Ross Powers Wins Vans Championships Pipe

Click here for Quicktime video clip of the finals.

In another dramatic, come-from-behind victory, Ross Powers edged out one of the toughest fields ever at the Vans Championships held at Snow Summit, California. The contest is the second leg of the Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding. While the weather wasn’t as nice as the snowboard cross the day before, the cooler, slightly overcast skies kept the purple superpipe in great shape and enabled the riding to explode to epic levels.

“This was one of the best pipe contests today and the highest level of competition that I’ve seen all year,” said Powers. “When all the Euro guys show up and just kill it it’s great. Shaun White was going off, too, and everyone was just going off and going huge.”

In the best-run-of-three finals, Powers was one of the last of the twelve riders to go. The first rider, Therry Brunner threw down a score of 53 to set the standard for the day. Also going huge on their first runs were Danny Costandache and Xaver Hoffman, who had the highest score after the first run.

But in the second round, Shaun White, who fell on his first, stomped an epic, huge, and technical run and took the lead with a score of 57.2. It was down to everyone’s third run to see how could lay it all out and go for the win.

That’s when Powers stepped it up. “It was a run that I put together in practice,” he said, although he only got one practice run because he was late to the event. “I was just working on putting together big amplitude and doing those Mctwist moves and switch moves for the first time in a contest. It just all worked out. I’m psyched.”

White wasn’t disappointed with his second second place on the Vans Triple Crown series this year. “I’m stoked,” he said. “I just tried to go as big as I could. After my crash on the first run I was just thinking, ‘Do your best and go for it,’ because there was still another run after that.” His second-place combination consisted of a Mctwist, to backside rodeo, to frontside 900 and a frontside ally-oop rodeo.

Gian Simmen, who qualified first in the semis and got to go last in the finals, almost pulled an even more dramatic come-from-behind win than Powers, but he fell just short with a score of 56.1 for a run that included a backside air to frontside 3 indy, to Haakon tail grab, frontside stalefish, backside 5 chicken salad, to backside alley-oop rodeo. “But I sketched a little bit on the last hit because I never do that trick, but I knew I had to do something I’ve never done to get the points,” he said.

Like the other competitors, he pointed out the incredible level achieved at the contest. “It was a super high level,” he said. “The pipe was good and you could go big in it. It’s nice to do the tricks way over the coping. That’s why I think someone invented the superpipe.”

Men’s Halfpipe Results
1. Ross Powers
2. Shaun White
3. Gian Simmen
4. Therry Brunner
5. Xavier Hoffman
6. Danny Costandache
7. JJ Thomas
8. Daniel Kass
9. Chris Nelson
10. Justin Lamoureux
11. Espen Arvesen
12. Adam Petraska
13. Rahm Klampert
14. Norihumi Tsuyusaki
15. Kim Christiansen
16. John Jackson
17. George Oakley
18. Friedl Kolar
19. Martin Cernik
20 Kurt Wastell

Click here for Quicktime video clip of the finals.