Mattila, Bright Take FIS Halfpipe Finals

BARDONECCHIA, Italy (March 12) — U.S. Snowboarding rider Elijah Teter (Belmont, VT) stomped the elusive ‘El Gizzle’ flip in the 2006 Olympic halfpipe Friday scoring 41.1 points en route to a third place finish at the World Cup Finals. The result secured Teter a quota spot on the 2005 World Cup tour along with 15-time World Cup winner Tricia Byrnes (Stratton, VT), whose fifth place result for the women also landed her a quota spot.

“It was fun, man,” said Teter, who claims U.S. Snowboarding head halfpipe coach Bud Keene named the trick. “I got to check out the Olympic site, which is awesome and ride a sick pipe. They put a good contest on and I had a good time – I just wanted to come ride my best and make finals — the amplitude was good and they like that.

Teter created the trick in during the 2003 Grand Prix series, where it was first dubbed the ‘Teter Totter,’ but after multiple name changes, the slow rotating, down-the-pipe flip has finally secured it’s place in snowboarding lore as the ‘El Gizzle.’

“I charged into the first hit with as much speed as I could and let it flow into the second hit, explained Teter, as he walked media through his run. “I sort of popped a little straight up the wall on my second hit and got caught upside down, but doing the ‘El Gizzle’ flip helps me to do that so I just went with it and landed. That set me up for my next hit, which was a seven (720) and I tried to make it a little stylie and then the ‘El Gizzle.’ For the ‘El Gizzle’ you do a 180 and then a McTwist — it was fun.

Also landing in the men’s final was ’03 World Juniors silver medalist Tyler Emond (Dorset, VT) with 10th, while teammate Chris Nelson (Mammoth Lakes, CA) was 14th. Byrnes was the lone U.S. rider for the women.

“The weather was pretty bad, but Elijah just went huge and that’s an important part of FIS scoring, then he did the ‘El Gizzle’ flip and nailed it, said U.S. Snowboarding head coach Peter Foley. “Tyler qualified well, but then couldn’t put his run together in the finals, but Elijah and Tricia both won quota spots and that’s what we came out here to do.

Also holding U.S. quota spots for ’05 are Joetsu, Japan, winners Steve Fisher (St. Louis Park, MN) and Lindsey Jacobellis (Bondville, VT) along with Nelson, Teter’s younger sister Hannah and ’02 Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark (Mount Snow, VT), bringing the overall American total to 11 for the 2005 season.

“We really weren’t able to make it to too many World Cup halfpipe events this year, but we put riders on the podium in every one that we attended and the goal was to maintain our status and gain quota spots. We definitely did that, added Foley.

Finnish riders Risto Mattila and Toni-Markus Turunen finished 1-2 for the men, while Australia’s Torah Bright grabbed the women’s top-spot for her fifth consecutive World Cup podium. Second place went to Sophie Rodriguez of France and Japan’s Soko Yamaoka was third. Mattila’s win and Yamaoka’s third secured them the ’04 World Cup crystal globes for halfpipe.

The World Cup Finals continue Saturday with a floodlit Big Air, before U.S. Snowboarding’s alpine riders look to wrap up the season with solid results in Sunday’s parallel giant slalom.

World Cup Finals
Bardonecchia, ITA — March 12
Men’s Halfpipe
1. Risto Mattila, Finland, 42.9
2. Toni-Markus Turunen, Finland, 41.6
3. Elijah Teter, Belmont, Vt., 41.1
4. Domu Narita, Japan, 40.6
5. Sergio Berger, Switzerland, 39.9—
10. Tyler Emond, Dorset, Vt., 33.4
14. Chris Nelson, Mammoth Lakes, Calif., 35.6

Women’s Halfpipe
1. Torah Bright, Australia, 41.6
2. Sophie Rodriguez, France, 41.5
3. Soko Yamaoko, Japan, 36.4
4. SarahConrad, Canada, 34.8
5. Tricia Byrnes, Statton, Vt., 33.9