PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 6) – U.S. snowboarders used the “home pipe” advantage and blew away the rest of the field in Saturday’s World Cup halfpipe competition in Park City, Utah. Olympic medalist Ross Powers (S. Londonderry, VT) led a 1-2-3 U.S. sweep of the men’s podium with Tommy Czeschin (Crowley Lake, CA) and hometown favorite and reigning World champion Ricky Bower (Park City, UT) finishing second and third respectively. World Cup leader Tricia Byrnes (New Canaan, CT) was the women’s winner with World champion Kim Stacey (Stratton Mtn., VT) finishing second.
On the men’s side, the U.S. had six riders finishing in the top-10 after qualification, with Powers, Czeschin, Bower, and Zach Horwitz (Carbondale, CO) filling four of the five spots in the Super Finals. For the women, three U.S. riders were in the top-10, with Byrnes and Stacey moving on to the three-woman Super Finals.
Powers went huge in the Super Finals, finishing with a score of 47.3. The battle for second came down to the wire, with Czeschin (44.7) edging out Bower (44.4) by .3 points.
“This was a great competition,” said Powers in the finish area. “Everyone was riding really well in the Super Finals and it was great to do well personally and to see all of my teammates doing such a great job out here today.”
Bower, who earlier this season captured the FIS Snowboard World Championships gold medal, overcame early morning jitters to put down two excellent runs in the Super Finals.
“I was actually a little nervous this morning,” said Bower as he was surrounded by friends and family in the finish area. “I had butterflies in my stomach right up until the competition. I’m ecstatic about today’s finish, and it really gives me a lot of confidence going into the final part of the season.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve had three Americans on the podium. Everyone was going huge in the Super Finals and pulling out their best tricks.”
Byrnes widened her lead in the season long World Cup standings with her finish Saturday. Her score of 41.7 put her ahead of Stacey at 40.8 and Germany’s Sabine Wehr-Hasler at 36.7.
“I felt really good today,” Byrnes said. “I was psyched about my first run since I was able to pull together one of the best runs I’ve done in a long time. It always feels good to ride your best.”
The three-day competition, the first snowboard World Cup ever held in Utah, gave riders a chance to test out the venues that will be used during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. Competition concludes on Sunday with men’s and women’s GS races at Park City Mountain Resort’s Eagle Race Arena.
FIS Snowboard World Cup
Park City, UT – Feb. 6
1. Ross Powers, S. Londonderry, VT, 47.3
2. Tommy Czeschin, Crowley Lake, CA, 44.7
3. Ricky Bower, Park City, UT, 44.4
4. Fredrik Sterner, SWE, 42.7
5. Zach Horwitz, Carbondale, CO, 41.5
1. Tricia Byrnes, New Canaan, CT, 41.7
2. Kim Stacey, Stratton Mtn., VT, 40.8
3. Sabine Wehr-Hasler, GER, 36.7
4. Anna Hellman, SWE, 31.7
5. Doriane Vidal, FRA, 22.0