Battling accumulating snow at the Chevy S-10 Grand Prix at Northstar-at-Tahoe in California, Mark Reilly and Shannon Dunn posted top scores in their first runs in the best-one-of-two format and held on to win as other competitors couldn’t match their scores during the second run.
Although a big Pacific storm moved in during the day, the pipe started much faster and the riding was much bigger than the day before. But as the snow started to pile up, competitors slowed down and only several competitors actually topped their first-run score during the second. In fact, the top five competitors in each division after the first run stayed the same after the second run, making the event slightly anticlimactic.
Not to say there wasn’t drama. The first drama of the morning was whether Ross Powers was going to show up after a group of friends took him out for his 21st birthday party. As Snowboarder’s Mark Sullivan pointed out: “You only have your 21st birthday once in your life, but there are plenty of halfpipe competitions.”
Out of the men’s twenty finalists, Seth Wescott set the stage early as he dropped in fifth and posted a 38.8. That score stood strong for eight more finalists until a very hung over Ross Powers hit the pipe with two huge straight airs, and a combination of McTwist to 700 to 700. All that spinning didn’t help his headache, but gave him a score of 41.2 and the lead, until a prequalified Mark Reilly dropped in 17th out of 20 finalists.
“I just tried to get everything together, keep everything smooth, and do what I can do, said Reilly afterward. He described his run as: “First hit was a double-pump method like we do in Killington. Then I did a lean double grab, like we do in Killington, too. Then it was a tail grab, came up for a frontside 7 indy to a cab 3 melon, to a crippler to take it.” The judges gave him a 44.6 and nobody came close, earning Reilly 10,000 dollars.
It was a little surprising because the top three in the Grand Prix overall standings including Ricky Bower, Tommy Czeshin, and Rob Kingwill, who all went after Reilly, but to no avail. On his second run Bower tried and just almost landed a 1080, while Czeshin’s first run included a Haakon 7 to 900. But it wasn’t as smooth and he ended up in fifth.
Two-time Grand Prix winner Kingwill did his signature Sato flip to 700 flip to 900 flip, but landed the last at the bottom of the pipe and was scored low for his standard maneuvers. He ended up 11th.
After the big night drinking, Powers was happy with the second place. “I’m stoked on second but I’m not feeling too good right now from drinking the night before,” he said. “It’s hard riding a small pipe after riding all the super pipes, but this was a smooth pipe.”
Wescott was pretty stoked on his third place showing, especially after qualifying so poorly the day before. “I think in kind of worked to my favor a little bit, being one of the first runs where the amplitude was higher,” he said.
He thought maybe his size helped in this smaller pipe. “I’m a little heavier than some of the other guys so my momentum helped carry me through. It’s weird coming back to one of the regular HPG’s after riding the superpipes all year.”
The biggest challenge that Reilly faced all afternoon was opening his victory bottle of Champaign. Standing on the winners podium, he tugged and tugged, and finally broke the cork in the bottle. Out of frustration, he started to pound the bottle against the podium and actually smashed the whole thing between his feet. “I was pissed that I couldn’t open that Champaign bottle,” he said later, with a smile on his face.
On the women’s side, it was all Shannon Dunn for her third victory in three attempts on the Grand Prix circuit this season. She mixed up big airs with McTwist and a frontside 700 to take another ten grand.
Autumn Rose was two points behind and came in second, with a 35.5. Kim Stacey took third with a 33.2 and Tricia Byrnes rounded out the top four with a 32.9.
MEN1. Mark Reilly, Rutland, VT, 44.60
2. Ross Powers, S. Londonderry, VT, 41.20
3. Seth Wescott, Farmington, ME, 38.80
4. Rahim Klampert, USA, 38.20
5. Adam Petraska, Chester, VT, 37.80
6. Tommy Czeschin, Mammoth Lakes, CA, 37.40
7. Ricky Bower, Park City, UT, 36.20
8. Luke Wynen, Redding, PA, 35.10
9. George Oakley, Snowmass Village, CO, 34.70
10. Guillaume Morisset, Canada, 34.60
1. Shannon Dunn, Steamboat Springs, CO, 37.90
2. Autumn Rose, Olympic Valley, CA, 35.50
3. Kim Stacey, Stratton Mountain, VT, 33.20
4. Tricia Byrnes, New Canaan, CT, 32.90
5. Natasza Zurek, Canada, 31.40
6. Aurelie Sayres, Bend, OR, 29.50
7. Amy Johnson, USA, 28.80
8. Jamie McLeod, USA, 25.80
9. Lori Glazier, USA, 25.40
10. Stacey Burke, Canada, 23.90