Round about the time of the women’s Superpipe finals, many of the industry heads present at the X-Games had discovered something better than hiking up and standing around in the cold watching their teamriders et cetera ride live: chilling on the couch back at the condo watching the whole event on television. It’s live TV, afterall, so they’re just being smart. Which musta been why I felt a little bit lonely watching the event in person. Just me, a handful of pro bros, and the poor photographers who can’t really get away with shooting pictures of their TV screens if they want to get photos into the mags.
Anyhow, just thought I’d mention that. On to the event itself, which was going on simultaneously with prelims for snow-motoX, much to the delight of the spectators—who got to watch both shows at once. Now, the very first person to come down the halfpipe was the young Elena Hight, who was having an awesome run, that is until she tried to spin 900 at the bottom of the pipe, caught her edge, and did a scorpion the likes of which made everyone who saw it hurt inside. She bit her tongue and incurred a black eye for her troubles, but got up and walked it off on her own two feet. She then went on to pull a sick sick backside 720 the next run.
The strange thing about this women’s finals is that nearly every rider who came down got a higher score than the last—apparently because they were ordered how they placed in qualifers. It doesn’t always work like that, but this time, it did. So it seemed to make perfect sense, then, when Gretchen Bleiler—the last rider of the first run—came down and won it: Crippler off the first hit, frontside five, and a frontside 720 to wind it up.
What was suprising is that Bleiler’s score from that very run maintained the high mark for the rest of the evening. All through the second run, the women tried to outdo Bleiler. Kelly Clark spun a huge frontside 900, but sketched at the bottom of her run. Hannah Teter did large airs, a frontside 540 and 900—but didn’t get inverted. Torah Bright frontside fived and McTwisted (she’s got the best McTwists in the women’s biz, for sure), but still not enough.
Even French heavyweight Dorian Vidal couldn’t beat that score, although she came damn close: frontside 720 into Cab 360, a Haakon-flip 720, and big airs. When you break it down, actually, it’s pretty tough to call which run is gnarlier, Bleiler or Vidal’s. But Gretchen had the momentum behind her and rode like a champ. Plus, she’s from Aspen, and her whole family was there watchin—along with a million screaming fans (okay, maybe not quite that many … ).
1. Gretchen Bleiler 325 Snowmass Village, Colo. 89.00
2. Doriane Vidal 337 Rivesaltes, France 88.00
3. Hannah Teter 336 Belmont, Vt. 86.66
4. Torah Bright 326 Cooma, Australia 84.00
5. Kelly Clark 328 Mount Snow, Vt. 82.66
6. Manuela Pesko 335 Lenzerheider, Switzerland 77.00
7. Lindsey Jacobellis 330 Stratton, Vt. 75.66
8. Elena Hight 329 South Lake Tahoe, Calif. 73.33
9. Junko Asazuma 323 Nagareyama, Chiba, Japan 72.66
10. Mercedes Nicoll 332 Whistler, BC, Canada 70.33