Grand Prix Copper: Men’s & Women’s Superpipe Finals
10 Dec, 2011
A couple weeks ago I was watching Copper put the finishing touch on their always perfect Superpipe and now I”m seeing the best riders in the world completely dominant it. Today was the Grand Prix Superpipe Finals at Copper Mountain in Colorado. The best pipe riders throwing down for their chance at winning cash, getting points and proving their skills in the stunt ditch. In previous years at Grand Prix, the weather has never cooperated but this year it was a beautiful December day with bluebird skies, no winds and great conditions.
I had to chance to meet up with Taylor from AlpineReplay as I was on my way to the truck to get my camera gear. Then it was time to head up to the Superpipe to get some shots and catch the action of the finals when they started. It was a busy Saturday on the slopes and the bars at the base of the mountain offered up perfect views of the action. Plenty of people lined the pipe fence to see their favorite riders go big.
Scotty Lago on his way up the pipe
The women were first to hit the pipe with riders Xuetong Cai, Holly Crawford, Sarah Conrad, Kaitlyn Farrington, Maddy Schaffrick, Gretchen Bleiler, Kelly Clark and Queralt Castellet. Queralt was in the lead from the qualifiers when the finals began.
The underdogs were off to a great start with the first run. The top three women took falls which meant they had one run to make it count and the underdogs had two runs to try to overthrow them. I was really impressed with Maddy Schaffrick, I saw her competing years ago and now she’s grown into an amazing snowboarder who can put down when it counts.
It was really harsh to see Kelly Clark fall on her first run but she had no problem putting down a solid second run that delivered up a first place finish.
Third place went to Queralt
Gretchen Bleiler looked good in the air but couldn’t stick either of her runs
I spent the contest on the deck of the pipe snapping photos on the camera, then snapping shots on the iPhone and updating to social media as I could. Amazing what two hands and multi-tasking can do for a pipe contest.
After the women, it was time for a quick break and then the men were up. The men’s riders were Taku Hiraoka, Benjamin Farrow, Kosuke Hosokawa, Arthur Longo, Janne Korpi, Christian Haller, Kohei Kudo, Matt Ladley, Taylor Gold, Zach Black, Nathan Johnstone, Ryo Aono, Greg Bretz, Luke Mitrani, Scotty Lago and Louie Vito. After the qualifiers, Louie had the highest score going into the finals.
Louie Vito came in second
First place finisher, Luke Mitrani going big for the cameras
Scotty Lago tweaking out in the pipe
Benjamin Farrow in front of the fans
Towards the end of the contest, I headed down to the base of the pipe to watch a couple riders come in and see the excitement of the crowd cheering everyone on.
Women’s Grand Prix Superpipe Final Results
First: Kelly Clark
Second: Maddy Schaffrick
Third: Queralt Castellet
Men’s Grand Prix Superpipe Final Results
First: Luke Mitrani
Second: Louie Vito
Third: Greg Bretz
Probably the most inspirational part of the Grand Prix was seeing Kevin Pearce in person and that he’ll be riding soon. He hasn’t ridden since his accident and on Tuesday he’ll get the chance to get back on snow with everyone. I ran into him in the media room after the contest and just mentioned how it was good to have him back. It’s good to have him back, snowboarding needs him.