“Did you notice we’re wearing the same bib numbers – the same number as Michael Jordan?” said Todd Richards (Breckenridge, Colo.) of he and Shannon Dunn (Midvale, Utah), the winners of the halfpipe finals at the $75,000 Bud Light U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix presented by Chevy S-10 Trucks in Snowmass, Colo. Sunday.
The start number may have been some good karma, but Richards managed to perform near-flawless runs throughout both the morning’s qualifying round and the head-to-head knockout format in the finals for the victory. Sixteen men made the finals while eight women advanced to the finals at the inaugural Grand Prix.
Richards knocked out Frank Wells (Breckenridge, Colo.) for the victory, while Dunn defeated Cara-Beth Burnside (Orange, Calif.) in the women’s finals. The Grand Prix was created to help bring together U.S. riders from the International Snowboard Federation and FIS Grundig World Cup tours as part of the selection process for the U.S. team which will compete in the 1998 Winter Games when snowboarding makes its Olympic debut.
Richards beat Ross Powers (S. Londonderry, Vt.), the winner of the men’s halfpipe at the first Grand Prix event in Sugarloaf, Maine, Dec. 21, in one of the head-to-head rounds of competition. Powers finished fifth. “Ross had a really great run, and I knew that to beat him I’d have to go bananas,” said Richards. “Being at home for the victory is rad.”
“I’m just having a lot of fun riding the halfpipe and trying new stuff,” said Dunn. “It’s really fun to be in Colorado, because I’m originally from Steamboat – I’m in home territory.”
In the battles for third place, Rob Kingwill (Jackson, Wyo.) edged Erik Leines (Sandy, Utah), with Barrett Christy (Vail, Colo.) beating Jennie Waara of Sweden.
Halfpipe Finals (Knockout format for finals)
1. Todd Richards, Breckenridge, Colo. ($6,000)
2. Frank Wells, Breckenridge, Colo. ($4,500)
3. Rob Kingwill, Jackson, Wyo. ($3,500)
4. Erik Leines, Sandy, Utah ($2,500)
5. Ross Powers, S. Londonderry, Vt. ($1,500)
6. Jimi Scott, Carlsbad, Calif. ($1,250)
7. Lael Gregory, Bend, Ore. ($1,000)
8. Ari Goulet, Avon, Colo. ($750)
1. Shannon Dunn, Midvale, Utah ($6,000)
2. Cara-Beth Burnside, Orange, Calif. ($4,500)
3. Barrett Christy, Vail, Colo. ($3,500)
4. Jennie Waara, Sweden ($2,500)
5. Kyla Duffy, Rutland, Vt.
6. Griselda Gonzalez, Saratoga, Calif.
7. Tara Zwink, Truckee, Calif.
8. Tricia Byrnes, Burlington, Vt.