I’ve seen some jaw-dropping halfpipe runs this winter and honestly, I thought they could be flukes. Were they one in a million events, a glimpse into the future, or simply a magical day in the pipe?

The Vans Cup Of Tahoe has reaffirmed that the future is now. Halfpipe has risen to a new level. The progression of snowboarding is taking place in the Superpipe this season. Danny Kass is grabbing back to back 1080′s under full control—over twelve feet out. Andy Finch is spinning as high as Ross Powers’ Olympic monster method. What was considered a very large air a short time ago now pales in comparison.

Many pros may have their sights on a future engagement in Italy, but they surely have plenty of incentive in the here and now. The Vans Cup Of Tahoe men’s first prize purse held twenty thousand dollars, boasted a perfectly constructed half pipe thanks to Frank Wells and Northstar-at-Tahoe’s Chris Gunnarson—and a picture perfect day of cloudless sun in beautiful Lake Tahoe.

The showdown in the super ditch wasn’t surprising but it was every bit exciting. It was the super stylish, hyper-tech runs of Danny Kass versus Andy Finch’s vulgar displays of power—can you say 20 feet and rising? Wow. In the end, Kass’ took first and Andy walked away with second and a fistful of dollars—twelve thousand of them to be exact. And it looks like all that time in the weight room is finally paying off for gym-rat Keir Dillon. Keir earned third with amplitude, style and solidly stomped runs. And his legs weren’t even burning.

The girls were in full attack mode. Hannah Teter shook me with huge McTwist’s, back-to-back rotations, amplitude, and tight style. Young South Lake rider Elena Hight followed in local Jimi Tomer’s footsteps (second place, rail jam) and stole second from a heavy field. And Kjersti Buass? Well, I know it’s her token trick and all, but goddam is that air to fakie at the bottom of the pipe nasty! Dare I say it’s the best in the business?

Results

1. Danny Kass, Vernon, NJ $20,000
2. Andy Finch, Fresno, CA $12,000
3. Keir Dillon, East Stroudsburg, PA $7,000
4. Mason Aguirre, Duluth, MN $3,500
5. Elijah Teter Belmont, VT $2,000

1. Hannah Teter, Belmont, VT $17,000
2. Elena Hight, South Lake Tahoe, NV $8,500
3. Kjersti Buaas, Oestgaard, Trondheim, NOR $3,000

The Vans Cup at Tahoe will air in two parts on Fox Sports Net March 18 and March 25 at 3 pm nationally during the Vans Off the Wall Hour, with subsequent airings on the FUEL action sports network.