Words by Buck Z.
Photos by Mike Eddington
Video by Gary Jones
With a cold front predicted to move into the Park City area around Saturday night and three of the world's greatest halfpipe skiers- Simon Dumont, Dave Crichton and Tanner Hall all out with injuries- the World Superpipe Championships definitely did not sound like a place many people wanted to be on Sunday. But then again, since when has the weatherman ever been able to predict weather, and since when have young skiers not stepped up in the absence of greats?
The sky turned out to be bluebird and the fourteen invited skiers competing for $30,000 American dollars went off, and many spectators saw some of the best halfpipe skiing to date. Practice started off slow with only about three competitors hitting the pipe until almost eleven. Then slowly but surely the rest of the field joined in and began a massive pipe slaying. Immediately the standouts of the day started to show up- Corey Vanular throwing huge tens at the bottom of the pipe, Stefan Thomas going seven to alley-oop switch seven, and Scott Hibbert airing huge alley-oop nines on his first hit.
Before the contest even started we all got a sneak peak at the next generation of pipe riders. The forerunners, Josiah Wells (14) and younger brother Byron Wells (12), from New Zealand, along with Alex Dillard (17) of Park City threw it down. Dillard was boosting at least twelve feet on his first hit and both the Wells brothers were throwing huge cork nines and knarley flairs. Unfortunately Silas Miller was injured, so with a little bit of rule bending, amateur and 14 year old ripper Josiah Wells was extended an invitation to the WSC. He did anything but disappoint with back-to-back flairs, two cork nines and a right side five he earned a very respectable eighth place.
He who sits in the heavens shall laugh. -Psalms 2:4
But today belonged to a more seasoned veteran with too many third place finishes to count and too many really bright outfits. During the morning practice session Jon Olsson told me that he was not really feeling the pipe, but that didn't stop him from taking home $15,000 and beating out Park City local Stefan Thomas by five points. Throwing down super stylie cork nines, flairs and a huge ten eighty at the bottom, Jon was cleaner than Britney Spears before her first album debut, and was one happy Swede receiving his check. When asked about his victory after many close calls Jon only had to say, "This was good practice until all the guys come back."
Though Jon took home the majority of the cash, that didn't stop the rest of pack from chasing him like wild dogs. Park City Local Stefan Thomas was going huge and stomping super clean fives, and arguably had the best combo of the day with a cork seven to switch alley-oop seven. An unbelievably tough decision for the judges came about when deciding who took home third place, and with three people all tied with the same score of 83.3, they went to the next best run. Andy Woods left with $4,000, Sean Field with $2,000 and John Spriggs with $1,000. All three were going off all day, dropping huge nines, cork fives and a few tens, but it was Woods's fluidity that brought home third place with his super tweaked out grabs.
The Lord foils the plans of the nations; he thwarts the purposes of the peoples. But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations. -Jon Olsson 33:10,11
Good crashes were had by all today, and Hibbert, not wanting to let anyone surpass him in this category, unfortunately decked out hard on one of his alley-oop nines, but showed the crowd that he too knows how to progress in the pipe by matching Thomas's seven to switch alley-oop seven. Bibby hit the deck harder than most crashing on all three of his runs. But it was Brent Adams that took the day with a huge cork nine to face plant on the side of the wall. Luckily he got up skied away and finished off his runs. The whole day was insane and Park City really brought out the stops for everyone involved, the rest of the results are as follows.
1) Jon Olsson (Watch run)
2) Stefan Thomas (Watch run)
3) Andy Woods (Watch run)
4) Sean Field
5) John Spriggs
6) Corey Vanular
7) JP Solberg
8) Josiah Wells
9) John Symms
10) Ryan McPherson
11) Brent Abrams
12) Scott Hibbert
13) Greg Tuffelmire
14) Josh Bibby
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Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. -1 Josh Bibby 13:6
Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. -Matthew 5:16
Cameramen have a tough time keeping up with Sean Field.
For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? -Corey Vanular 16:26
God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. -Stefan Thomas 5:8
As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. -Sean Field 23:7
Go, and do thou likewise. -Andy Woods 10:37
A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. -Luke 12:15
"I wonder if I could smoke out of this?"bailer is the winner of the caption contest! Thanks for your submissions!