Finch, Clark Win Mountain Creek Grand Prix

VERNON, N.J. (Feb. 7) — Nearly 1500 fans packed the Mountain Creek halfpipe Saturday night to watch Andy Finch (Fresno, CA) top Olympic gold medalist Ross Powers (South Londonderry, VT) in a floodlit, Jersey style showdown for the overall Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix title and a brand new Chevrolet Colorado.

The final Grand Prix stop will air Feb. 21 at 5:00 p.m. ET on NBC.

Bulldog vs Boss

“Lately I’ve been just having fun, I don’t even worry about the pressure. If I put pressure on myself I buckle so I just come out here and put confidence in my riding, pump up all the riders because that what we used to do back in the day,” said Finch, the California bulldog. “I definitely had a good time out here, they’ve really been giving us the red carpet and Mountain Creek put together a great pipe.”

The drama was set as Finch notched a first run score of 45.5 to lead Ross “The Boss” Powers by .8 into the second run. Finch then fell in his second run, leaving the door to the Chevy wide open for Powers, who upped his score to 44.1, but fell just .4 points short of the $10,000 first prize and a fresh set of keys.

“I came out here tonight with a positive attitude, it was a good pipe and Finch and I were ready battle,” said Powers, who will hold a snowboard camp at Mountain Creek next week. “We both threw down and I’m just glad to be up on the podium. Mountain Creek did a wonderful job, they’re not used to having big events out here, and they really catered to the riders — I’m really pleased with how they treated us out here and I hope we come back next year.”

Clark Back on Top

After winning two Grand Prix events in 2002, en route to the Olympic gold medal, Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, VT) climbed back on top with a first run score of 41.5, for a convincing 8.3 point win over Stratton Mountain School grad Lindsey Jacobellis (Bondville, VT). Jacobellis shared in the excitement with her first Grand Prix podium since joining the series in 2000.

“I had a lot of fun at this contest and it’s nice to be home on the East Coast,” said the recent Mammoth Lakes, Calif. transplant, whose mom cheered her to victory. “I love having my parents get the chance to come and watch me because I always call them and tell them what I’m doing, but it’s great when they can be here and be a part of it.”

With Clark’s big first run score on the board, all eyes focused on Grand Prix superstar Hannah Teter (Belmont, VT), who needed a huge second run, after falling on a difficult frontside 900 to McTwist combo, to complete the 2004 series sweep. Not known to back down, Teter went for the same combo and missed, ending the night in fifth. But she didn’t go home empty handed as the 17-year-old was awarded the women’s overall title and a Chevrolet Colorado.

“All my family was here and I was looking to just go home for them and land my run. But my friend was just saying that God works in weird ways and today wasn’t supposed to be a winning day, just a truck day,” said Hannah, who was joined in the final by older brothers Elijah and Abe, who finished fourth and fifth respectively.

Jersey Stacks Olympians

Also competing in the powerhouse final were ’02 Olympic bronze medalist J.J. Thomas (Golden, CO) and fellow Olympic team members Tricia Byrnes and Tommy Czeschin (Mammoth Lakes, CA). Thomas and Byrnes rounded out the men’s and women’s podiums in third.

The Grand Prix continues Sunday as the Junior Jam opens the morning at 11:00 a.m. ET followed by the Chevrolet Expression Session, featuring a mini slopestyle at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix
Mountain Creek, N.J. — Feb. 7
Men’s Halfpipe Final
1. Andy Finch, Fresno, Calif., 45.5
2. Ross Powers, South Londonderry, Vt., 45.1
3. J.J. Thomas, Golden, Colo., 43.3
4. Elijah Teter, Belmont, Vt., 43.1
5. Abe Teter, Belmont, Vt., 41.2Women’s Halfpipe Final
1. Kelly Clark, Mount Snow, Vt., 41.5
2. Lindsey Jacobellis, Bondville, Vt. 33.2
3. Tricia Byrnees, Stratton, Vt., 32.4
4. Karla Gembarowski, Brattleboro, Vt., 27.8
5. Hannah Teter, Belmont, Vt., 24.6Men’s Overall (possible 300)
1. Andy Finch, 280
2. Ross Powers, 230
3. Abe Teter, 120
4. Tommy Czeschin, 112
5. Mason Aguirre, Duluth, Minn., 109

Women’s Overall (possible 300)
1. Hannah Teter, 245
2. Kelly Clark, 180
3. Tricia Byrnes, 140
4. Lindsey Jacobellis, 130

5. Molly Aguirre, Duluth, Minn., 105