“I saw her check ever so slightly and I was like make it big and you might have a chance. She must have fallen in her landing, she threw it kind of sideways and the crowd was cheering and then they waited a few minutes to call it. I came through and I had no idea who had it,” said Zell after crossing the finish line and hearing she’d won. Minutes later officials reversed the ruling and Canadian rider Mayumi Fukuda was handed the first place title and $10,000 U.S.
“The course was made for me. That was my course,” said a smiling Fukuda. “I wouldn’t have cared if I had been first or second. It was a really fun race.”
In the men’s division a number of competitors who were in town for the halfpipe had a go at the BoarderCross and made the cut for the finals. Most notably halfpipers like Seth Wescott, who was Thursday’s first place BoarderCross qualifier and Ross Powers. Unfortunately Wescott sketched in the semi-finals, as did Ross Power’s, knocking both of them into the consolation round. In the men’s finals an unknown rider from Bend Oregon named Adam Smith sat close on the tail of Canadian BoarderCross competitor Drew Neilson. Close behind the top two was another Canadian, Ben Wainwright and BoarderCross veteran Jason Brown followed up with a disappointing fourth.
“I was a little nervous being up against all of these big guys. They do this all year and I have never done a BoarderCross before,” said Adam Smith. When asked what he was going to do with the $5,000 he made for second place he said with a laugh, “Give it back to Dad.”
Friday’s BoarderCross course, designed by Pat Mullendowsky from Bend, Oregon, was definitely built more for freestyle soft booters. Most all the Alpiners were knocked out early on in the competition. The FIS BoarderCross format was a little different than most BoarderCross competitions with heats of four instead of six on the course. The four-man heats seemed to run much quicker and by noon the competition finished just in time for the one o’clock halfpipe practice.
Tonight the Grand Prix will continue with a big air contest that has lured in riders like Ben Hinkley, Jason Borgstede and Chad Otterstrom. Tomorrow the Grand Prix will continue with the halfpipe qualifiers and then on Sunday the superfinals will give one male and one female rider a chance to go home $10,000 richer.