PARK CITY, Utah (Dec. 20) – Olympic medalists fell as Keir Dillon (East Stroudsburg, PA) kicked off the Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix superpipe finals from the Red Hot Chili Peppers stage as he invited the crowd of 8,000 plus to the event: then he won. On the women’s side, youngster Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT) carried the highest qualifying score all the way to the top of the podium for her first senior win since winning the Junior World Championships earlier this year. The event will air in primetime on NBC Saturday night (Dec. 21) at 10 p.m. EST.
Olympic gold medalists Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) and Ross Powers (South Londonderry, VT) stood just off the podium in along with 4th and 6th respectively, while ’02 silver medalist Danny Kass (Hamburg, NJ) and bronze medalist J.J. Thomas went 4-5.
The event was one of the biggest in the history of the sport, kicking with the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing to a sellout crowd. The 8,000-plus then migrated up the hill to jam the halfpipe for the two hour superpipe finals.
Rob Kingwill (Jackson Hole, WY) moved up one notch from his third place finish one week ago to finish second for the men, while high school sophomore Patrick Moore (Waterville Valley, NH) shocked everyone nabbing third with some of the biggest airs of the day. Getchen Bleiler (Snowmass Village, CO) finished second with Olympic veteran Tricia Byrnes (Greenwich, CT) rounded out the women’s podium.
“This win was so rad for me,” said Dillon. “I didn’t get to go to the Olympics, so it was sweet to come out here and compete against all of these guys – I usually don’t ride so well in competitions, but something was different about today and I hope it sticks.”
For 15-year-old Teter, the win solidified the trend of youthful halfpipe domination in the women’s ranks as she shared a hug with Clark, 19 in the finish area after her huge second run. Clark told Teter that she was proud of her during the embrace.
“This win is so amazing,” said a tear jerked Teter. “My brother handed me his phone and all I cold hear was my mom screaming, I couldn’t even understand what she was saying. To be able to compete in front of 10,000 people was cool enough, but the $10,000 check is pretty cool too.”
Good friends Bleiler and Byrnes showed why they are the vets on the U.S. team with consistent runs into the finals before stepping it up, throwing big strait airs combined with a mix tech tricks including an inverted rodeo by Bleiler and a pair of sevens by Byrnes.
“I didn’t get it all together in practice,” added Bleiler, “but I was so excited to get it dialed in during my second run. All the girls out here are riding so well, especially all the young ones, so it is a big deal to podium.”
For Kingwill this weekend’s top-3 was just as good as he took his style up a notch in the finals, opening each run with huge Haakon flips. ‘Kinger’ credits his recent success to a new relaxed attitude with his riding saying it’s much easier to “go big” when making the Olympic team isn’t on the line.
In his first Grand Prix final, Waterville’s Moore was stunned that he had even made the final, but when the buzz moved through the crowd that he had took third, his only question was: “Does this mean I get to go to Junior Worlds?”
The Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix wraps up Saturday with the Yahoo! Big Air and Style Jib Jam Exhibition, featuring the Park City All Stars in a rider judged competition. Tonight’s superpipe finals will also be aired Saturday during primetime on NBC (10 p.m. EST, 9 p.m. MST).
CHEVY TRUCKS U.S. SNOWBOARD GRAND PRIX
Park City, Utah – Dec. 20
1. Keir Dillon, East Stroudsburg, PA – 39.00
2. Rob Kingwill, Jackson Hole, WY – 38.50
3. Patrick Moore, Waterville Valley, NH – 37.60
4. Danny Kass, Hamburg, NJ – 37.50
5. J.J. Thomas, Golden, CO – 35.80
1. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT – 42.70
2. Gretchen Bleiler, Snowmass Village, CO – 37.60
3. Tricia Byrnes, Greenwich, CT – 35.90
4. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT – 32.10
5. Nastasha Zurek, Whistler, B.C. – 31.80