Bleiler, Fisher Take US Grand Prix Halfpipe at Buttermilk

ASPEN, CO (April 6) – The town of Aspen came out of their bindings Sunday as local Gretchen Bleiler stomped the Buttermilk superpipe winning the keys to a brand new Chevy ZR5 from the U.S. Snowboard Finals Powered by Chevy Trucks. Her run of 41.0 points barely bumped 16-year-old pipe slayer Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) by 2.3 points. Tricia Byrnes grabbed the No. 3 spot out of the five women final with 30.9 points throwing together a solid run stuffed with switch tricks.

On the men’s side Steve Fisher (St. Louis Park, MN) eclipsed the competition with a 43.0 point run for the win and his first Grand Prix victory after barely missing the podium in his two previous tries. California bulldog Andy Finch (Fresno, CA) finished second, a full 4.2 points off Fisher, but after a win at Mount Bachelor, Finch was named the men’s national freestyle champion. 2002 Olympian Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, CA) was third with 38.1 points, also posting his first Grand Prix podium on the year.

Action from the U.S. Snowboard Finals Powered by Chevy Trucks will air April 15 at 4:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.

Rolling

“I don’t believe it,” said Bleiler, who marked her eighth straight superpipe victory. “I honestly didn’t expect to win today – seven in a row was amazing and I didn’t think that I was going to be able to do it again. But all my family and friends were here and I guess I was able to put my game face on. It’s truly been an amazing season.”

With a streak that began in January with a win at the June Mountain Continental Cup, Bleiler steamed through the winter wracking up victories at the Mount Bachelor Grand Prix, the X Games, the Vans Triple Crown and the U.S. Open before grabbing the overall Grand Prix title to solidify her spot at the top of every major snowboard event in the country.

Along side her the entire way was Teter, who opened the season like a shot gun, exploding out of the Park City and Breckenridge superpipes for two straight Grand Prix wins. But Bleiler finished No. 2 each time, setting up the main event at the U.S. Finals; the winner driving home the truck.

“It’s was just awesome to ride with Hannah all season because she definitely pushed everyone with her smooth style and big amplitude,” said Bleiler, who’s winning run opened with a monster crippler 540 and ended with a smooth crippler 720. “You talk to people now and they’re like, ‘We love watching women’s halfpipe!’ It’s exciting thing to be involved in the progression.”

Teter, who began driving women’s riding to a new level with her silky 900 joined the inverted revolution laying down a wildcat (back flip, landed switch) in each of her three runs. Kudos on the flip go to Bleiler said Teter.

“We’ve been pushing each other all year and she called me out to do a flip and so I just went out and tried one this morning in practice and I got it,” said Teter, who claimed the junior national freestyle championship sharing the honors her brother Elijah. “It’s been such an amazing season for me and I’m just proud to be a part of all the great riders out there – I certainly didn’t expect to do so well.”

Comeback Kid

After two runs, Fisher stood a solid eight points out of the lead due to crashes in each one, but as snow and sun played ping-pong all day, Fisher battled the pipe working with inconsistent riding conditions. But he only need one run to win in the best of three format and put it all together on his last run boosting the crowd favorite backside 540 along with a couple of stylish inverts.

“It was a big surprise,” said Fisher, who qualified first out of the ten man final. “I was riding so well day and I think the pipe monster jumped up and bit me in my first two runs, but I put it all together and I guess three in the lucky number.”

Storming out of the finish gate, a visually upset Fisher headed to the top of the pipe to focus on his second run.

“Everyone calmed me down and it took my mind off riding,” said the ’03 World Championship onze medalist. “My entire team was at the top and I just listened to them – they said that could put it together and that’s exactly what I did. I’ve been so close to the podium so many times on the Grand Prix circuit and I finally pulled it out.”

For Finch, injury has been the drive. Two weeks ago Finch suffered a major crash in a competition from Sweden.

“I was in intensive care for 12 hours after catching a head wind off a jump and landing like I was diving into a pool. I sprained by back and bruised my lungs but the guy upstairs is watching out for me that’s for sure and maybe having all these injuries helps me take my mind off riding.”

Nicknamed ‘The Bulldog,’ Finch has been battling injuries all year, yet remains one of the best riders in the world and proved that he was the best in the country with a run that include some huge straight airs, smooth rotations and his ever present inverted arsenal for the national crown.

Following the competition, athletes and spectators alike were entertained as 80’s punk rock band The Vandals stocked the Aspen crowd in a snowboarding style ending to a successful Grand Prix season.

