SNOWBASIN -- The championships of the 2011 Winter Dew Tour got under way Thursday as the final athletes worked their way into today's preliminary rounds by shredding a bigger, badder halfpipe and slopestyle course.
For the first time in its three-year history, the Dew Tour offered a last-chance qualification opportunity to athletes who were on the bubble coming into the Toyota Championship at Snowbasin, and 20 male competitors took advantage.
Thursday's top five skiers and snowboarders in both superpipe and slopestyle disciplines advanced to today's prelims, where they will vie for a chance to keep competing into the weekend and improve their tour rankings.
Teenagers dominated both freeskiing events. Utah native and Park City resident Joss Christensen took the top spot in freeski slopestyle, riding his first run to victory with a judges' score just above 83 out of a possible 100.
The 19-year-old Christensen was the only Utahn to advance from the last-chance round. Ben Moxham of Boise and Sweden's Kim Boberg rounded out the podium.
In freeski superpipe, 18-year-old Benoit Valentin of France scored above 90 on both of his runs to outclass the competition.
"I felt very good about today," Valentin said. "I hope I can do it again tomorrow."
Patrick Baskins of Vail and Switzerland's Nils Lauper took second and third, respectively.
On the snowboarding side, Ryo Aoki of Japan was the only competitor to score above 90 in the superpipe. One of the only guys to throw down a 1080, Aoki stole the show with a winning score of 91.75.
Nils Mindnich of Stowe, Vt., captured second place, and Bryan Daino of East Setauket, N.Y., rounded out the podium in third.
In snowboard slopestyle, Michigan's Eric Beauchemin beat out the nearest competitor by seven points. He was followed by Alexander Rodway of Maine and Jake Black of Breckenridge, Colo.
Thursday's events were male-only because all of the women who qualified for last-chance status automatically advanced to the prelims.
The competition heats up today, with both men and women vying in all four events for a chance to compete in the finals over the weekend.