Snowboarding News | Thursday December 15, 2011 | Shared By: Jackie Williams
First Competitive Halfpipe Event of the Season Displays Major Talent
The Sprint U.S. Grand Prix Snowboardcompetition comes to a close with both rookie and regulars taking the podium, marking the start of the 16th season of the competition at Copper Mountain. The event’s athlete roster was a list of who’s who in the snowboard arena, with all the competitors hitting it hard throwing out the best tricks and flips they could to score big.
LADIES FIRST… Placing first in the Ladies Snowboard Halfpipe was regular winner, Kelly Clark, who fell on her first run, but took it away on her second as she laid out a frontside 9, backside 5, frontside 7 tail, cab 7, frontside 5 to a method air. Right behind her was tiger-face-painted rookie Maddy Schaffrick, winning her first competition after over a year off from an injury. Placing third moved Queralt Castellet into second place in the TTR World Rankings.
WOMENS HALFPIPE RESULTS 1. Kelly Clark 2. Maddy Schaffrick 3. Queralt Castellet 4. Kaitlyn Farrington 5. Holly Crawford
MEN’S HALFPIPE RESULTS 1. Luke Mitrani 2. Louie Vito 3. Greg Bretz 4. Ryo Aono 5. Christian Haller
After pulling off a double Michalchuk, frontside 9, backside Indy, frontside 10, cab double-cork 10, Luke Mitrani was still shocked to win the event, “This is crazy because I didn't even snowboard this summer. I just skateboarded a lot and took my mind off snowboarding, so to jump back into it is crazy to win a contest. I'm shocked. My strategy was to just focus on my riding and feed off of other people. When someone does something big it makes me want to ride even harder for myself.”
It was obvious other competitors were hitting the halfpipe with big airs; Louie Vito’s second place win moved him into the TTR Halfpipe World Tour rankings lead. Other highlights include Benji Farrow landing the first 1260 of the day while other riders put down frontside 12s and back-to-back double cork 10s on the bluebird day. Greg Bretz confirms “It was a heavy contest for the first of the year. There were a lot of big tricks thrown down.”
Another important announcement made at the Grand Prix was of the U.S. Snowboarding team who will compete at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
US Grand Prix TV Schedule If you weren’t able to be there in person, watch the entire event including the Paul Mitchell Progression Session on Sunday, December 18th on NBC, or Saturday, December 24th and 31st on Versus.