Copper Mountain enjoyed heavy snowfall last night, and with massive lights illuminating the large, falling flakes and the oh-so-spectacular 22′ superpipe, the scene set for the men’s and women’s Grand Prix halfpipe finals was best described as a winter wonderland. With two runs each to log a solid score, competitors threw down in hopes of bagging a podium spot—and the accompanying bragging rights—along with coveted points toward potential Olympic berths; this Grand Prix marks the second of five Olympic qualifying events to grace U.S. soil this season.
At the end of the night, it was 17-year-old, and Crested Butte’s own Aaron Blunck who topped the podium on the men’s side, and Carmel, California’s Brita Sigourney who earned top honors for the women. For Blunck, this marked his second podium in as many weeks, as he took second at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge. That story rings true for Sigourney, as well, as she finished third at Dew, behind fellow US athlete, Maddie Bowman.
Blunck’s winning run—his second run of the night—consisted of a right dub 12 to open, left 10, switch right 7, alley-oop flat 5 and rightside 10 to close. As soon as Blunck put the landing gear down on that right 10, the show of emotion was inspiring, to say the least.
Following the contest, an ecstatic Blunck told me, “I can’t even, explain to you how, stoked I am right now. Words are, not even, com… flowing out of my mouth right now, clearly, like, ugh. I don’t even know what to say, I’m so stoked.”
Aaron Blunck re: winning Grand Prix pipe at Copper
On the women’s side, Sigourney’s winning run consisted of a lofty alley-oop Japan to open, a left 900, alley-oop 5, left 5 tail, right 5 and 7 tail to close. Sigourney matched technicality and solid grabs with sound amplitude, earning her the nod from the judges. Her performance is all the more impressive given the challenging skiing conditions.
Speaking to that challenge, Sigourney explained, “We just had to make the most of it, everyone was dealing with the same conditions, it was definitely dumping all day, I was worried about a slow pipe. But, it wasn’t too bad, just a bit of chunder in the bottom, and we all made it through.”
Brita Sigourney and Maddie Bowman check in from Grand Prix
From here, competitors will enjoy a break for the holidays before jumping into the next Olympic qualifier: the Grand Prix at Breckenridge; that event was previously slated to take place on the slopes of Northstar-at-Tahoe, but fears of inadequate conditions prompted a sudden change of plan.
Men’s final results, Grand Prix halfpipe at Copper, 2013
1. Aaron Blunck (USA) 92.00
2. Kevin Rolland (FRA) 90.20
3. Gus Kenworthy (USA) 90.00
4. Justin Dorey (CAN) 86.20
5. Simon Dumont (USA) 85.00
6. Alex Ferreira (USA) 84.40
7. Mike Riddle (CAN) 80.40
8. Lyman Currier (USA) 78.80
9. Antti-Jussi Kemppainen (FIN) 78.40
10. Matt Margetts (CAN) 75.60
11. Nils Lauper (SUI) 71.80
12. Lyndon Sheehan (NZL) 68.40
Women’s final results, Grand Prix halfpipe at Copper, 2013
1. Brita Sigourney (USA) 86.60
2. Maddie Bowman (USA) 83.20
3. Marie Martinod (FRA) 78.80
4. Devin Logan (USA) 76.80
5. Annalisa Drew (USA) 72.00
6. Anais Caradeux (FRA) 69.80
7. Ayana Onozuka (JPN) 69.20
8. Angeli Vanlaanen (USA) 67.40
9. Mirjam Jaeger (SUI) 66.20
10. Rowan Cheshire (GBR) 64.80
11. Katrien Aerts (BEL) 60.60
12. Megan Gunning (CAN) 52.60