Aspen/Snowmass Open Superpipe Qualifiers Go Off

Aspen/Snowmass Open Superpipe Qualifiers Go Off

Every year, a couple weeks after a little event called the X Games leaves Aspen, CO, the fine folks at Aspen/Snowmass repurpose the course for another event of their own, called the Aspen/Snowmass Open. The Aspen Open has really grown to be one of the larger (if not the largest in North America) open events left around. With the US Open defunct and the Opens tour gone, Aspen/Snowmass has not only filled a need, but filled it with an X Games caliber course.

Today marked the first official day of competition, as the superpipe hopefuls got their teeth cut where not 2 weeks ago, names like Dumont, Rolland, Olenick and Wells took to the skies, breaking records and winning medals. Mother nature decided to throw a curveball today, dumping snow in practice, effectively negating it, then opening up her warm bosom and spreading the sunny warmth of the sun onto the pipe for the remainder of the day. With four heats of nearly 100 athletes, the judges had their work cut out for them.

Heat 1: While it was speculated that Heat 1 had the weakest field, that didn’t stop Andre Simonpietri and Marshall Lacroix from representing their hood. Simonpietri has been slowly making a name for himself, while Lacroix took alley oop flatpsins higher in the air and lower to the flatbottom than anyone could have imagined. The rest of the heat was filled with youngster and up-and-comers, with guys like Beau James Wells and Colin Cambell doing their thing.

Heat 1 Qualifiers:
1) Andre Simonpietri
2) Marshall Lacroix
3) Colin Campbell
4) Scott Nelson
5) Beau James Wells
6) Brett Weiss
7) Casey Sellingham

Heat 2: Walter Wood recorded the highest score of the day, as he is one of the more experienced pipe skiers in his heat (and the whole field). Walter’s spinning and grabbing combinations clearly pleased the judges and he handily won the heat. Last week’s Gatorade Free Flow Tour Winner, Torin Yater-Wallace showed pipe skiing beyond his 14(?) years on this planet. And younger-than-Torin, Mitch Gilman represented the middle-school crowd today boosting his first hit and wearing a suit that was bright enough to blind people. No big surprises here: the bigger names moved on and the up-and-comers were up-and-coming.

Heat 2 Qualifiers:
1) Walter Wood
2) Torin Yater-Wallace
3) James Machon
4) Tai Barrymore
5) Sandy Boville
6) Mitch Gilman
7) Justin Mayers

Heat 3: What heat 3 lacked was any dedicated and experienced pipe skiers, but what it did have was a shit ton of talented kids that are starting to get their feet wet in the pipe and are steadily making progress. Telluride’s Gus Kenworthy took this heat with style and technicality (and a possible bomb threat to the judges?). In seriousnees, Kenny G laid it down, claiming first like he was meant to. Mike Mertion followed Kenny, with his big back of tricks and even bigger bag of style. Jon Anders Lindstad flew all the way from Norway to land his first run and Billy Mann, hot off his GFFT experience last week also pushed his way to the top 7 of the heat. Other notable: Joss Christensen, made it in.

Heat 3 Qualifiers:
1) Gus Kenworthy
2) Mike Mertion
3) Jon Anders Lindstad
4) Billy Mann
5) Colin Vaykovich
6) Joss Christensen
7) Geoff Straight

Heat 4: Some people were whispering that Heat 4 was the most stacked with talent. While that fact cannot be every known, what the crowd saw was Byron Wells [of Lobster Face, PhD fame] took the heat down with his massive airs and smooth style. Keeping the technical trickery under the belt, Wells soared so high into the air, he might have had trouble breathing. Brian Kish’s alley oop 900 tail grabs were a sight to behold. Noah Bowman continued to drive his train into the heart of pipe skiing. Karl Fostvedt took time off the slope course to do some switch hits in the pipe and Kyle Smaine claimed his run like a pro (and yes, he did make it).

Heat 4 Qualifiers:
1) Byron Wells
2) Brian Kish
3) Noah Bowman
4) Karl Fostvedt
5) Patrick Baskins
6) Tyler Peterson
7) Evan Schwartz

So, here’s the deal, the top 7 from each heat advance, with the next top 5 scores overall advancing, for a total of 33 men in tomorrow’s semi-finals, which will then be culled further into a finals list. Who will do well tomorrow Only time will tell, here at the Aspen/Snowmass Open, presented by Skullcandy. Stay tuned.

Last Chance Qualifiers:
1) Kristopher Atkinson
2) Andy Patridge
3) Ryan Howsley
4) Kyle Smaine
5) Matthew Mailoux

Disclaimer: I’m not a judge or an event person, the last chance qualifers could be slightly off

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