Fawcett, Shaw Win First Grand Prix Giant Slalom

Mount Bachelor, OR¿According to competitors, the course was pretty straight and fast in the morning, especially with the firm snow conditions. For the finals the course was reset with a much more technical course, which helped challenge the riders and keep the competition tight in the finals.

The competition was definitely tight through the men’s heat and Fawcett didn’t have the contest in the bag by any means, especially considering there were eight racers following him. One of those riders was Fawcett’s Canadian teammate Jasey Jay Anderson. Anderson had a clean run, but didn’t have enough speed to catch up to Fawcett and ended up somewhere in the middle of the pack.

“The first course was too straight,” said Anderson. “Then this afternoon it was much more technical. I just wanted to have a clean run, but it was maybe too clean and I didn’t have enough speed.”

In the women’s division Betsy Shaw, who claimed she was going into retirement last year who took first. Shaw is one of the longest standing women competitors in North America with an impressive race career. Shaw also took home $10,000 today, but not without some struggle. Like the men’s race, it was another tight finals for the women with Betsy Shaw, Lidia Trettel and Rosey Fletcher battling it out for first.

“This is craziness,” said Shaw after hearing she had won. “I am not supposed to win this, but I’ll take it.”

Shaw said she plans on completing the Grand Prix tour, but is looking to focus more on Boardercross competitions in the future and less on racing. “I’ll come back for the big dollar contests, but I am really trying to take it easy these days. I took this whole last summer off and that was good. It was a fun race today. The course was good.”

The women’s division definitely had some disappointments today with both Julie Zell and Lynn Ott making the finals and then blowing out. Also surprisingly missing on the podium were Sondra Von Ert and Lisa Kosglow. Canadian Melissa Barclay was impressive, posting the fastest time going into the finals, but she wasn’t able to pull the same kind of time on the more technical course.

Competitors who podium in the Grand Prix this weekend will take home $10,000 for first, $5,000 for second and $2,500 for third. Not bad for two one minute runs down the hill and over the finishing gate. As we go into day two of the Grand Prix expect to see coverage from the halfpipe qualifiers and a quarterpipe competition on Friday.