Amid light snowfall this morning, 16 men and eight women took to the slopestyle course at Copper Mountain. Despite some issues with speed, the competitors put on a great show as they threw down in hopes of securing a podium finish, plus those coveted points towards potential Olympic berths; this first stop of the 2013/14 Grand Prix marks the second of five Olympic qualifying events to grace U.S. soil this season.
When it was all said and done, it was Norway’s Andreas Håtveit who finished first among the men, and Canada’s Dara Howell who secured the win on the ladies’ side.
Håtveit’s winning run consisted of a switch lip 270 on, blind 2 out of the down-flat-down; super-Fed on the down rail; a switch 3 double bonk on the lollipop jib; and a switch wobble 9, double 10 and right 12 on the jumps. “Dre’s” podium today marks his return to his oh-so-consistent ways. Last week, at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, Håtveit failed to reach the finals; prior to Dew, he qualified for the finals in every single contest that he entered for a span of eight years.
“It’s amazing, I can’t believe it,” Andreas said about his big win. “I came into this contest… the course didn’t really fit what I wanted to do, so I had to do a mellower run than what I really wanted. I just tried to ski clean and have fun, and I had a blast, this is the most fun I’ve had in a while, just not being scared of my tricks and just shreddin’.”
Andreas Håtveit re: winning Grand Prix at Copper
Behind Håtveit on the podium was none other than Nick Goepper—winner of last week’s slopestyle contest at the Dew Tour. While Nick was disappointed not to have continued his winning streak (prior to Dew, he took first in both the Winter Games NZ and The North Face Freeski Open of New Zealand), he received a sweet consolation prize in the form of a locked spot on the first-ever US Olympic freeskiing team.
Nick Goepper re: securing spot on US Olympic team
In third was Australia’s Russ Henshaw; this marks the second straight podium finish for Russ, as he placed third at the Dew Tour. Earlier this week, amid the slopestyle qualifier here at Copper, Henshaw spoke to us about the rigors of the current (busy) competition schedule: you can listen to the sound bite here.
On the ladies’ side, Canadian Dara Howell topped the field with a run that consisted of a switch-on to the flat-down box up top; a backside 270 out of the rainbow box; front 270 out of the cannon; and a switch cork 5 safety, cork 7 safety and a flat 5 bow and arrow on the jumps. After finishing sixth at the Dew Tour last week, this win certainly provides a big confidence boost.
Dara Howell re: winning Grand Prix at Copper
In second for the ladies was 16-year-old Darian Stevens. Prior to today, Darian’s best finish came in 2012 when she earned a sixth place finish in slopestyle at the US Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain. Behind Darian, in third, was “G Baby” Grete Eliassen; Grete finished third in Friday’s qualifier, as well, and that day, we spoke with her about her nasty crash at Dew and her recent Instagram milestone: surpassing 10K followers.
Finishing fourth for the women was 15-year-old Maggie Voisin. After finishing first in Friday’s qualifier, Maggie was unable to repeat that success today. Nevertheless, the Whitefish, Montana native is turning heads, and she remains a strong contender for a spot on the US Olympic team.
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 slopestyle at Copper, 2013
1. Andreas Håtveit (NOR) 92.80
2. Nick Goepper (USA) 89.20
3. Russ Henshaw (AUS) 87.80
4. McRae Williams (USA) 84.20
5. Bobby Brown (USA) 82.20
6. Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (CAN) 82.00
7. Gus Kenworthy (USA) 82.00
8. Tom Wallisch (USA) 81.40
9. Antti Ollila (FIN) 80.00
10. Elias Ambühl (SUI) 77.40
11. James Woods (GBR) 72.80
12. Joss Christensen (USA) 72.20
13. Alex Schlopy (USA) 67.00
14. Oscar Wester (SWE) 61.00
15. Kai Mahler (SUI) 60.40
16. Jesper Tjäder (SWE) 57.00
Women’s final results, Grand Prix slopestyle at Copper, 2013
1. Dara Howell (CAN) 87.60
2. Darian Stevens (USA) 85.40
3. Grete Eliassen (USA) 83.40
4. Maggie Voisin (USA) 80.00
5. Lisa Zimmermann (GER) 78.20
6. Nicki Blackall (CAN) 71.20
7. Keri Herman (USA) 37.00
8. Alexi Micinski (USA) 29.80