Shaun White doesn’t win every contest he enters, contrary to a popular assumption. And he did not win Friday afternoon’s slopestyle competition at Northstar-at-Tahoe resort.
But even by finishing second to Norway’s Torstein Horgmo, White emerged as the biggest winner.
That’s because his second-place score, posted on the first of two runs on the slopestyle course, was high enough for the Carlsbad snowboarder to clinch the Dew Cup series points race.
“I came out with the goal to win the Cup. That was my only goal,” White said afterward, while signing autographs at the bottom of the course. “If I’d set out to win all three competitions, I’d have done my best to nail all three. But for me this was a total success.”
It’s another of many milestones for White, 22, the reigning X Games slopestyle champion and among many snowboarders and freeskiers competing in various disciplines during the inaugural Winter Dew Tour. (The summer version of the tour is four years old.)
The Toyota Championship, running through Sunday at Northstar, is the Winter Dew Tour’s third and final jewel. Dew Cups, each worth $25,000, are the equivalent of series championship trophies.
White, who clinched with two runner-up finishes and a triumph in slopestyle and who also leads the superpipe points race, became the second athlete to claim a Dew Cup.
The first was South Lake Tahoe’s Jamie Anderson, 18, who earlier Friday won the women’s snowboard slopestyle competition, despite a broken pelvis.
“I was a little bit sore, which my doctor said I’d be,” said Anderson, who suffered the injury five weeks ago in Europe. “But it’s a pretty strong bone.”
Slopestyle involves snowboarding or skiing downhill on a course lined with rails, boxes and jumps. Athletes perform tricks and are judged for style, difficulty and amplitude. Only their top score counts.
Horgmo, 22, one of four Norwegians in the 12-rider final, had a first run that included -- aside from the rail slides and spins -- a frontside 1080 with an Indy grab, a backside 900 and a switch backside 1260.
Judges awarded the run a 93.50.
White’s first run, which included a switch-frontside 1080, a switch-backside 900 and frontside 1080, earned an 89.67.
Truckee’s Chas Guldemond was third with an 88.00, also on his first run. Neither rider was able to better his score on his second run.
It was the second triumph by Horgmo over White at a Winter Dew Tour event, but because Horgmo also has a seventh-place finish, he was in third place going into Friday’s final and needed White to finish lower to claim the Dew Cup.
Asked what it felt like to defeat White again, Horgmo replied, “It felt good to land my first run. I didn’t think about taking anybody down. I’m not really here to beat anybody, but myself maybe.
“So if my score was higher than his during that run, maybe that run was better. But I don’t feel I’m better than him.”