KILLINGTON, VT – Olympic champion Kelly Clark (West Dover, Vt.) continued her dominance of the sport with a huge win over Gretchen Bleiler (Aspen, Colo.) in the final stop of the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix presented by Sprint at Killington. Michael Goldschmidt (Truckee, Calif.) put down a strong second run to knock off first run leader Elijah Teter (South Lake Tahoe, Calif), who finished third.
With huge crowds lining the pipe and bluebird skies for her win on Saturday, Clark distinguished herself as back-to-back-to-back winner of the overall Grand Prix title, which she says is helping build her momentum for 2010.
“Anytime that you do well in events in a row or even back-to-back years it’s a great feeling, so I am looking forward to carrying this momentum into next season,” Clark said.
Truly a woman who progresses the direction of the sport, Clark landed a run of frontside air, backside five, frontside five, backside air, frontside seven, cab seven, to wow the Vermont home crowd.
“My family is up here and I always love doing well in Vermont. It was really nice that the weather changed. It got a bit softer today and I was able to just let it go a little more,” Clark said. “It’s pretty hard to be progressive in an icy halfpipe, but when it’s slushy like this you get to see a lot of good riding.”
Best Day for Bleiler
For Bleiler, the day was marked down as a success thanks to what she said was some of her best riding this season.
“I am really stoked on my first run today. I felt like I was really letting it go and going bigger than I have all season. I’m psyched on my riding,” Bleiler said. “This pipe was awesome today. Overall it was a successful day.”
Rounding out the women’s podium was 14 year old Madeline Schaffrick (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) who marked her first time in the Grand Prix top three with a straight air, back five, front five, air to fakie, switchback five, cab three.
“I am so pumped I can’t even stand it. I don’t even know how to put it right now, I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Schaffrick said of being on the podium with Olympic medalists Clark and Bleiler.
Goldschmidt Brings it for the Home Crowd
For Goldschmidt, whose air to fakie, cab 10, front nine, backside nine, frontside seven thrust him to his first Grand Prix win, he couldn’t think of a better place to win than his home state of Vermont.
“I’m just so excited. I would rather win here in Vermont than anywhere else. It just feels great,” Goldschmidt said. “This win makes me feel really good. I’ve known that I could put together a run that could get me up there, and it feels great to have it come together and win it.”
Rookie Ladley landed a backside air, front nine, back nine, front 10, cab seven to finish second, but had extra reason to be happy about his place.
“I’m really stoked that Dylan [Bidez; Minturn, Colo.] has to pack my bag because I beat him, so between that and being on the podium, I am really excited,” Ladley joked. “Second place is really cool and I am very happy about it.”
With third place, Teter marked the first podium of his season and said he is looking forward to keeping the momentum as he moves into competition at the Burton US Open.
With a successful close to the 2009 Grand Prix series, the only thing missing on Saturday at Killington was the presence of U.S. Snowboarding’s Louie Vito (Sandy, Utah) and Steve Fisher (Breckenridge, Colo.) who were tied going into the weekend for the lead in the Grand Prix overall standings. Both spent the day in La Molina, Spain, where Vito finished second and Fisher third in a World Cup. Because neither could compete, the tie remains intact and they now share the national title.
The Grand Prix action continues Sunday at Killington Resort with the Paul Mitchell Progression Session.
2009 U.S. SNOWBOARDING GRAND PRIX – PRESENTED BY SPRINT
Killington Resort, VT – March 14, 2009
1. Michael Goldschmidt, Truckee, Calif, 43.40
2. Matt Ladley, Steamboat Springs, Colo, 42.10
3. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, Calif, 40.50
4. Ross Baker, Reno, Nv, 37.00
5. Tyler Troy, Weston, Conn, 32.10
1. Kelly Clark, West Dover, Vt, 45.70
2. Gretchen Bleiler, Aspen, Colo, 35.50
3. Madeline Schaffrick, Steamboat Springs, Colo, 32.10
4. Lizzy Beerman, Stratton, Vt, 29.30
5. Kaitlyn Farrington, Sun Valley, Idaho, 27.60
Complete results/startlists available at www.Live-Timing.com
About Killington Resort
The largest ski and snowboard resort in eastern North America, Killington debuted $8.4 million in improvements for its 50th Birthday Season, including the new Skye Peak Express and “The Stash.” Killington Resort features diverse terrain, an expansive lift network, the most extensive snowmaking system in the world and numerous off-mountain activities, including après, dining, shopping and lodging options. www.Killington.com .