Vans Breck Pipe Qualifiers

Pipe qualifiers are going on right now. Men started it off in a fast pipe; it’s partly cloudy with bright blue holes coming by. The sun is starting to warm things up a bit here in Breck on the third day of the Vans Triple Crown of Snowboarding. But at ten o’clock this morning it was only 18 degrees.

So far, and you won’t believe this, thirteen year-old Shaun White of San Diego is the number one qualifier. I don’t know how that can be; he does some good stuff, but isn’t really boosting at all. I think it’s probably hard to judge Shaun without factoring in his age, it’s a natural tendency. For a thirteen year-old, he’s damn good. But this is about being the best snowboarder, not the best for your age. Expect things to change in the main event.

Other top qualifiers so far are: Rob Kingwill, Kyle Clancy (from VT, rides for Salomon), and Michihiko Yoshino from Japan. John Sommers was also kicking arse and is sitting in seventh.

Girls (women) were doing some warm-up runs, Burton rider Leslee Olson was gettin’ out, and the usuals like Tara, Barrett, and Cara-Beth were carrying some speed through the big “super” pipe. Bib number 214, Amy Johnson (another Vermonter) also looked good in practice.

It’s getting killer out now, clearing up. All the photogs are going nuts. It’s actually rad for the fans, too. The riders walk up the side of the pipe right where the spectators are so you can pretty much throw out high fives to whoever you want. I’ll be up there, shooting the finals tomorrow, so if you wanna see a shot of yourself on the site come by and say what’s up. I’m in a white and blue North Face jacket, floundering around with a bunch of camera gear.

Here and there you can see some of the boardercross riders limpin’ around, all bummed because it’s so sunny and yesterday was gnarly.

Finals are tomorrow at two, Peak Eight. I’ll let you know what’s up with the women in a little bit.