After an exciting superpipe showdown yesterday here at Copper Mountain, it was the slopestyle competitors’ turn to throw down today. A FIS sanctioned World Cup and an AFP Platinum level event, the US Grand Prix at Copper is among the season’s biggest freeski contests. Athletes were on the hunt this weekend for big money, FIS points—those points having Olympic implications, as explained in further detail yesterday—and valuable AFP points.
The resounding topic of conversation today was the bitter cold that infiltrated Summit County. The temperature was between -15 and -20 degrees farenheit early this morning, depending on which weather app you happened to favor. Today’s high was a balmy 0 degrees farenheit, according to Accuweather. Despite suffering from frozen extremities, the athletes put on one heck of a show.
Two full heats of women took to the course early this morning for a qualifier—only twelve advanced to the afternoon’s final. Come noon, those 12 women joined the 12 men who advanced through a qualifier on Thursday. Today’s format was as follows: Women took one run, men took one run, women dropped for a second run and the men closed things out.
On the women’s side, Breckenridge local Keri Herman topped the podium while Dara Howell (CAN) and Anna Segal (AUS) rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively. Segal bagged her second straight 3rd place finish, the prior coming at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge. While consistent and smooth in her riding of late, Segal said of her performance, “I was fairly happy with how I did, but I think I can do better next time.” We’ll see if Anna can step it up for the upcoming X Games in Aspen.
Dara Howell impressed today with steady riding on the rails, coupled with solid performance on the jumps; her 720 and massive rodeo 5 critical on the final two jumps were stellar. Way to send it, Dara.
But none could contend with Ms. Keri Herman today. Keri opened her first run with a lipslide onto the first down rail, followed up with a slide to switch on the “bus stop” feature and stomped a switch cork 7 safety, switch cork 5 Japan and a 540 true tail on the jumps. The judges awarded Keri an even 87.0 for her efforts, and the score proved to hold up through the remainder of the competition. Keri is always ecstatic, so you can only imagine her excitement upon taking the win today. Well done, Keri.
Just missing the podium today was Norwegian Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen. Tiril earned the highest score of the morning’s qualifier, an 89.0, but was unable to match her qualifying performance in the finals. Landing in fifth today was 2012 Skier of the Year, Kaya Turski—a surprise to many, as Kaya is always a favorite to podium.
Speaking with Keri Herman and Anna Segal
On the men’s side, James “Woodsy” Woods of the UK topped the field while Russ Henshaw (AUS) and Alex-Beaulieu-Marchand, a.k.a ABM, (CAN) placed second and third, respectively. ABM went down on his first run, but was able to stomp an outstanding run on his second go-round. ABM’s run consisted of a lip 270 onto the down-bar up top, a blindside cork 630 off the up-rail, a right 9 lead tail, switch double 9 truckdriver and a double cork 9 safety. ABM’s run was ultra smooth and stylish, earning loud applause from spectators who lined the side of the slope course.
Landing in second place today was Russ Henshaw, who is hot off a win at the Dew Tour in December. Henshaw was excited to reach the podium again today, as he indicated he’d taken some heat for winning in less than stellar conditions at Dew. Henshaw’s run consisted of a lip 270 on, 270 out of the down-bar up top, a switch 270 on, 270 off the “bus stop,” a double cork 10 tail, rightside double cork 12 mute and a switch double cork 12 mute to close. Henshaw’s performance should extinguish any doubt people may have had following Dew. Henshaw is at the top of his game, and his game is damn good. Expect Henshaw to display this consistency through X Games and beyond.
Finishing first today was the UK’s own James Woods. Thursday’s top qualifier, many had their eyes on Woods today, expecting big things. After bobbling a bit on his first run, the pressure was on for Woodsy. The last competitor to drop, Woodsy was all that stood between Henshaw and another contest win. With a run consisting of a switch tails-over 450 onto the down-bar up top, a blind 450 out of the up-rail, a switch right cork 9 mute, left double 10 safety to Japan and a rightside double cork 12 truckdriver, Woods garnered a score of 93.4, enough to edge Henshaw out of the top spot. While Woods’ run was certainly technical, it was perhaps his incredibly smooth style that sealed the deal for the judges. A humble competitor and a class act, it’s always nice to see Woodsy in the top spot. Congratulations on a job well done, James.
Speaking w/ James Woods, Russ Henshaw and Alex Beaulieu-Marchand
And with that, the 2013 US Grand Prix at Copper comes to a close. Big thanks go out to all those who contributed in making this weekend rock hard.
Miss the action today? Today’s competition will be broadcast on the NBC Sports Network on Saturday, Jan. 19 @ 2:00-3:00 p.m. MT. Curious about upcoming events? Check out the 2013 event calendar.
Fantasy Freeride players are paying close attention to this weekend’s contest. For all things Fantasy related, check out fantasyfreeride.com.
US GRAND PRIX MEN’S SLOPESTYLE FINAL RESULTS
1. James Woods — 93.4
2. Russel Henshaw — 92.2
3. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand — 90.4
4. Bobby Brown — 89.4
5. Nick Goepper — 89.0
6. Johan Berg — 85.4
7. Alex Schlopy — 84.2
8. Sammy Carlson — 83.6
9. PK Hunder — 83.2
10. Lauri Kivari — 78.4
11. McRae Williams —68.2
12. Alex Bellemare — 63.0
US GRAND PRIX WOMEN’S SLOPESTYLE FINAL RESULTS
1. Keri Herman — 87.0
2. Dara Howell — 85.8
3. Anna Segal — 85.0
4. Tiril Sjåstad Christiansen — 83.4
5. Kaya Turski — 81.2
6. Ashley Battersby — 76.6
7. Yuki Tsubota — 74.8
8. Jamie Crane-Mauzy — 73.4
9. Jessica Breda — 70.8
10. Reiko Oka — 65.6
11. Rose Battersby — 32.4
12. Eveline Bhend — 16.0