Vito And Clark Win Tamarack Grand Prix

Louie Vito and Kelly Clark took top honors in Saturday’s Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix halfpipe event at Tamarack, Idaho. Greg Bretz and Elijah Teter followed Vito in second and third, respectively. Behind Clark were Clair Bidez (second) and Ellery Hollingsworth (third).

The sun barely got a word in during the second annual Grand Prix at Tamarack—a resort that’s become known as much for knee-deep powder as the 22-foot transitions of its halfpipe.

“I love riding the 22-foot pipe,” said Omatic’s Louie Vito, after winning the men’s event—his first-ever Grand Prix title. Louie put together a run that included a front seven, Cab ten, front nine, back five, and a frontside air (one straight air is mandatory).

After finishing second in last year’s event, Vito set out to improve on the one thing that had kept him off the top step of the podium. “I’ve been working on my amplitude,” he says. “That’s always been my problem.”

When asked exactly what he’s done to better his boost, Vito’s free advice went like this: “I go into everything with more speed, and I make sure I’m not scrubbing speed or breaking at the waist.”

With height locked down, women’s winner, Kelly Clark is focused on the exact opposite of Vito. “I’m working on more technical tricks: nines, tens, and switch tricks,” she says. Her winning run consisted of backside and frontside fives, a front seven, and a Cab three. Of course, she threw in a pair of straight airs that would make Ingemar Backman proud.  “It wasn’t my best run,” Clark said, “But it was a good, solid run.”

Riders rose up in the varied conditions of Tamarack’s superpipe. Keystone, Colorado’s Zac Black turned heads when he qualified for the finals in first place, and Minturn’s (Colorado) Clair Bidez seems to have her next level in sight.

Snowboardcross went down today, as wet snow again fell on Tamarack, adding to a base that’s already the best in years. Lindsey Jacobellis—who’s been on a tear—out-started the women’s field and rode away with the women’s snowboardcross as handily as Clark did the women’s halfpipe.

Talent ran deeper on the men’s side, and the final saw Olympic Gold Medalist and former World Champion, Seth Wescott, beat out an in-form Shaun Palmer—who had just come off a pair of wins in the Jeep King Of The Mountain series. Other heavies, like X Games Champion Nate Holland, rounded out the heats.

NBC will air the Tamarack Grand Prix at 3:30 p.m. (EST) on February 16, 2008.

Did that read too much like a press release? Damn. I hope it was informative, at least. I probably could have been more creative, but all the blood’s still in my stomach because I’ve eaten one too many times at Morels. Good living here in Idaho—and a whole lot of snow. Officially signing off now that the riders have left town and there’s nothing to do but shred. Check the results for old boyfriends and future girlfriends, maybe one of them made the finals.

Chevy U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix ¿Tamarack, ID – Feb. 9, 2008 ¿Halfpipe ¿Men (15 made finals)

1. Louie Vito, Columbus, OH/Sandy, UT¿
2. Greg Bretz, Mammoth Lakes, CA
3. Elijah Teter, South Lake Tahoe, CA¿
4. Scotty Lago, Seabrook, NH
5. Zac Black, Dillon, CO¿
6. Ben Watts, Bend, OR¿
7. Brennen Swanson, Stillwater, MN¿
8. Trevor Jacob, Mammoth Lakes, CA
9. Spencer Shaw, Litchfield, CT¿
10. Jake Black, Dillon, CO
11. Michael Goldschmidt, Truckee, CA¿
12. Tyler Anderson, Chanhassen, MN¿
13. Austin Noring, West Bend, WI¿
14. Daniel Longo, Canada
15. Bryan Shuey, Incline Village, NV

Women (8 made finals)¿
1. Kelly Clark, West Dover, VT
2. Clair Bidez, Minturn, CO¿
3. Ellery Hollingsworth, Stratton, VT
4. Brooke Shaw, Litchfield, CT¿
5. Tricia Byrnes, Aspen, CO
6. Kelly Marren, Hillsborough,CA¿
7. MacKenzie Maatters, Eagan, MN¿
8. Kait Farrington, Bellevue, ID