Flat light and snowy conditions set the stage for men's snowboard qualifications at the U.S Sprint Grand Prix at Copper Mountain on Thursday. A massive field of over 120 international riders was whittled down to sixteen throughout three qualification heats.
The contest marked the first major halfpipe event of the 2011-2012 winter season and all of the riders were eager to start the competitive year off with a good showing in qualifiers. Reining Grand Prix champ, Louie Vito, tweeted about his nerves before the comp, but those pre-contest jitters only seemed to help, as he came out on top with a score of 94.4. Following close behind was Scotty Lago, who boosted big hits and stomped stylish tricks throughout both of his qualifying runs. His highest score was a 92.4 which earned him second place. Luke Mitrani was hot on Scotty's heels and scored a 92.2, which placed him in third overall.
Given the level of riding in qualifiers, Saturday's Finals are sure to be even more action-packed as the riders will all be vying for the place on the prestigious Grand Prix podium.
Top 16 Qualifiers:
1. Louie Vito
2. Scotty Lago
3. Luke Mitrani
4. Greg Bretz
5. Ryo Aono
6. Nathan Johnstone
7. Zach Black
8. Taylor Gold
9. Matthew Ladley
10. Kohei Kudo
11. Christian Haller
12. Janne Korpi
13. Aurther Longo
14. Kosuke Hosokawa
15. Benji Farrow
16. Taku Hiraoka
Stay locked to @GrindTVsnow for all the breaking updates from Saturday's finals.
With the Copper Mountain Grand Prix and the Winter Dew Tour in Breckenridge both set to go down in the coming weeks in Summit County, Colorado is officially the place to be for pro skiers and snowboarders.
Because of the huge influx of pro riders this time of year, sponsors often opt to get a team house so that all their athletes can have a nice plush pad to come and crash at while training and competing in these big comps.
The houses can vary year to year, but this season the Nike 6.0 Team is big balling in Breck.
Louie Vito and Reel Theory Productions give us a sneak peak into mega-mansion that team is staying at this year.
Big Pimp'n with Louie Vito in Breckenridge, CO. from Reel Theory Productions on Vimeo.
Want to ball out in style just like the Nike 6.0 Team? With the Nike Chosen Contest, you have that chance. All you have to do is get a crew of 2-4 people, register on the Chosen Facebook site, upload a sick edit of the best shredding/lifestyle your crew is capable of, hype it up to all your friends and Bam! You're already on your way to living the lux life of a Nike Pro. Imagine having your stocking hung next to Louie Vito's and filled with endless Nike goods. Yes, that could happen to YOU.
Get over to Nike's Facebook page for all details on the Chosen Contest.
If someone asked you to pose naked for millions to see, would you do it? If you had a body as rock hard and toned as Louie Vito and Gretchen Bleiler, your answer would most likely be yes.
Today, ESPN: The Magazine released a few tantalizing photos from their latest issue, The Body Issue, which features photos of top athletes sporting everything that their mama gave them, buck naked in their birthday suits. Olympic snowboarders, Gretchen Bleiler and Louie Vito are among the athletes featured and have several shots in the magazine which hits newsstands on October 7th.
In a behind-the-scenes interview during the shoot, Gretchen commented that initially being naked was "nerve-racking" but as the day wore on, she became more and more comfortable.
Gretchen also said, "It's a huge honor to be grouped in with some of the most amazing and skilled athletes in the world. Celebrating Men, women. Every different kind of body, every different kind of sport and showing that everything is beautiful in a very athletic way. I want to be strong and I want to be badass and I think we accomplished that."
We knew Gretchen and Louie were ripped, but their physiques are seriously epic. Who knew the Tiny Dancer was hiding all that under his dancing clothes?!
Head here to check out ESPN's gallery of all the athletes called "Bodies we want."
You can also click the video below to see the behind-the-scenes interview with Gretchen Bleiler.
And that's all she wrote. The first major contest and Burton Global Open Series event is over. Halfpipe finals took over the last day of competition under picturesque skies. A theme that has run throughout the entire event. Not a bad theme to kick off the latest snow season in my book.
The riders graced the 22-foot pipe with style and speed. The ladies saw much of what we've seen at every halfpipe contest the past year -- Kelly Clark dominating and showing exactly why she's the number one female pipe rider around. Fellow Burton teammate, Hannah Teter scored in second, with Spain sensation Queralt Castellet in third.
The guys field was a little bit more tricky. Stacked with Japanese riders, the work was cut out for the rest of the competitors. Iouri Podladtchikov and Louie Vito were chasing down a few Japan riders and ended up in second and third after Ryo Aono claimed the first spot.
For all the details of how it all went down, check out what SNOWBOARDER's Tom Monterosso had to say HERE...he was after all, there.
Top runs below:
As if you needed any more reasons to get your buns up to shred camp at Mt. Hood this summer, Windells just released videos from Session 4 to tempt you even more.
The weather on the glacier has been as good as it gets which enticed tons of pros to get out there and shred under the sunny blue skies.
From Louie Vito and JJ Thomas on the snowboard side of things, to Tanner Hall and Keri Herman on the ski side- Session 4 was all time and filled with mega-bangers.
There's still plenty of fun to be had at Hood, so why don't you pull the trigger and rally up there for Session 5 or 6.
Throughout the ages, there have been many foursomes that have defined sensibilities, innovated trends, and affected generations. In the sixties, The Beatles revolutionized rock music. In the eighties, Dr. Peter Venkham and the other Ghostbusters saved a legion of citizens from getting slimed. Flash forward to 2011, and it's a fair comparison to say that Nick Visconti, Curtis Woodman, Jason Robinson, and Stevie Bell combined their collective radness and gave campers at Windells the best summer snowboard experience they could ever want.
The group may seem, at first, to be an unexpected foursome, but during Session 4, their unique personalities and boarding styles combined seamlessly, creating a powerhouse of fun. From morning to night, the guys were all over the place, harnessing the same energy of a whole cabin of campers. Tons of park laps, hours and hours spent in the Concrete Jungle and BOB, backflip clinics on hill, powerslide contests off hill, Bonfire Pipe 2 Pipe, and the biggest, most intense, game of knock out you have ever seen (Stevie could probably play defense in the NBA). But don't take it from us, here's what the crew had to say.
"Our session involved snowboarders from all types of backgrounds and different styles. No matter what you're into in snowboarding: taipans, tight pants, baggy pants, rails, jumps, backcountry, there's people that are experts are in all of those fields. There really wasn't anything you couldn't learn or get involved with. It made me feel like a kid again." - JRob
"Session 4 was so fun because everybody was friendly, super stoked to be at camp, and had a good time, whether it was on hill or on campus: product tosses, the sickest skate competition I have ever seen in my life, and wonderful dance parties. I had an amazing time hanging out here. I'm exhausted from all the skating, snowboarding and activities. I'm gonna go take a nap for a couple days. - Stevie
"We had a really good group of people. Everyone was down to have a really good time on and off hill and there's always activities to do, rain or shine, whether it is basketball, tetherball, playing pool, or skateboarding. You're moving and doing fun things the whole session. Sleepy Bear needs a nap." - Curtis
"Windells helps me keep my girlish figure and fit into my skinny pants. I can't even eat enough good food fast enough, because I burn off so many calories skating and snowboarding all day. Screw Jenny Craig, I need Windells." - Nick
Session 5 is next and will be filled with even more shredding, skating, and fun!
Snowboard Session 4
Ski Session 4