FIS: PR: Smith Top American In World Snowboard Halfpipe Cahampionship Finals In San Candido, Italy (1-24-97)

SAN CANDIDO, Italy — Fabien Rohrer of Switzerland won the men’s halfpipe, with Finland’s Markus Hurme winning silver and Norway’s Roge Hjelmstadstuen taking bronze. Dan Smith (Evergreen, Colo.) rode to sixth place, the top U.S. finish, in Friday’s halfpipe competition at the World Snowboard Championships in San Candido.

Thousands of spectators lined the sides of the halfpipe at Friday’s night-time contest. The elimination format of the finals pitted rider against rider, paring the field down from 16 riders (who qualified for finals from Friday morning’s qualification round) to eight riders, then from eight to four, to determine the bronze, silver and gold medalists.

“I’m just so stoked to be here and to be a part of this and ride with all these superstars,” said Smith, who won a World Cup halfpipe contest last weekend in Kreischberg, Austria. “I felt really good…I looked okay on my snowboard, I think. I’ve been having fun the whole way through.”

“I’m really proud of Dan,” said U.S. Snowboard Freestyle Coach Pete Del Giudice. “He’s been riding so well, and this is a good finish for him.”

Ross Powers (S. Londonderry, Vt.), the 96 world halfpipe champion, was eliminated in the first round of the finals, where he was matched with Rohrer. Powers finished the contest in tenth place, with Rob Kingwill (Jackson, Wyo.) twelfth.

“Fabien was on his game today,” Kingwill said of the new World Champion. “It’s hard to say, but if the finals hadn’t been a knock-out format, Ross would probably have been in the top three. But he met Fabien in the first round, and Fabien was on his game today. But we’ll go on to the next contest, and it’s all fun. Today went pretty well for me. I qualified for finals in the first round – I was seventh in qualifiers – and I got into finals, which is what I was shooting for more than anything. There are a lot of really high-level riders here.”

“The crowd was crazy – screaming and yelling,” said Kingwill of the enthusiastic, night-time crowd. “The lights and atmosphere here are so cool at night! You get to the top of the pipe and just say, ‘I can’t wait to snowboard!’ And I was just so excited to be up there and say, “yeah, I get to drop in!”

In women’s competition, Switzerland again took top honors, with Anita Schwaller winning gold. Christel Thoresen of Norway won silver, with Sabine Wehr-Hassler of Germany winning bronze. No U.S. women qualified to compete in the evening finals. Annemarie Uliasz (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was the top U.S. rider, finishing 14th. “My last few contests have been really frustrating because I haven’t been landing my 540 one-and-a-half turn rotation. But today I landed it, which made me happy, but then I caught an edge and fell.”

Men’s and women’s parallel slalom qualifications were also held Friday, to determine the eight women and 16 men who will progress to Saturday’s finals. Five U.S. riders will compete in finals: Stacia Hookom (Edwards, Colo.); Mike Jacoby (Hood River, Ore.), the winner of the Friday’s parallel slalom qualifiers and men’s GS silver medalist; Anton Pogue (Hood River, Ore.), men’s slalom bronze medalist; Thomas O’Brien (Salt Lake City, Utah); and Tom Lyman (Whitefish, Mont.).

Notes…The U.S. Snowboard Team went crazy, screaming and hollering, as Dan Smith stood on the podium after Friday’s halfpipe finals (the top six riders stood on the podium). “I didn’t think I’d be able to stand on the podium – this is so cool! Can someone take myy picture?” said an elated Smith…The World Championships party tent, where bands perform live nightly, has been a great place to hang-out and socialize, but the parking lot has been downright dangerous. Mud and slush caught the van U.S. Snowboard Team rider Lynn Ott (Bend, Ore.) was driving. “I got 10 guys to try and push me out, and they couldn’t move the van – I had to go back this morning and have the Italian police help me get it out!” said Ott.

Halfpipe – Fri., Jan. 24, 1997
Men (last run scores)

1. Fabien Rohrer, Switzerland, 38.1
2. Markus Hurme, Finland, 37.7
3. Roge Hjelmstadstuen, Norway, 40.2
4. Bertrand Denervaud, Switzerland, 38.4
5. Sergio Bartrina, Spain, 36.9
6. Dan Smith, Evergreen, Colo., 35.0
7. Sami Hyry, Finland, 34.1
8. Aleksi Litovaara, Finland, 32.7
9. Jean Baptiste Charlet, France, 36.6
10. Ross Powers, S. Londonderry, Vt., 36.1
11. Jonas Gunnarson, Sweden, 35.5
12. Rob Kingwill, Jackson, Wyo., 35.1
13. Kim Christiansen, Norway, 32.9
14. Marius Sommer, Norway, 30.1
15. Takashi Nishida, Japan, 28.5
16. Mike Michaelchuk, Canada, 25.9

Two-run scores from morning qualification round
17. Aki Stolt, Finland, 70.8
18. Ben Wainwright, Canada, 70.3
19. Daniel Andersson, Sweden, 70.3
20. Martin Rutz, Switzerland, 70.0
21. Jimi Scott, Carlsbad, Calif., 69.7
22. Marco Lutz, Switzerland, 69.6
23. Tony Roos, France, 69.1
24. Guillaume Chalstagno, France, 69.0
25. Pontus Stalkloo, Sweden, 68.6
26. Patrik Hasler, Switzerland, 68.3
27. Trevor Andrew, Canada, 67.8
28. Jeff Anderson, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 67.7
29. Fredrik Sterner, Sweden, 65.0

Other U.S. Riders:
34. Rick Bower, Park City, Utah, 32.0
35. Zach Horwitz, Carbondale, Colo., 31.8

Women (last run scores)

1. Anita Schwaller, Switzerland, 24.9
2. Christel Thoresen, Norway, 23.8
3. Sabine Wehr-Hassler, Germany, 24.0
4. Martina Tscharner, Switzerland, 22.7
5. Ariane Glaus, Switzerland, 24.5
6. Minna Hesso, Finland, 23.4
7. Valerie Bourdier, France, 20.9
8. Natasza Zurek, Canada, 19.8

Two-run scores from morning qualification round
9. Nickole Fischer, Germany, 43.8
10. Kaori Takeyama, Japan, 41.8
11. Maelie Ricker, Canada, 40.6
12. Siv Alida Renander, Norway, 40.3
13. Stine Brun Kjeldaas, Norway, 38.4
14. Annemarie Uliasz, Huntington Beach, Calif., 38.3
15. Doriane Vidal, France, 36.7
16. Tara Teigen, Canada, 36.5
17. Monica Zamora, Spain, 19.1
18. Griselda Gonzalez, Saratoga, Calif., 18.8
19. Sabrina Sadeghi, Aspen, Colo., 18.3
20. Susanne Serkamo, Finland, 17.8
21. Helene Wilding, Norway, 17.3
22T. Ayako Taya, Japan, 17.2
22T. Cammy Potter, Park City, Utah, 17.2
24. Toshimi Yamaguchi, Japan, 16.8
25. Alessandra Pescosta, Italy, 16.3
26. Nita Arpiainen, Finland, 16.1
27T. Joanna Laajisto, Finland, 15.9
27T. Yukie Ueda, Japan, 15.9
29. Kukucz Malgorzata, Poland, 15.8
30. Melanie Leando, Great Britain, 15.6