The first stop of the 2013 The North Face Park and Pipe Open Series (PPOS) kicked off today at Copper Mountain amid light snowfall, and the occasional strong wind gust. Despite less than optimal conditions, three heats of men and one large group of women took to the 22′ U-ditch, throwing down in the hopes of advancing to Sunday’s final round.
This event marks the first AFP sanctioned competition in the U.S. for the 2013 season. Additionally, this PPOS stop is an FIS sanctioned Nor-Am Cup event, with athletes earning FIS points that count toward a potential Olympic berth in 2014.
Big-name pros—like Hall, Riddle, Dorey, Olenick, Margetts, Wells (x4) and many more—joined dozens of up-and-comers today. Sharing the same battleground, some were on the prowl for those coveted FIS points—and perhaps a bit of competition practice leading up to next week’s Dew Tour at Breckenridge—while others competed to gain AFP points, also invaluable, as many of skiing’s biggest events—like X Games and Dew Tour—base invitations largely on AFP standings.
Checking in with Tanner Hall, day one of The North Face PPOS at Copper Mountain.
Of the 60+ men and 20+ women who competed today, only 16 and 12 advanced to the finals, respectively. On the men’s side, the standout athlete on the day was Mike Riddle—who stomped two flawless, and completely different runs. For his efforts, Riddle logged the highest score of the day, an even 87.
On the women’s side it was Angeli VanLaanen who stole the show, stomping two clean runs, and going huge on each and every hit. Angeli earned the highest score on the women’s side—an 85.6—a feat made more impressive by the fact that this is only her second competition in the past three years, following a difficult bout with Lyme Disease.
“Winter came to visit today. It was amazing to have snow falling on us, however it made for some variable conditions,” said Angeli after her second run. “I’m feeling super solid, getting the amplitude that I used to, which feels amazing, and just going to keep adding some tricks in!” Great to see you back in form, Angeli.
While Riddle and VanLaanen had a good day, they’ll have to hold off a handful of hungry, talented skiers tomorrow in the final.
Missing the cut today—just barely—were perennial heavy hitters Justin Dorey, Benoit Valentin and Jossi Wells. All three showed promise during the various practice sessions, but failed to put a run together when it counted. Keep an eye out for these guys next week in Breckenridge, as they’re all confirmed to compete at the Dew Tour.
The North Face PPOS features four stops this season: Whistler Blackcomb, BC, from January 14-17 (HP + SS); Waterville Valley, NH, on February 23 (RJ + BA); Northstar, CA, March 8-10 (SS). The Northstar stop is also a sanctioned FIS Nor-Am Cup event.
Stay tuned for a recap following tomorrow’s final. Also, be sure to check out our article on “how to do an open event” for info about open freeskiing events and their role in the grand scheme.
To see the current AFP standings, click here. To see the current FIS standings, click here.
1. Matt Margetts — 85.2
2. Aaron Blunck — 79.0
3. Brian Kish — 75.2
4. Beau-James Wells — 71.4
1. Alex Ferreira — 82.2
2. Byron Wells — 79.6
3. Peter Crook — 76.0
4. Walter Wood — 75.6
1. Mike Riddle — 87.0
2. Gus Kenworthy — 83.0
3. Christian Allen — 80.6
4. Kyle Smaine — 79.2
Next four highest scores from all three heats (also advance):
1. Tanner Hall — 78.6
2. Nils Lauper — 76.0
3. Joffrey Pollet-Villard — 75.6
4. Frederick Iliano — 75.2
1. Angeli VanLaanen — 85.6
2. Maddie Bowman — 84.8
3. Keltie Hansen — 83.2
4. Saori Suzuki — 83.0
5. Janina Kuzma — 77.8
6. Jamie Crane-Mauzy — 77.6
7. Annalisa Drew — 76.0
8. Anais Caradeux — 75.8
9. Katrien Aerts — 75.6
10. Rowan Cheshire — 71.6
11. Megan Gunning — 71.6
12. Kimmy Sharp — 68.8
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