Vito, Clark Clench Wins at Killington Grand Prix

According to a story posted Sunday, March 16, by US Snowboarding’s official Web site: Salt Lake City Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark (West Dover, VT) and U.S. Snowboarding’s Louie Vito (Columbus, OH) rocked the pipe hard to win the halfpipe competition as well as the overall season titles at the Killington, Vt., stop of the Chevy U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix Sunday, March 16.

Louie Vito's second win of the Grand Prix tour guaranteed him the overall men's title and a new Chevy Avalanche. Louie Vito's second win of the Grand Prix tour guaranteed him the overall men's title and a new Chevy Avalanche.

Vito threw down a sick front 10, cab 10, front 9, back 9, front 7 to seal the deal on the day’s victory as well as a Chevy Avalanche, which is the sweet ride awarded to the overall tour champions.

“I’m stoked on the truck. I got beat out of the tie breaker last year so I guess I had to wait a year but now I have a fresh looking Avalanche and it feels good to get it,” Vito said. “I just wanted to handle it on my first run. I’m happy. It was a good tour and a good season and now I can chill and enjoy the rest of the winter.”

Greg Bretz (Mammoth Lakes, CA), a soon-to-be snowboarding legend in his own right, took second in the event with one crucial element broken – his board.

“In practice I kind of broke my board a little bit. In the first run, I broke it a little more and dropping in on my second run my board was almost broken through to the core,” Bretz said.

Even with the major break, Bretz managed to throw down a hot front 9, back 9, air to fakey, cab 7, front 10 that fired up the crowd.

In the women’s competition, golden girl Clark made her act impossible to follow, blowing it up for her third Grand Prix title with a frontside air, backside 5, frontside 5, backside air, frontside 7.

The women's podium: Second place finisher Ellery Hollingsworth, winner and overall tour champ Kelly Clark, and Clair Bidez in third.

“It’s great. All my family is here watching and supporting me. It’s always nice to do so well when you’re so close to home,” said Clark, who’s win of the Chevy truck last year led her to give her new one away to someone special.

“I’m going to give my truck to my dad because I won one last year. My dad really needs a new car and I think my whole family will be really happy if I give it to him.”

U.S. Snowboarding hot shots Ellery Hollingsworth (Stratton, VT) and Clair Bidez (Minturn, CO) took the second and third-place podiums with ferocious runs that had the ladies hucking big to box out the women’s field.

Hollingsworth put up an air, frontside 7, cab 7, frontside 5, backside 5, frontside air, to make her mark in second.

Foggy conditions postponed Saturday night's event until Sunday.

“It feels good to be doing so well and getting better at each contest,” Hollingsworth said. “I’ve been traveling with Kelly Clark quite a bit in the last month and it just helps a lot riding with her because she rides awesome. It helps me because I’m just riding at her level and trying to get up there.”

Earlier Sunday morning, select athletes participated in the Paul Mitchell Progression Session, which featured a world class slopestyle laid out with two double rail options and a jump line with four jumps, with each one getting progressively bigger.

Janne Korpi won the men’s session and Claudia Fliri of Austria won the women’s session.

U.S. Snowboarding is off to Stratton, VT, to compete in the Burton Open before closing out its season.

“The team absolutely performed so well tonight. It’s been a long week and a long season but we made it through to March,” U.S. Snowboarding Halfpipe Head Coach Mike Jankowski said. “Everyone was able to throw down the run that they were here to throw down and that’s what we come to do everywhere we go.”

The event closed the curtains on a season of epic halfpipe competition at the Chevy U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, but with next year comes a new tour, perfectly seasoned veterans, and a fresh crop of riders to watch.

Killington, VT – March 16, 2008

1. Louie Vito, Columbus, OH, 45.40
2. Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 44.20
3. Peetu Piiroinen, Finland, 43.90

1. Kelly Clark, West Dover, VT, 46.40
2. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT, 43.60
3. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO, 39.90