All Photos: Nick Hamilton

Captions by Hondo

Kelly Clark wins 2014 Grand Prix women’s pipe at Copper

Part of the Five Stops To Sochi series presented by Mammoth

The women alternated heats with the men during the Grand Prix pipe at Copper, Colorado Saturday night, but it was the veterans, for the most part, who defended the podium. As the second qualifying stop of five for riders hoping make the US Olympic team, the Copper Grand Prix is a crucial event to pick up early points.

Mixing up her run a little from the Dew Tour, Kelly Clark started off with a massive frontside air to huge backside tail grab. Then it was into the tech stuff, starting with a frontside 1080, Cab 720, and ending with an inverted 720. That run scored her a 95.5 for the lead. On her second run she one-upped herself and threw down a frontside air, backside 540, frontside 1080, Cab 720, and a big frontside stalefish earning 98 points and a solid first place.

Kelly_Clark_2014_Copper_Grand_Prix_Thmb

Kelly Clark was boosting. If she keeps it up, we could be looking at our gold medalist…

This Grand Prix is also a World Cup event where international riders are looking to qualify for their Olympic teams. Things can change a lot between now and Sochi, but the contest is a pretty good look at many of the riders who will end up at the 2014 Winter Olympics for pipe. Missing from the start list was one of Kelly’s biggest Olympic threats, Torah Bright, who won the Dew Tour last weekend. Torah also won gold at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and Kelly got bronze. Here’s what Kelly had to say about getting ready for Sochi this time around: “My plan was to really try to get some good results early season so I can just work on my snowboarding. Being a virtual lock for the US team right now, it simplifies things for me. Now I just get to work on my tricks, I don’t have to try to make the team anymore, so I have another month and half of just snowboarding while everyone else is still duking it out. I’m just working on Cab 10s—that’s what I want to add to that run. I’ve been working on Cab 10s this summer and they’re getting there. I’ll be happy to put that inverted seven in there into a Cab 10, that’s my goal. It’d be great you know, I saw men’s snowboarding progress in 2006–back to back 10s was where it was at—and I’d love to be able to carry that forward for the women.”

Another Olympic veteran, Gretchen Bleiler came from behind after her first run to pick up third with her second run. That run went like this: A crippler on her first hit to backside 540, frontside air, method, frontside 720, and a Cab 720.

It was a big night for the Gold family, as Arielle Gold’s brother Taylor won the men’s pipe and she took second for the women. Arielle is actually a rung above Taylor on the US Snowboarding team as one of the Pro Team members. Her first run was good enough to earn a second place finish with a 91.25. It looked like this: A method on the first hit to frontside 900, backside 540, frontside 720, and a Cab 720.

US Olympic Men’s Halfpipe Qualification Standings

Points list

1. Kelly Clark: 2,000

Dew Tour, 1st

Copper, 1st

2. Arielle Gold: 1,400

Dew Tour, 4th

Copper, 2nd

3. Gretchen Bleiler: 1,000

Dew Tour, 6th

Copper, 3rd

4. Kaitlyn Farrington: 950

Dew Tour, 5th

Copper, 5th

5. Elena Hight: 850

Dew Tour, 8th

Copper, 8th

6. Ellery Hollingsworth: 760

Dew Tour, 9th

Copper, 10th

 

Full Results

1. Kelly Clark

2. Arielle Gold

3. Gretchen Bleiler

4. Sophie Rodriguez

5. Kaitlyn Farrington

6. Rana Okada

7. Xuetong Cai

8. Elena Hight

See more coverage from the Five Stops To Sochi series presented by Mammoth here