Another snowboard contest, another battle of the elements. This week, the halfpipe qualifiers, at the third Chevy S-10 Grand Prix event of the season at Northstar-at-Tahoe in California, were no different from most of the other events held this season. The weather was challenging to say the least¿going from rain in the morning, to a half an hour of sunshine, to heavy snow, to more sun, and snow. But rising above the elements were perennial favorites Ross Powers and Kim Stacey.

Powers looked great posting a 39.4, edging out a surprising Matt Kass (38.6) and Zach Leach (37.7). With the top five riders prequalifying into the finals, including Rob Kingwill, Tommy Czeshin, and Ricky Bower, and a couple of notables skipping the event (including Todd Richards and all Europeans), the field was wide open for new names to squeak into the finals. Some who took advantage of that included George Oakley, Brian Connoy, Justin Brink, Charlie Morace, and Rahm Klampert.

On the women’s side, Kim Stacey blew away the pack, posting a 35.2, almost a full five points ahead of the rest of the pack. Tricia Byrnes was next with a 30.7. Stacey was looking like she’s ready to take on prequalifiers Shannon Dunn and Natasza Zurek.

The announcers were in rare form during the day, as Snowboarder Magazine’s Mark Sullivan took turns on the mic with Kingwill and Matt Kass. There was plenty to talk about with a halfpipe that was smaller and slower than pretty much everything else seen this season. Also adding to the fodder was the fact that it’s Ross Powers’ twenty-first birthday, and rumored plans are for hitting the strip clubs in Reno to celebrate. We’ll see how he fairs tomorrow.

Of course, with the first two Grand Prix’s won by Kingwill and Dunn, the big question for tomorrow will be whether the two will be able to pull hat tricks and lock up the overall titles for the Chevy S-10 Grand Prix Series that concludes the end of March.

¿John Stouffer, reporting from Northstar.

Women’s Finals Start List
1. Kim Stacey
2. Tricia Byrnes
3. Autumn Rose
4. Amy Johnson
5. Lori Glazier
6. Aurelie Sayers
7. Jaime McCloud
8. Mar Winterscheid
9. Natasza Zurek
10. Shannon Dunn

Men’s Finals Start List1. George Oakley
2. Brian Connoy
3. Justin Brink
4. Alan Traves
5. Seth Wescott
6. Adam Petraska
7. Scott Arnold
8. Luke Omand
9. Guillaume Morisset
10. Rahm Klampert
11. Ben Wainwright
12. Charlie Morace
13. Zach Leach
14. Matt Kass
15. Ross Powers
16. Luke Wynen
17. Mark Reilly
18. Ricky Bower
19. Tommy Czeshin
20. Rob Kingwill