Day 1: Mt. Bachelor Grand Prix

(February 3, 2007) Wow, this time last year the Grand Prix was in Mountain Creek, New Jersey and things could not have been more intense. Two halfpipe events determined the US Olympic team only weeks before the Torino Olympics. The Grand Prix series in a non-Olympic winter is somewhat less exciting, even if NBC is there to cover it. Due to poor snow conditions on the East Coast, the Grand Prix was rescheduled to Mt. Bachelor which is enjoying a healthy Northwest El Nino winter with a hundred-plus inch base. The women’s field was stocked with all the top riders from Kelly, Gretchen, Elena, and Torah, but the men’s was missing Shaun, the Dannys, and Kevin of last year. The quality of the pipe … well, JJ Thomas thought it was awesome: “it’s old school.” Steve Fisher just had “Wow!” to say about it, and third-place finisher Tommy Czeschin said it was all about picking your line through the holes. Keep in mind all these riders were coming from the X Games superpipe.

Despite aiming her board right at a hole on her first run, Elena Hight was able to link together a run worthy of second place while Kelly Clark just ruled the whole day and kept it going in the finals. She put together an amplitude-filled run linking frontside to backside straight airs, to a frontside with a nice stale, to an indy, frontside 7, Cab 3, and an old-fashioned nose grab. Here’s some trivia, Kelly actually won the whole contest with a 46 beating the entire men’s field (Fisher’s winning score was a 44.5). Is that a first? She would.

Louie Vito credits landing as his winning move. Coming in a close second, he blasted through the pipe comboing a frontside 10 to a cab 7 to a frontside 9 and backside 9 … and landing! But that just was not going to push him past Steve Fisher who was energized from his first place finish at the X Games. Steve kept his amplitude right through the last hit of the pipe, that combined with all the right moves put him in first and kept him there.

Check back in tomorrow for results from the slopestyle. Pat Moore showed up. He missed practice today, but somehow we don’t think that’ll be a problem for him tomorrow.

Women’s Halfpipe Results
1. Kelly Clark, 46.00
2. Elena Hight, 41.80
3. Gretchen Bleiler, 41.10
4. Torah Bright, 37.90
5. Clair Bidez, 34.60
6. Tricia Byrnes, 34.10

Men’s Halfpipe Results
1. Steve Fisher, 44.5
2. Louie Vito, 39.60
3. Tommy Czeschin, 38.10
4. Ross Powers, 36.10
5. JJ Thomas, 35.20
6. Luke Wynen, 34.00
7. Michael Goldschmidt, 33.80