Powers Wins Mammoth Grand Prix Pipe

Click here for a Quicktime clip of the Men’s Final.

Ross Powers finally won one this season. Coming from behind on a final run, he posted a score 45.8 to edge out local favorite Tommy Czeschin and win $10,000 at the Chevy Truck U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain, California.

The halfpipe event was originally scheduled for two days, with qualifying today and finals tomorrow. However, with a big winter storm approaching, officials decided to cram the entire event into one day. What resulted was a long day that began before 8:00 a.m. and finished at 4:00 p.m. The schedule change caught J.J. Thomas and Erik Leines sleeping, and they missed their first-round runs. But for the rest who heard of the earlier start, you couldn’t have asked for better weather, with perfect blue skies, a warm sunny day, and a decent superpipe.

After placing second in the qualifying round behind a surprising George Oakley, Czeschin took the lead with a score of 41.6 in the field of twenty finalists. This put him ahead of such favorites as Danny Kass and Powers, who were coming off an X Games SuperPipe win and third place respectively. Czeschin was riding in front of his hometown crowd, with parents, uncle, grandmother, girlfriend, and her parents all cheering him on.

Czechin, who placed second at the X Games, posted a run that included a switch seven, frontside Haakon, 540, and big straight airs stomped cleanly. “In my second run, instead of a switch seven, I did a switch nine, but no grab,” he said. “Whenever I’m home, I ride this pipe so I think that helped out a little bit. But Ross had an awesome run, and I’m happy for him. Second’s pretty good. It’s my second second in a week, so I’m happy.”

For Powers, the pressure was on. “For my second run, I was sitting in second place and I knew there were ten more guys to go, so I figured I might as well go for it,” he said. His winning run included good straight airs, a Mctwist, a frontside 900, an air to fakie, and a switch Mctwist.

“I was doing that run in practice, not as big or as smoothly but I figured I’d go for it.”

Sporting a fresh mohawk, Kyle Clancy came in third with a score of 40.5 and Danny Kass was right behind with a 40.3. Riding at his new adopted home, Kass was close to pulling a win, but just sketched out a switch Kasserole at the bottom of the pipe during his final run.

Powers win comes two days before his birthday. “I’m glad we had the contest before my birthday this time, because last year was pretty ridiculous.” He’s referring to last year’s Grand Prix held at Northstar-at-Tahoe that fell the day after his birthday. He was quite hung over for the finals, but still ended up in second place.

For several of the riders, including Powers and Czeschin, the tour now heads over to Japan where they’ll try to earn some FIS World Cup points to get the U.S. quote for the Olympic halfpipe event. “It’d be awesome to go to the Olympics and that’s definitely what I’m working toward,” says Czeschin.

Men’s Pipe Results

1. Ross Powers
2. Tommy Czeschin
3. Kyle Clancy
4. Danny Kass
5. Rahm Klampert
6. George Oakley
7. Zach Horwitz
8. Rob Kingwill
9. Ricky Bower
10. Kirk Short
11. Travis Rice
12. Luke Wynen
12. Elijah Teter
14. Lane Knaack
15. Wyatt Caldwell
16. Abe Teter
17. Steven Fisher
18. Justin Brink
19. Scott Arnold
20. Nicky Wieveg

Click here for a Quicktime clip of the Men’s Final.