Yuki Tsubota was hoping for a better result in Dew Tour action in Breckenridge, Colo. over the weekend.
The 22-year-old slopestyle skier posted a sixth-place finish to start the campaign, notching a score of 112.99 in the Dec. 9 and 10 competition. The format was different this year, with a jump final on Day 1 and a rail final on Day 2.
Kelly Sildaru, just 14, took the win with a combined score of 159.33. The Estonian was joined on the podium by Maggie Voisin and Canadian Kaya Turski.
Tsubota said the contest was one where some of the rules were changed out of necessity, while some of the previously established ones provided a bit of a twist on the traditional format.
"Breckenridge ended up not having enough snow so they were only able to create one jump. We hit that four times and then they took our best two scores," she said. "Each trick that counted had to be a different direction of spin.
"If you did a forward-left spin your first run, you couldn't do a forward-left spin (next time) so you had to do a forward-right or a switch... It was a little bit different, but I was happy with how I jumped."
It was on the rails, however, where Tsubota would have liked to have performed better.
"I had a really tough week on the rails section. I just couldn't link up anything. I couldn't really do much on it," she said.
And for as little snow as the resort had received in advance of Dew Tour, Mother Nature seemed determined to catch up when competition opened.
"The week of the contest, it wouldn't stop snowing," she said. "We got a foot of snow the night before the contest."
Tsubota will return home to start preparing for World Cup action beginning next month knowing it's a big season for her and her teammates.
"We've got a pretty jam-packed season," she said. "Olympic selections start this year, so it's getting serious."
Tsubota got some time on snow in Australia in August to get some new tricks together, and then took two weeks each in Switzerland and Austria to prepare for Dew Tour. Still, she felt like she struck the right balance of amping up while embracing the hotter months.
"Actually, it was nice. I got to enjoy my summer here. We didn't have too much training," she said. "It felt like I was able to enjoy summer at home but at the same time, I was able to get lots of things done."
On the men's side, Alex Beaulieu-Marchand rocketed up the standings to third after sitting in ninth at the halfway point. Fellow Canucks Evan McEachran and Alex Bellemare ended up in seventh and 15th, respectively.
The Canadian snowboarders impressed in Colorado. The men swept the podium, with Mark McMorris taking the win over Quebec competitors Max Parrot and Sebastian Toutant. Spencer O'Brien took third on the women's side in a compressed competition with only a rail section as the jump portion was cancelled because of inclement weather.
Tyler Nicholson and Mikey Ciccarelli were fifth and sixth, respectively, while Whistler resident Darcy Sharpe took 10th. Sharpe also won the Streetstyle competition for the fourth year in a row while teaming with McMorris and Norwegian boarder Terje Haksonen to lift Team Burton to the win in the Team Challenge.