The second stop of the Winter Dew Tour is right around the corner. Killington Mountain in Vermont will host this event for the first time on January 20-23. Alli Sports has just announced the official schedule of competitions and parties, so get familiar with what's going on.
This East Coast stop is sure to be a showdown so keep it locked on GrindTV.com for all the upcoming action.
Forty-two of the world's best halfpipe riders awoke this morning to sunny, cloudless skies in Breckenridge, Colorado. They suited up in their best gear and set out with their freshly waxed boards to compete in the superpipe prelims at the first stop of the Winter Dew Tour. When they reached the mountain they were welcomed by the sight of the immaculate 22' pipe located in the middle of Peak 8.
The pipe was the place for all the action and within it's walls held the fate of the anxious riders. Nerves may have been an issue for some, but others were uneaffected by these feelings and destroyed the pipe landing some of the most progressive runs of the season. Out of the forty-two competitors, only five women and ten men were chosen to advance to Saturday's final event.
The women kicked things off promptly at 10 am under bright blue skies. Seventeen ladies took to the pipe and laid it all on the line in their two qualifying runs. Kelly Clark was the lady of the day scoring a 94.5 on her first run. This score was only to be outdone by her second score of 97. Clark's amplitude was unmatched by any of the other riders and her technical back nines helped her score a whopping ten points higher than any of the other ladies.
This large gap in points was due to the fact that many of the top riders were having an off-day and simply could not land their runs. Olympic gold medalist Hannah Teter bobbled in her first run and had a pretty scary fall in her second, eliminating her chances of advancing. Burton rider, Ellery Hollingsworth was also slated to do well, but was unfortunately unable to land her tricks solidly.
Elena Hight also fell in her first run, but held it together for her second and scored an 87, landing her in second place. Spanish rider, Queralt Castellet, was riding strong all day and qualified in 3rd place. Rounding out the top three was Japan's Soko Yamaoka, and Sophie Rodriguez. Joining these five ladies for the finals is Kaitlyn Farrington who is last year's reigning Dew Tour champ.
Immediately following the ladies contest, spectators turned their attention to the twenty-five men who were more than ready to ride. The international field was slacked with Olympians, X Games medalists, and prior Dew Tour champs.
Greg Bretz out of Mammoth Lakes, CA destroyed the pipe and was dropping hammers all the way through. His double-cork 1080s looked effortless and he stomped them cleanly in both runs. His first run earned him a solid 92, which was only outdone by his second score of 94.5. It was clear that Bretz was fired up from his unimpressive showing at last week's Grand Prix and he was determined to do well at Dew. Hopefully he can keep this momentum going into Saturday's finals.
Following Bretz was fellow Olympian Scotty Lago who scored an 85.5 in his first run. Lago chose not to take his second run in order to save energy for slopestyle preliminaries which are taking place later today.
Some of the men experienced similar fate as the women and were unable to execute their desired runs. Louie Vito fell in his first run and experienced what he called, "the sketchiest run of the season" in his second. The run may have been a bit sketch, but it earned him a 53.25 which put him in the 10th place 'bubble spot'.
Vito waited with baited breath as five guys dropped after him each trying to score higher than the 'Tiny Dancer'. Four out of those five guys fell, but not the fifth and last to drop. Jack Mitrani laid down an absolutely stellar run that was smooth and filled with amplitude, style, and the largest straight air of the day. Apparently the judges were watching a different contest because they scored Jack super low and only gave him 48.25 for his efforts. In essence, Jack got jacked by the judges, which allowed Vito to eek his way through to the finals.
The men's preliminary round was action packed and produced the top ten riders who will advance to Saturday's finals. On saturday the men will meet with JJ Thomas and Steven Fisher for the ultimate superpipe showdown.
Today's prelims were only a taste of intensity that is sure is to go down on Saturday, so check back for more updates from the Dew Tour coming soon!
