Finch, Vidal Take Ripzone Pipe

It was a two-man show at the Blackcomb halfpipe during the Ripzone Snowboard Invitational when Keir Dillon and Andy Finch rose above the rest of the 30-man superpipe finals, dualing for the top spot. In the end, Finch edged out Dillon in the same pipe where Dillon blew minds with his gigantic McTwists last year during the World Snowboarding Championships.

This year, the weather probably played a key role in Dillion’s performance, as blowing snow and heavy fog actually made the judges put two different visibility holds during the one-hour pipe jam. It was a far cry from the sunny weather and soft pipe during last year’s event where Dillon put on the breakthrough performance.

However, Dillon and Finch both showed the rest of the finalists what it meant to be a top pipe competitor, and their runs were still mind-blowing.

The jam format allowed each rider to get multiple runs and they definitely took advantage of it. Finch’s first run posted a score of 17.5, which set the tone for the contest. Dillon’s second run was the only one better, with an 18.7, and it took Finch four more tries, with only minutes left in the event, to finally post a score of 18.8, just edging out Dillon for first place. His run was a sick example of spinning flips down the pipe, contrasted by Dillon’s mix of huge straight airs and bigger, less technical spins.

Guy Deschenes mixed a series of flat spins including 7s and 9s to put himself into third place. David Melancon was also going super big and ended up in the top five.

The event also featured a one-hit, superhit contest featuring a winner-take-all $5,000 prize, which went to Mike Michalchuk who had the crowd cheering for his double Michalchuks at the bottom of the pipe.

On the women’s side, it was Doriane Vidal all the way, with the battle really taking place for second place. The 15 girls also had a 45-minute final jam session, which wasn’t as snowy or foggy as the guys’ final, because the girls went first.

But the pipe was super hard and fast compared to the super warm, slushy pipe they had ridden yesterday in the qualifying rounds. But the fast pipe allowed for the girls to go off, and almost all of them were boosting huge airs out of the pipe. Newcomers Amanda Mourant and Sara Kopinya were going huge and will probably be winning pipe contests in years to come.

But the seasoned vets weren’t ready to roll over just yet. Vidal was hoping the pipe was going to be soft, so she could push for some new tricks. “I really want to do a 900,” she said afterwards.

Kim Stacey took second place, much to her own surprise. “I haven’t riden since the Nationals more than two weeks ago, and I wish I had had one more day of training.” And rounding out the top three was Maelle Ricker.