Video by Justin Gunson
All Photos: Nick Hamilton
Captions by Hondo
Sarka Pancochova wins 2014 Copper Grand Prix women's slopestyle
Part of the Five Stops To Sochi series presented by Mammoth
Sometimes riding ability has less to do with gender differences and more to do with simple physical barriers. In the case of the 2014 Copper Grand Prix women’s slopestyle, that barrier was weight. With a dusting of snow covering the course and winds occasionally gusting, many ladies had a hard time getting enough speed and came up short or had to abort runs. Even for the guys it was hard to clear the jumps at times, but for the lighter ladies it was even sketchier.
As the second qualifying stop of five for riders hoping make the US Olympic team, the Copper Grand Prix is a crucial event to earn early points. The US will likely pick four riders for the women’s Olympic slopestyle team.
Much like the men's slopestyle there was a heavy European presence on the course. While Jamie Anderson is usually a sure bet for the US to get a spot on the podium she fell on her first run and knuckled a landing on her second run forcing her to stop short. That cleared the way for Sarka Pancochova to take the win.
Sarka came through on her second run which included a 50-50 backside 180 out, a switch backside 180, backside 360, and a smooth, poked frontside 540 all worth 92.25 points. The fact that she landed an entire run and made it look good was all the judges needed to see.
In second was France's Isabel Derungs who worked through the rail section with boardslides and switch boardslides before hitting the jumps with a backside 360, frontside 360 tail grab, and a clutch backside rodeo 540.
Rounding out the European sweep was Switzerland's Elena Koenz who was one of the few girls beside Isabel to get inverted with a backflip off the first jump to a frontside 360 on the second jump, finishing with a backside 540.
US rider Ty Walker narrowly missed the podium, coming in fourth with a 78.
Top Six US Olympic Women's Slopestyle Standings
Points list based off top US rider placement
1. Jamie Anderson: 1,800
2. Ty Walker: 1,500
3. Jessika Jenson: 1,400
4. Jordie Karlinski: 1,000
5. Phoebe Novello
6. Karly Shorr
1. Sarka Pancochova (Czech Republic)
2. Isabel Derungs (Switzerland)
3. Elena Koenz (Switzerland)
4. Ty Walker (USA)
5. Enni Rukajarvi (Finland)
6. Cheryl Maas (Netherlands)
7. Jamie Anderson (USA)
8. Jessika Jenson (USA)