Bethel native Simon Dumont scored a fifth-place finish at the FIS Freestyle World Cup/Visa Grand Prix halfpipe event at Copper Mountain, Colo., over the weekend.
The event was the second of five races being used by the U.S. Olympic freeskiing team to select competitors for the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, in February.
Dumont did not compete in the first selection race a week earlier in Breckenridge, Colo., due to injury. He was diagnosed with a concussion after losing a ski during a practice run and hitting his head against the halfpipe.
That leaves the 27-year-old graduate of Telstar Regional High School with three more chances to achieve the selection criteria, which begins with having two top-three finishes against the entire race field. Those Americans with two top-three finishes then will be ranked based on their best two qualifying events compared to other U.S. athletes.
Aaron Blunck, a 17-year-old phenom from Crested Butte, Colo., who finished second at Breckenridge, bested a field of 46 competitors to win the Copper Mountain race.
His winning run featured a rightside double cork 1260, leftside 1080, switch rightside 720, alley-oop flatspin 540 and rightside 1080.
Blunck became the first and so far only American to achieve the minimum selection criteria with his two top-three finishes. With three races left, however, he has not yet clinched an Olympic berth.
The remaining qualifying events are scheduled in January for Breckenridge (an event moved from Northstar California due to a lack of snow), Mammoth Mountain in California and Park City, Utah.
The ski halfpipe is slated to make its Olympic debut this year, as are ski slopestyle and snowboard slopestyle. The U.S. team rosters are slated to be announced in late January with up to four athletes selected in each event.
Stratton’s Tuttle takes 35th
Alex Tuttle of Stratton and Carrabassett Valley Academy finished 35th among 73 starters Saturday at the World Cup snowboardcross stop in Lake Louise, Alberta.
The 23-year-old Tuttle, an aspiring U.S. Olympian, finished seventh among Americans in the race. Alex Deibold of Manchester Center, Vt., was the top U.S. finisher, placing third overall.
Jarryd Hughes of Australia won the Lake Louise men’s final.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott of Carrabassett Valley did not compete in the event.
As many as four snowboardcross racers will be selected in January to represent the United States at the 2014 Winter Olympics.