Women's Results: Top five advance to finals
Men's Results: Top ten advance to finals
It must be pretty difficult being strapped in at the top of the drop-in of an icy, slow halfpipe as loads of snow fall from the sky - blanketing the trees and peaks around you. While you should be imagining your run and hits, you're getting the itch to just dip out and take some tree runs - pretty much a shit situation to be in. However, the competitors at the Copper Grand Prix sucked it up, laid it out, and got it done at the first U.S contest of the season. Louie Vito, Luke Mitrani, & Scotty Lago being the top dogs for men's halfpipe while Kaitlyn Farrington, Kelly Clark, & Rana Okada took the top three spots for the ladies. SNOWBOARDER and Hana Beaman got a hold of the winners for a hot second and asked them about the conditions and how they felt about the contest. - Lindsay Fraka
Watch full video here...
The Frends crew is amping up their Twitter game and is taking "Follow Friday" to a whole new level. In this Frendsvision clip you get to actually follow @ScottyLago through in the halfpipe at the Copper Grand Prix. Follow Friday doesn't get any more extreme than this.
You can follow us also! @GrindTVsnow
GrindTV Newswire via: Copper Mountain, CO (Dec. 9) - Halfpipe athletes from around the globe were right back at home Thursday as they dropped into the qualification rounds of the Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix at Copper Mountain in Colorado. And none other than Olympic gold and bronze medalist Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, VT) was back in top form, taking the top qualification spot for the ladies.
"I qualified first for finals, which is always a great way to start the year. I'm really looking forward to Saturday, there's a lot of great riding out there and I feel like it's going to be a good event," Clark said.
The hafpipe was full of energy as the sport makes its return to competition for a new winter season following an incredible Olympic year. Clark was the leader for three of her U.S. teammates, including Kaitlyn Farrington (Sun Valley, ID) who had a breakthrough string of events to bump up to the Pro Team, and Ellery Hollingsworth (Stratton Mountain, VT), who's no stranger herself to the Grand Prix podium.
The pipe was really good today better than it has been and it was good to get out there and do the best quail of the season everyone was ripping," Hollingsworth said.
Norway's Torre-V. Holvik took the men's first spot, followed by Luke Mitrani (Mammoth, CA) in the second spot. Colorado's own Broc Waring (Edwards, CO) had a killer performance against a tough field to come in the third qualification spot.
"I'm pumped. I've been riding well and it's so good to land a solid run," Waring said. "It gives me some extra confidence beginning the competition year like this. It's the right way to kick it off and hopefully I can bring in the same thing in the finals."
The snowboarding continues Saturday with men's and women's finals at 11:30 a.m.
2011 Visa U.S. Halfpipe Grand Prix
Copper Mountain, CO - Dec. 9,
2010 Snowboard Qualifications
1. Tore-V. Holvik, Norway, 26.90
2. Luke Mitrani, Mammoth, CA, 26.80
3. Broc Waring, Edwards, CO, 26.70
4. Greg Bretz, Mammoth, CA, 26.40
5. Brett Esser, Breckenridge, CO, 26.20
6. Louie Vito, Sandy, UT, 25.60
7. Zack Black, Breckenridge, CO, 25.30
8. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH, 25.00
9. Kohei Kudo, Japan, 24.90 10. Kosuke Hosokawa, Japan, 24.60
11. Nathan Johnstone, Australia, 24.40
12. Ben Farrow, Mount Holly, VT, 24.30
13. JJ Thomas, Golden, CO, 23.90
14. Kazuumi Fujita, Japan, 23.50
15. Matt Ladley, Steamboat Springs, CO, 23.30
16. Spencer Shaw, Stratton, VT, 23.20
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 27.90
2. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, ID, 26.20
3. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton Mountain, VT, 25.70
4. Queralt Castellet, Spain, 25.30
5. Soko Yamaoka, Japan, 24.40
6. Rana Okada, Japan, 24.30
7. Holly Crawford, Australia, 23.90
8. Sarah Conrad, Canada, 23.60