By James Sullivan – There’s a saying in New England. If you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes, because it’s guaranteed to change. And while they say that, too, in Hawai'i, this certainly has been the story at Mount Snow, Vermont, today at the Men's and Women's Snowboard Superpipe Prelims. Thankfully it was brilliantly sunny with no wind, much to the relief of the competitors vying for a spot in Sunday’s Final.
Among the women, Vermont locals Hannah Teter and Kelly Clark led the charge, imaginably comfortable on their home turf. Clark, who grew up riding Mount Snow, received throngs of family and friends, a turn-out which no doubt propelled her trademark amplitude and her second place score of 86.25. Teter, who grew up just up the road in Belmont, prepared for her day on the hill in traditional Vermont fashion: “I woke this morning and had my pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup and that just got everything started off on the right foot.” Her footing was certainly served well because she sealed her top-qualifying position with a second-run score of 92.50. Those are some high numbers, and here's how she earned 'em: a strong straight air into a frontside 5 to backside 5, followed by a frontside 7 and cab 7.
Following the ladies, the men took to the pipe in two qualifying rounds that lasted well over an hour. The field of 19 fought for only nine slots as three riders -Shaun White, Scotty Lago and Danny Davis - had previously qualified from their top finish at the Breck Dew Tour last month.
Two stories really dominated the day. First was the high-powered showing of all the young-up and-comers. Riders like Zach Black, Ben Watts, Brennen Swansen and Matt Ladley to name a few. Leading the young talent were Dylan Bidez and Greg Bretz who finished first and second respectively. Bretz has been explosive at each competition he's entered throwing technical combination with lots of pop and amplitude--today was no different. Bidez landed "the run of my life" that included a back-to-back 9s followed by a front 7 tail to cab 10 and capped with a super smooth alley-oop. Asked about taking his momentum into Sunday's final he chose to focus on scale, "Amplitude's what really gets me going, so if I can keep going big I think I'll do pretty well. "
The second story among the men was the fact that all the Frends Crew -- Mason Aguirre, Luke Mitrani and Kevin Pearce -- all scored over 80 enabling them to join fellow Frends Lago and Davis in Sunday's Final. (one FREND who's not competing is Kier Dillon; instead, he can be found behind the mic, doing coverage for Fuel TV.)
Commenting on the result, Aguirre sounded relived. "I'm stoked all the Frends are in the finals. It's my first final this year in pipe, so I'm looking forward to riding on Sunday and hopefully doing well."
SNOWBOARD SUPERPIPE MEN'S PRELIM RESULTS
1st - Dylan Bidez - 94.00
2nd - Greg Bretz - 90.25
3rd - Mason Aguirre - 88.00
4th - Steve Fisher - 85.75
5th - Luke Mitrani - 84.75
6th - Kevin Pearce - 84.50
7th - Charles Reid - 77.50
8th - Elijah Teter - 75.75
9th - Matt Ladley - 75.50
10th - Roger Kleivdal - 74.50
11th - Zachary Black - 74.25
12th - Jarret John Thomas - 72.50
13th - Brennen Swanson - 70.75
14th - Ben Watts - 66.25
15th - Broc Waring - 57.50
16th -Torstein Horgmo - 46.25
17th - Ross Baker - 43.50
18th - Jake Baker - 39.00
19th - Danny Kass - 18.00
SNOWBOARD SUPERPIPE WOMEN'S PRELIM RESULTS
1st - Hannah Teter - 92.50
2nd - Kelly Clark - 86.25
3rd - Ellery Hollingsworth - 77.25
4th - Kjersti Østgaard Buaas - 71.50
5th - Kaitlyn Farrington - 70.50
6th - Charmaine Ironside - 63.00
7th - Elizabeth Beerman - 59.00
8th - Elena Hight - 41.00
9th - Molly Aguirre - 22.00