Ayana Onozuka tastes victory amid inclement weather at the Mammoth Grand Prix

Ayana Onozuka tastes victory amid inclement weather at the Mammoth Grand Prix

In our beloved sport, snowstorms are (typically) the the crème de la crème. As skiers, we live for snow days and we dream of fresh coats of fine flakes day-in and day-out. However, when it comes to competition time for park-specific skiers, there’s almost nothing worse than Mother Nature’s sweet fruit falling from the sky.

It’s true, snow is necessary in order to build massive table tops, shape steep landings and cut perfect twenty-two-foot halfpipes. However, snowstorms present numerous problems for the daredevils that lap the terrain park. For example: poor visibility, inconsistent speed and unexpected wind.

After yesterday’s qualifying round at the 2016 U.S. Grand Prix event at Mammoth Mountain the stage was set for quite the show. Six of the best females and ten of the best male halfpipe skiers on the globe woke up this morning to compete for a spot on the coveted Grand Prix podium and a chance to score some of the hefty cash. However, when a storm rolled into the Sierra Mountains this morning, the day of competition took a turn for the worse.

The sixteen skiers (six women and ten men) braved the less-than-ideal conditions and took to the pipe in a best-of-two run format. (Because let’s be real. These skiers are the best at their craft. Sometimes the going gets tough and you have to send it anyway). The ladies dropped in first, and after completing one run, the leaderboard looked like this: Ayana Onozuka (1), Devin Logan (2), Janina Kuzma (3).


Skier: Devin Logan. Photo courtesy of USSA

Following the ladies’ first run, it was the men’s turn to throw down in their first of two (scheduled) go-rounds with the frosty pipe.

Then, this happened…

The first six of the ten scheduled male riders made their way through the pipe before high winds and snow squalls forced multiple course holds, leaving one option for the event organizers: postpone the event. One hour later, the athletes, coaches, event staff and spectators convened once again at the pipe. But, after three athletes dropped, with one taking a nasty fall, the judges and crew decided to postpone the event once again—this time until the following day.

Note: This decision was made with athlete safety as the priority.

However, the day was not a complete wash. Instead, it actually proved to be quite successful for some. Since the ladies completed one run of finals, according to USSA rules, the run would serve as the official results for the competition, leaving Ayana Onozuka as the 2016 Mammoth U.S. Grand Prix halfpipe champion, with Devin Logan in second and Janina Kuzma in third place.

Watch: Devin Logan gives her thoughts on the weather-stricken comp

We’d like to congratulate Onozuka on her second victory this winter. Also, Devin Logan on her first podium of the season and Kuzma for taking third place. We’d also like to give props to the athletes for braving the pipe in inclement weather. And lastly, cheers to the entire USSA / U.S. Freeskiing group for handling the event with care, and supporting the athletes that put it all on the line week-in and week-out.

Women’s Grand Prix Halfpipe Results

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The men’s halfpipe finals have been postponed until tomorrow, January, 23. Be sure to follow FREESKIER on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat (username: freeskier_mag).

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