Men
1 Steven FISHER, USA 30.7 43 500
2 Andy FINCH, USA 34.3 38.8 400
3 Tommy CZESCHIN, USA 5.8 30.5 38.1
4 Christop NELSON, USA 8.1 34.6 37.6
5 Elijah TETER, USA 8.2 34.6 36.5
6 Rick BOWER, USA 32.4 35.8 200
7 Tyler EMOND, USA 6.1 28.3 35.1
8 Alex DEIBOLD, USA 7 31.1 34.2
9 Grant GLENN, USA 17.5 29.8 145
10 KOSKI, CARRIGAN USA 23 23 130
11 Mic GOLDSCHMIDT, USA 5.1 19 29.8
12 Louie VITO, USA 23.7 29.3 110
13 Eric SEIDLER, USA 2.8 20.1 28.3
14 Aaron WOODARD, USA 26.9 28 90
15 Gavin HILL, USA 6.8 27.4 27.9
16 Jared HENDRICKS, USA 3.9 26.2 26.2
17 Yancy CALDWELL, USA 5.4 25 25
18 Teddy KARLINSKI, USA 6.1 23.8 24.9
19 Jesse CSINCSAK, USA 6.3 24.7 24.7
20 Seth WESCOTT, USA 24.4 55
21 Matthew NERDAHL, USA 6.3 23.4 24.3
22 Jake SULLIVAN, USA 6.8 24.1 24.1
23 Garret GIBLIN, USA 4.7 22.3 24.1
24 Michae WILLIAMS, AUS 18.3 23.7 35
25 Matthew FORTUNA, USA 6 23.4 23.6
26 Spencer TAMBLYN, USA 5 21.8 21.8
27 Rob KINGWILL, USA 20.6 22.5
28 John FOY, USA 20.6 20.6 20
29 Kevin SCHUTZ, USA 4.7 15.9 20
30 Erik TERAMOTO, USA 19.3 19.3 16
31 David KUNZ, USA 4.8 16.4 19.1
32 Jayson HALE, USA 19 19 13
33 Evan QUINN, USA 18.5 18.5 12
34 Ari GIOVENCO, USA 17.1 18.4 11
35 Bobby FLANIGAN, USA 17.5 18.3 10
36 Jin Bae HAN, KOR 18.1 18.1 9.85
37 Wade WILLIAMS, USA 10.8 17.7 9.7
38 Ben JACOBELLIS, USA 17.7 17.7 9.55
39 Davis JOHNSON, USA 17.3 17.3 9.4
40 Jake BLACK, USA 17.2 17.2 9.25
41 Dan LONGO, USA 14.7 16.7 9.1
42 Matt JOHNSON, USA 13.8 16.1 8.95
43 Edward SAWICZ, USA 4.4 13.9 13.9
44 Fraser DONALD, USA 9.9 13.8 8.65
45 Spenc CORDOVANO, USA 12.3 13.8 8.5
46 Andy WEAVER, USA 12.8 12.8 8.35
47 Jeremy BLACK, USA 12.4 12.4 8.2
48 Trevor BROWN, USA 11.3 8.05
49 Ryan MCCARTHY, USA 3.1 9.1 9.1
50 Herbert SCHULZE, USA 5.4 7.75

Women
1 Gretchen BLEILER, USA 8.6 41 41
2 Hannah TETER, USA 8 38.7 38.7
3 Tricia BYRNES, USA 7.8 30.9 30.9
4 Lind JACOBELLIS, USA 20 29.8 225
5 Leslie GLENN, USA 5.2 22.2 22.2
6 Elena HIGHT, USA 24 28.5 180
7 KOSKI, CARRIGAN USA 5.7 25.2 26.6
8 Chanell SLADICS, USA 24.1 24.1 144
9 Caroline GRAEFF, FRA 20.6 22.8 130.5
10 Natalie SAWYER, CAN 18.8 19.9 117
11 Tiffan MARSHALL, USA 19.2 19.2 108
12 Avery MACKENZIE, USA 4.2 19.2 19.2
13 Kristen FAGAN, USA 17.3 18.7 90
14 Kelsey BUNCE, USA 18.6 18.6 81
15 Robin WISH, USA 18.6 18.6 72
16 Gemma HOLMES, GBR 16.2 18.2 67.5
17 Clair BIDEZ, USA 17.4 17.9 63
18 Eliza GREENE, USA 3.2 16.4 16.7
19 Scarle CALDWELL, USA 16.2 16.2 54
20 Brittany GILMAN, USA 13.7 15.6 49.5
21 Michelle WILSON, USA 14.4 14.4 45
22 Tamara NOVOTNEY, USA 12.9 40.5
23 Elizab SHANKLIN, USA 12.7 12.7 36
KLIN, USA 12.7 12.7 36