Vans Team Rider Iouri "I-Pod" Podlachikov competed in Superpipe at the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge, CO over the weekend against fellow podium regulars like Louie Vito and Shaun White. After pulling the first Switch Backside 1260, or Switch Double McTwist last summer, I-Pod is the becoming the favorite as the rider with the best chance to oust the red-headed, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist out of the top spot. As the first major contest of the season, the Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge is a good barometer to see where everyone stands, and a precursor to the 2012 Winter X Games.
Although the conditions were ideal with sunny skies and unseasonably warm temperatures, the Mens' Finals didn't kick off until very late in the day, presumably due to TV scheduling constraints. As a result, a looming shadow over the pipe created poor visibility and added another variable to the contest, making it difficult for some of the riders to throw down their absolute best. Nonetheless, with I-Pod qualifying in second just behind Shaun coming into the finals, all eyes were on the Swiss superstar as he dropped in for his first run.
A monster Method with style that Jamie Lynn would be proud of led into a Frontside Crippler, which set up for the first of three double corks: Backside Double Cork 1260 to Frontside Double Cork 1080 to Cab Double Cork 1080. It's the first time anyone has thrown these tricks linked in succession in competition, and the size and cleanliness that I-Pod displayed proved it was no fluke. Even at that point, this first run might have been enough for the win, but I-Pod tried to sneak in one more trick and threw an Ally-Oop Backside Rodeo on his final hit. He got it around no problem and even stomped it clean as well, but he ran out of tranny and ended up in the flat bottom, causing him to immediately faceplant into the cold, hard snow. His goggles broke, maybe saving his nose from doing the same, but the damage was clearly done... His face was bloodied and swollen and his perfect winning run was ruined in the final moments.
Shaun White followed with a steller run of his own, including an even bigger method on the first hit, the Double McTwist 1260, a Frontside Double Cork 900, a Backside 540, a Frontside 540 Stalefish and an Ally-Oop Backside 540 to finish. It put him in the lead with a score of 95.0, but still left the door open for I-Pod if he could come back and throw his run clean one more time.
So with what had to be at least a mild concussion, I-Pod took his second run and tried to snatch the victory away from Shaun. This time he managed to land everything, but the tricks lacked the same size and style of the first run. He held on though and was awarded a score of 90.0, putting him in third place behind Louie Vito, who also put down a very technical first run. Louie improved on his score with his second run as well, but it still wasn't enough to overcome Shaun's massive method and Double Micky.
When asked about his second run, I-Pod said, "I was just all in. I had nothing to lose. My face was hurting. My nose, I can slowly feel it again, but that first run was like the best run of my life." We're so happy that he wasn't injured more seriously and even more proud that he came back to make the podium. Congratulations to Iouri for a great start to the season and we can't wait for the next contest! You can check out our tumblr blog for more photos from the event and VIDEO of Iouri “I-Pod” Podlachikov 3rd Place Run at Winter Dew Tour.
From left to right: Louie Vito, 2nd. Shaun White, 1st. Iouri Podlachikov, 3rd.