Dewd Pipe Semis

An international field dropped in to the Snowbasin, Utah halfpipe today in the semifinal round of the Wendy's Invitational, the second stop of the Winter Dew Tour. 19 athletes from Canada, France, USA, Finland, New Zealand, and Japan put their hearts, their health, and an entire season of dedicated training on the line to vie for 9 berths into the finals.

Photo: Park Min Kee

Peter Olenick boosts an alley-oop flatspin 540 at the top of his 3rd-place semifinal run.

Things started off easy for Justin Dorey, who exhibited poise and experience well beyond his years throughout the qualifying round. The 21-year-old veteran from Vernon, British Columbia gave completely different performances with each of his two runs as if trying on different outfits for the Evening Wear category (which everybody knows is the real main event).

Men's Pipe Qualifying Results
Rank Competitor Country Score
1 Justin Dorey CAN 87.75
2 Kevin Rolland FR 84.75
3 Peter Olenick USA 82.50
4 Simon Dumont USA 77.75
5 Tucker Perkins USA 75.25
6 AJ Kemppainen FIN 74.00
7 Colby James West USA 73.50
8 Matt Duhamel USA 73.00
9 Dan Marion USA 70.25
Each of Dorey's runs earned a score high enough to place him at the top of the semifinal standings. Just for fun, he requested that the higher of the two be dropped to narrow the spread between himself and the second-place qualifier. Just kidding. Of course he'd never do that. But Justin Dorey still won qualifying.

Having narrowly missed the podium at the Totino's Open, also known as the first Winter Dew Tour stop in Breckenridge, Frenchman (you can say that on TV, right?) Kevin Rolland was the top pipe performer required to participate in the semifinals. Rolland kept that momentum going today, easily qualifying through to finals in the second spot.

Right behind the shoe-ins Dorey and Rolland in third place, the semis saw a somewhat unlikely top finisher in Peter Olenick.

Olenick, who has won several Winter X medals and was named the Top Rookie Performer at the 2004 Winter X contest, has been a viable contender at major contests throughout his career. In recent years, however, nagging injuries and an infuriating tendency to fall on the last trick of the run that counts have kept the superpipe giant from carrying his weight.

This year, that may all be behind him. "I've been much more diligent and much more focused about the training I do for these events this year," says Olenick. "Wake up early, ski, hit the gym. I'm treating it like it's my nine-to-five."

Will we see the new, harder-working pipe jock on the podium after tomorrow's final round? Maybe.

Olenick offered only that "Today felt good, and I feel good. But my focus right now is how I'm going to do what I have to do tomorrow — not how I'm going to talk about it."

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