriots logo clothing. Bay Staters can get a Haystack-only ticket at Vermont's Mount Snow on Super Bowl Sunday for $35.