Gravity Games Day 2: Neilson Steals Palmer’s Gold

Shaun Palmer was the crowd favorite for the snowboard cross, however, this time he became a little more human when Canadians Drew Neilson and Scott Gaffney took the gold and gold leaving the Palm with the bronze in the Gravity Games BoarderCross finals Friday January 21 at Mammoth Mountain.

“I love mammoth,” Neilson said at the finish. “It’s my first time here, and not my last.”

The day was another rough of high wind, blowing snow and fog. “There was so much fog and everyone was going for,” said ninth place finisher Mark Schultz. “The rollers were bumping. And everyone was just trying to hold on and get through it.”

In the final it was business as usual for Palmer. He got the hole shot with Drew Neilson and Phillipe Conte dicing. Palmer had some trouble and that opened the door for Conte. He moved into first place in the middle of the course with Palmer right on his tail and Neilson in third.

Conte was leading into a berm when he hit some chatter and his Flow binding high-back unbuckled making him lose his heel edge. Palmer got slowed down by Conte and Neilson rode on by.

“Phillip got past me and then hit some chop in the berm and went down,” Drew said. ” I took the high line through the berm and I thought that I was going to lose a lot of speed, but I looked back and saw Palmer behind me. From there I just didn’t look back.”

Philip, who was the 1999 ISF BoarderCross champ, was philosophical about it. “You know it’s not my fault,” he said. “My binding broke. But I was glad to be in the final with such great guys. But these things just happen, not me usually, but today it did.”

Andy Hetzel decided to hang back at the top of the course thinking he would catch them again in the berms, but they just took off. “I’m happy to make the finals and come in last. I slowed down at first when I saw everyone backing up,” Andy said. “Then everyone just took off. That’s all right, I’m just happy to be in one piece. I’ve got a lot of powder to ride.”

Last Note: Don’t feel bad for Palmer. After finishing third he jammed straight out of the finish area and back to the top of the course, put on skis and schooled the skiers by taking Gold in Skiercross. You can’t keep the good Palm down.

The Gravity Games at Mammoth Mountain continue tomorrow with the halfpipe qualifiers and the Big Air Finals.

1. Drew Neilson
2. Scott Gaffney
3. Shaun Palmer
4. Xavier Delrue
5. Philippe Conte
6. Andy Hetzel
7. Tor Bruserud
8. Harald Putz
9. Mark Schultz
10. Jeremy jones
11. Davide Marciandi
12. Laurent Besse
13. Pontus Staahikoo
14. Andy Finch
15. Jeff Ihaksi
16. Mark Torlan
17. Matt Shrive
18. Jason Moore
19. Paul henderson
20. Ryan Neptune
21. Jason Brown
22. Oskar Norberg
23. Terry Plum
24. Nicolas Marduel

1. Nici Pederzolli
2. Carlee Baker
3. Alison Clark
4. Candice Drouin
5. Alessia Follador
6. Leslee Olson
7. Line Osetvold
8. Amy Johnson
9. Brittney Mahann
10. Marguerite Cossittini
11. Gwen Foster