BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - When South Lake Tahoe's Jamie Anderson landed her final slopestyle jump, the crowd was sure she'd go down.
Instead, hard work from summer training paid off as she sunk low in her thighs and slowly rose out of the jump to carve a turn to the camera crews at the base of the course.
"She's making the statement she's here to battle it out with her good friend Spencer," the announcers said over the loudspeakers.
Anderson's recovery finished up the rest of her stellar run, which judges awarded with a score of 96.00 to put Anderson on top of the podium and make her the recipient of the Dew Cup in women's snowboard slopestyle Friday afternoon.
"I went really big, which the judges like," Anderson said of her final air. She thanked Mother Earth and her back for helping her land the jump.
"I'm definitely glad to be here, though I'm a little upset it's at the expense of the Blue River being drained," she said, referring to questions raised about Breckenridge Ski Resort's early-season snowmaking and its impact to the Upper Blue River. Breckenridge has issued clarifying statements on its Website explaining the need for snowmaking, the intricacies of it and the resort's dedication to the environment.
Anderson's score bumped Canada's Spencer O'Brien into second place with a 90.00, and Finland's Enni Rukajarvi's second run score of 82.75 wasn't enough to catch either of the top contenders.
O'Brien and Anderson each had two Dew Cups to their name, and now Anderson has landed a third.
"Me and Jamie have split the Dew Cup over the years," O'Brien said. "She's a great competitor and she inspires me to do my best runs. I hope I can be the same inspiration to her."
The sun broke through the clouds by early afternoon, with a window just large enough for the snowboarders to execute their runs before full flat light took over.
"It was doing pretty good with the flat light, but it's better (to have the sun out)," Rukajarvi said. She added that she's used to riding under cloudy skies - and even in the dark - so she's not as affected as some other athletes might be by lack of depth in the field.
"I'm just so thankful for Mother Earth providing blue skies for 30 minutes," Anderson added. "it really helped a lot and got all our energy up."
She continued, "I've been training so hard this summer - eating pure, organic food ... I've been to Meta Yoga here in town and have been just trying to connect mind, body and spirit and not be attached to the outcome."