After a disappointing 10th place at last week’s festivities, Adam Petraska finally put on the show that the Southern Vermont crowd has come to expect at the USSA Nationals, March 25, 2000, taking home the huge $1700 first prize. That’s right, $1700. The small prize purse was about the most unique thing about the contest, which was barely more impressive than the 1/2 and 1/2 contests Okemo used to hold three years ago. Kim Stacey also walked away with first, further proving that flat east coast mountains with world renowned halfpipes are a good place to live if you want to win pipe contests.
Before I go off on a tangent, I should probably talk a little bit about what happened. The East Coast has been experiencing some of the best weather on record for the last few days. It’s been 50 degrees and sunny every single day for the last week, so it’s no surprise that the weather was less that perfect for the contest. It didn’t rain all day, in fact, it cleared up and the sun came out just in time for the contest to be over, but boy was the weather nice for my podium shots.
The women’s division was somewhat disappointing after the showing at the US Open last week. Most of the girls weren’t making it above the lip, and those who were sometimes grabbed tindy. Luckily, Kim Stacey, Tricia Byrnes and Natazsa Zurek were there to restore my faith in my gender.
Kim was going huge as always, and Tricia, whose run hasn’t really changed in a few years, was still riding far better than most of the competitors. Natazsa was doing her Mctwist to Crippler combo, still scoring high up in the ranks despite her less than perfect landings.
The women final results for the women were actually decided during the first run, the format being best of two. The standings did not change at all with the girls’ second run, and Kim Stacey got to take a victory lap. Although Tricia came in second, she was still stoked to have done a victory air in her run. Gretchen Bleiller came in third, her run starting off with a backside 540, or a “high-risk maneuver” as Mark Sullivan put it.
As always, the guys were a little more exciting to watch. Petraska finally won a contest this year, his second time through the pipe executing his run perfectly and blowing away all the other scores.
In second was another Okemo local, Teeter. Elijah Teeter that is. Abe’s little brother (okay, they’re about the same size) smoked the elder Teeter and the rest of the field with his second run. He rode with the same lanky style that his brother has made so famous, and put his feet down easily on all his spins and flips.
In third place was Mark Reilly. Reilly had no trouble going huge even though the pipe was not that conducive to it, but that’s what learning to ride in New Jersey will do for you.
Seth Wescott was riding quite well, placing fourth overall. I would have a really good picture of him if he were grabbing his board. He claims that it’s hard to grab your board when you’re doing a switch nine, but I’m not buying.
Luke Wynen was proud to have possibly the worst run of his career, but still manage to come in sixth with his first run, which happened to include a double handed stiffy. His sixth place finish breaks the eight place run he’s been in for the last five or so contests.
For some reason I don’t think everyone was taking the contest that seriously. After his first run, Scotty Arnold was stoked to be in dead last. Smith Team Manager Jeff Jewett offered him $100 to try on his next run and hold on to last. He’d also get the money if he won. Unfortunately, Scotty blew it by landing all of his tricks, but not putting together a first place caliber run.
I was most amused by the drug testers at the event. As soon as someone won, they were whisked away to pee in a cup, making sure they hadn’t consumed any energy beverages or marijuana. For this reason, Ross Powers didn’t participate in the event. He had torn some muscles in his back at the Open and was taking muuscle relaxants as treatment. Although he said he felt up to doing the contest, a drug test probably would have caused him to be banned from the series for life.
Somehow, Zach Horwitz got a hold of one of the fluorescent green vests that signified a drug tester, and wore it with pride. “Chicks dig drug testers,” he explained. It turns out chicks also dig guys who win halfpipe contests, as Petraska found out later that night, but I don’t think I should get into that.
1. Adam Petraska, Chester, VT, 37.20
2. Elijah Teter, Belmont, VT, 34.40
3. Mark Reilly, Rutland, VT, 34.20
4. Seth Wescott, Farmington, ME, 33.60
5. Rob Kingwill, Jackson, WY, 33.40
6. Luke Wynen, Reading, PA, 33.20
7. T.J. McKay, USA, 33.10
8. Danny Kass, Hamburg, NJ, 33.10
9. Fabian Duchesne, Canada, 32.50
10. Ricky Bower, Park City, UT, 32.40
1. Kim Stacey, Stratton Mt., VT, 35.80
2. Tricia Byrnes, New Canaan, CT, 33.10
3. Gretchen Bleiler, Snowmass Village, CO, 32.80
4. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, VT, 31.50
5. Nevin Schwarz, Chester, VT, 29.60
6. Natasza Zurek, Canada, 29.50
7. Amy Johnson, Bondville, VT, 28.40
8. Sarah Thompson, Cavendish, VT, 27.90
9. Dominique Valee, Canada, 26.80
10. Maryl Winterscheid, S. Londonderry, VT, 25.70