Video: Blunck and Bowman taste victory at the 2016 Park City U.S. Grand Prix

Video: Blunck and Bowman taste victory at the 2016 Park City U.S. Grand Prix

A slew of freeskiing’s elite halfpipe athletes met atop Park City Mountain Resort (PCMR) for the second stop of the 2016 U.S. Grand Prix today. Good ol’ Mother Nature provided clear blue skies, while PCMR was sure to supply a near-perfect pipe for the hungry competitors to feast upon. After Wednesday’s qualifying rounds, the stage was set for one helluva show in today’s finals, including six women and ten men in a best-of-three run format.

The ladies kicked off today’s contest—each putting down run after run in front of the enthusiastic Park City crowd. After two laps through the pipe, Japanese skier and 2016 Mammoth U.S. Grand Prix champion Ayana Onozuka stood atop the leaderboard with a technical run filled with multiple switch hits. However, Onozuka’s score of 88.80 would only be good enough for second place today, behind none-other than Olympic champion Maddie Bowman. As the last competitor to drop, Bowman put the winning run to her feet, posting a score of 89.80 thanks to back-to-back left and right 900s and a switch left 900 to complete her run.

“Going into that third run I was just thinking ‘I needed to go out there and do the best that I could do,’” Bowman said after the competition. “Me and my coach, Ben, mixed things up my last run and put in the rightside 540 and it seemed to help.”


Photo: U.S. Freeskiing

Rounding out the top three athletes on today’s podium was French skier and Olympic medalist Marie Martinod, who posted a score of 84.20 on her first run of the event. Other notable performances shown by American Annalisa Drew, who stomped the biggest spin of the day, a left side 1080 and earning the fourth place position. Also, New Zealand-native Janina Kuzma showed consistent skiing, put three runs to her feet and earning fifth place today.

Enjoy the top three runs, as well as the women’s official results, below.

Video: Top Three Women’s Runs

Maddie Bowman – Gold

Watch Maddie Bowman’s winning run

Ayana Onozuka – Silver

Watch Ayana Onozuka’s second-place run

Marie Martinod – Bronze

Watch Marie Martinod’s third-place run

Women’s Official Results

[table id=131 /]

As for the men, today’s competition belonged to 2016 Mammoth Grand Prix medalist Aaron Blunck from the get-go. Showing great consistency and technicality as of late, Blunck was able to incorporate three demanding doubles into his high scoring run, including a switch left double cork 900 Japan, a switch right double cork 1080 opposite Japan and a right side double cork 1260 mute, earning a score of 94.20.

Note: Blunck’s run was easily one of the most impressive halfpipe runs we have seen all season long. We are thrilled to have witnessed the progression of the sport. On top of earning a win today, Blunck also secured his position as the 2016 FIS world cup halfpipe points leader, as well as the U.S. national halfpipe champion. Good on ya, Blunck-man. Congratulations from myself and the entire FREESKIER crew.

Grabbing second place on today’s podium was Frenchman Benoit Valentin. Hot off of a bronze medal performance at the 2016 winter X Games, Valentin continued his success in the pipe, putting down both way (left and right) double cork 1260s with enormous amplitude.


Photo: U.S. Freeskiing

Joining Blunck and Valentin in the top three today was ’16 X Games champion and Grand Prix top qualifier Kevin Rolland. Per usual, the French skier woo’d the crowd and the judges with monster airs and a series of big spins, including a double 1080 and a massive double cork 1260, earning a score of 88.80.

We’ve provided the top three runs, as well as the men’s official results, below. Congratulations to each of the competitors.

Video: Top Three Men’s Runs

Aaron Blunck – Gold

Watch Aaron Blunck’s winning run

Benoit Valentin – Silver

Watch Benoit Valentin’s second-place run

Kevin Rolland – Bronze

Watch Kevin Rolland’s third-place run

Men’s Official Results

[table id=130 /]

Following the event, we caught up with the 2016 U.S. Grand Prix Park City champion, Aaron Blunck. See what he had to say about his first-place day, below.

Watch Aaron Blunck discusses his first place performance

The next stop of the 2016 U.S. Grand Prix will go down next week in Boston, Massachusetts for the first-ever big air event at the historic Fenway Park. Learn more about the event, here.

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