The World Superpipes in Park City, Utah are kind of a crazy event, no qualifiers and no build up--riders are included on an invite-only basis and everything is over and done with in one day. This year’s contest went down on Saturday, March 11--a full 3 weeks later than in year’s past--and you couldn’t help but wonder where a lot of riders were. Maybe they weren’t invited,true--but we’re guessing more than a few people were taking a few days off before the U.S. Open that starts Tuesday in Vermont.
Either way, there was a decent field of sixteen men and thirteen women out on the slopes. For the men, this meant returning World Superpipes Champion Keir Dillon as well as Tommy Czeschin, Andy Finch, Ross Powers, Mason Aguirre, J.J. Thomas, Abe and Elijah Teter, Xaver Hoffman, and seven others. The ladies field included 2003 World Superpipe winner Gretchen Bleiler, Hannah Teter, Tricia Byrnes, Lindsey Jacobellis, Elena Hight, Torah Bright, Junko Asazuma, and a few others. Even Jamie MacLeod came out of what announcer Kris Jamieson called “semi-retirement” to compete.
Teter and Bleiler Lead Women’s Pack
The day got underway at 10:30 am with the women’s competition. Over the past few years women’s pipe contests have typically come down to two riders--Hannah Teter and Gretchen Bleiler--and this year’s World Superpipe Championshipswas no different. The two battled it out at the Olympic superpipe venue under seriously sunny skies and 55 degree temperature, with Teter eventually locking in a win over Bleiler in the spring pipe.
This year’s format was best of three runs, and even though everyone took a third run the contest was over for the women after two. Not to say it wasn’t entertaining--lots of riders were taking advantage of the soft pipe trying out new runs and going huge. Japan’s Junko Asazuma was flying out of the pipe keeping things interesting with what seemed like 10 foot airs, leaving many to speculate what would happen if she just learns to throw in some big spins. Even without them, Asazuma nabbed a fifth place finish. Torah Bright was also on the edge, falling both her first and second runs, but finally pulling to together on her third with enough points for a fourth place finish.
The rest of the morning went down like this. After a Tiffany Marshall, MacLeod, Bidez, and Byrnes each took their first run Elena Hight dropped in and boosted a huge method off the first wall, back to back fives, and a nine to score a 82.1 that would hold throughout the contest and land her on the podium with a third place finish. Jacobellis followed Hight, and while she had some great hits, couldn’t really pull together an entire run to compete against the rest of the pack. Dropping in seventh was Bleiler, with her signature crippler and a 900 Bleiler nailed a 88.3 that put her into first place and would remain her high score for the day. Teter followed pulling a nine and creeped her up into second with a 85.3. She stayed there until her second run when she landed a huge off-axis nine that pulled her into first with a 89.3. The score held until she bettered it in her third run with a five, a nine, and a seven. “I didn’t really have any expectations except to stomp my run and put together some stuff “I’ve never done before,” said women’s winner Teter after the event.
Dillon Takes Title For Second Year For Men
I’m not sure if the men had it better or worse than the women during the World Superpipe Championships in Park City, Utah held on Saturday March 11. The men’s contest started at 12:30--a little past high noon--and the sun was creeping overhead. With 55 degree temps on the slopes, the jackets were off, sunscreen was on, and the pipe was getting slushy.
All in all, it was perfect conditions for first place winner Keir Dillon who, in his pipe jerseys or hooded sweatshirts, always seems a little underdressed for the weather when it’s 20 degrees and snowing. Being that Dillon also won last year’s World Superpipe Champioonships, we’re thinking maybe the man simply needs a warm day to really feel on. ” I don’t know,” laughs Dillon. “I think Park City is my spot. It’s the only place I do well at. I think I do peak a little late, with the Olympics next year hopefully I can peak a little sooner.” With gigantic back to back sevens, and back to back nines in his first fun Dillon pulled in a 88.7 that became the number to top for the rest of the day.
Tommy Czeschin, Andy Finch, Ross Powers, and Mason Aguirre were all in the hunt as was J.J. Thomas, Abe and Elijah Teter, Xaver Hoffman, Ricky Bower and six others. All total sixteen men gunned for Dillon’s score from their best of three runs through the pipe. Of the sixteen, Mason, Finch, Powers and Czechin all had the best potential to upset the defending champ.
Czechin was able to better himself each run, nabbing a 86.0 on run two for his back to back seven to a nine combo, and finally landing a score of 88.3 in run three that put him into second place. Due to the starting order, however, Czechin was hanging back biting his nails to see if that would hold through the ranks that followed him.
After runs from Hoffman, Justin Lamoureux, and Elijah Teter, Aguirre dropped in but wasn’t able to better his second run score of 86.7 that held him in third place. With J.J. Thomas, Andy Finch, Ross Powers, and Dillon still to follow the second and third spots were still pretty shaky places to be slotted.
Thomas however didn’t have his Bronze-medal juice this morning, and stayed out of the top five. And, then in came Finch.
Finch, in typical Finch-style was exploding out of the pipe. After, falling on his first two runs he finally stuck it all on his third run--an inverted seven and nine that gave everyone whiplash from craning their necks to see him. With Powers and Dillon still to follow, the scores weren’t released until the end. But, with Powers throwing a new run and Dillon falling on the end of his third, everyone was simply waiting to see where Finch fell into the top five. With a 85.7 he nabbed fourth, edging out fifth-place finisher by four points.
Powers did something strange--he switched up his run for number three trying some totally different combos (back-to-back 1080s for instance) and held himself in the top five.
For video from the top three winners’ runs in both the men’s and women’s competetions click on the VIDEO link up on the right hand side of the page.
1. Keir Dillon–$15,000
2. Tommy Czeschin–$8,000
3. Mason Aguirre–$4,000
4. Andy Finch–$2,000
5. Ross Powers–$1,000
6. J.J. Thomas
7. Ricky Bower
8. Justin Lamoureux
9. Xaver Hoffmann
10. Andrew Burton
11. Michael Goldschmidt
12. Elijah Teter
13. Rob Kingwill
14. Therry Brunner
15. Danny Davis
16. Abe Teter
1. Hannah Teter–$15,000
2. Gretchen Bleiler–$8,000
3. Elena Hight–$4,000
4. Torah Bright–$2,000
5. Junko Asazuma–$1,000
6. Lindsey Jacobellis
7. Tricia Byrnes
8. Andrea Shuler
9. Mercedes Nicoll
10. Joanie Anderson
11. Jamie MacLeod
12. Clair Bidez
13. Tiffany Marshall