Grand Prix & Progress Sess Recap
Here's a recap from the U.S. Grand Prix at Copper Mountain. Check out the winners of the longest-standing and celebrated tour in action sports history, the 16th Annual U.S. Sprint Grand Prix & a time lapse video of the Paul Mitchell Progression Session with event highlights.
on December 14, 2011
This past week wraps up the 16th Visa U.S. Grand Prix and man was it a super-sweet competition. All the pros stopped in early to hit up Copper’s supreme 22’ U-Tube. For this being the first competition of the season, Greg Bretz (with a score of 94.2 which landed him in third) described it best — INTENSE. What other word would explain a halfpipe snowboarding contest where the top six spots scored a 90 or better? Oh wait, maybe RIDCULOUS.
Out of the men’s and women’s Sprint U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix, Luke Mitrani's and Olympic champion, Kelly Clark, took home the big checks...literally. Ten fat G’s to the top two winners, not to mention bragging rights and total confidence going into the competition season.
"It's crazy, because I actually didn't even snowboard once this summer. I just skateboarded a lot, and it took my mind off of snowboarding. To jump back into it, it's pretty crazy to win a contest. I'm shocked," says Mitrani's. Mitrani’s first run of double Michalchuk, frontside 9, backside indy, front 10, cab double 10 gave him winning score of 96.4. Louie Vito covered head-to-toe in Red Bull gear took second, and Greg Bretz gave the best third-place run we’ll ever see in competition. Watch the men’s and women's top three final runs here!
Only eight spots were up for grabs from the close 50 women that came out for a chance in the finals. At the end of the day, there was a clear champ from the women’s U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix final. The 28-year-old from West Dover, Vermont, Ms. Clark stole the show. Clark boosted so insanely high out of the pipe that it even made spectators nervous. She snatched up the win with a 6-point lead from second place. Spunky Maddy Schaffrick was excited for a spot on the podium as she held onto second place from Queralt Castellet Spain scoring an 84.80. The 17-year-old local from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, had a little extra ferociousness at the Grand Prix. Schaffrick’s orange and black whiskers on her face might have given her some extra enuff for an early season start.
But the U.S. Grand Prix isn’t all snowboarding. This year marks the second Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix. Copper’s Grand Prix was recently upgraded to a platinum FIS World Cup event and AFP 5Star (Association of Freeskiing Professionals) competition. U.S. Grand Prix was also the first international competition since the acceptance of halfpipe skiing into the 2014 Olympics at Sochi, Russia.
Brita Sigourney won the first women’s Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix halfpipe stop of the 2011-12 tour with a run that went 5, straight air, 9, alley-oop, straight-air, an alley-oop 5, 7 to switch. Most people would be satisfied if they landed one of those tricks in their lifetime. No big for Sigourney. She spins more than most Summit County DJ’s.
"It's such a relief to start the season with a win - it was a surprise! I always put so much pressure on myself and it’s just so nice to get the first competition out of the way and start the season out really nice. I try not to put any expectation on myself - I don't ski well under pressure. I'm always out just to have a good time and if I win, that's a good plus. I'm super stoked to progress and keep the season going really strong." - Brita Sigourney
Rosalind Groenewoud from the Old Country, aka Canada, gave an awesome run with a 81.40. Not too bad, Eh? And Virginie Faivre of Switzerland scored 77.40 to round-off the top 3 finishers of the women’s freeskiing results.
Wing Tai Barrymore was at the top of the podium of the men’s Visa U.S. Freeskiing Grand Prix halfpipe with an 87.20. The “I-have-jeans-older-than-you” Torin Yater-Wallace of Snowmass, Colorado, came in second with an 84.60, and local favorite Duncan Adams came in a close third with an 83.80.
“"This is only the beginning of the season and to start it with a win is just awesome. I'm just stoked. The pipe was unbelievable. It was a beautiful day...just unbelievable."” - Wing Tai Barrymore
Thank goodness for the invention of the double cork. Judges must have been super-excited pros chose that route instead of adding spins. But what’s next? Triple corks?
"It's wild, man. The contest scene each year just progresses more and more. Since the last Olympics, everyone's just getting better and better, more and more consistent with the double corks. I'm scared; I'm scared for next year. I need to quit now." - Mitrani
Here's a awesome time lapse of the Paul Mitchell Progression Session being built and recap of the top 3 men's & Women's finals :