The US Freeskiing Grand Prix kicks off the myriad storylines leading up to the 2018 Olympics. This is the first of 5 qualifying events. For once, the weather in Colorado for an early season comp was nice, with a mild wind blowing across the pipe. Five American women qualified to today’s finals, Devin Logan, Britta Sigourney, Maddie Bowman, Annalisa Drew, & Carly Margulies. On the men's side of things, David Wise joined Torin Yater-Wallace, Aaron Blunck & Birk Irving in the finals. For these Americans, two podium finishes in the qualifying events gives them one of three spots (for each gender) on the Olympic team.
Women's Run #1 Highlights:
Maddie Bowman: Showed in her first run that she can certainly spin more than almost any other women’s pipe skier in the world. Spinning like a top, she exclaimed “I need to go bigger” at the conclusion of her run. A lack of grabs seems to have hurt her score, keeping it in the 70s.
Marie Martino: Both wall flairs, locked grabs in.
DLO: Pretty steezy but nothing over 7 & lacked amplitude.
Kexin Zhang: Alley oop 3 > Switch 5 > Switch 3 was easily the most tech sequences in the first round. Apparently switch hits don't count in women's pipe?
Men's Run #1 Highlights:
Simon D'Artois: 3 dubs, first hit was a wild rotation.
Benoit Valentin: ALLEZ! Plenty of yelling in the start gate was a good reminder this is a serious sport. Went massive but 0 dubs.
Noah Bowman: RedBull helmet #1. Steezy 3, sw dub 12 to sw dub 12.
Beau James Wells: Sw drop-in to dub, dub flare to dub 12. More switch and alley-oop hits up the score a bit.
Mike Riddle: The Riddler!!! Same dub 12 he’s been doing for 4 years, and the only guy left to bow and arrow, too windy so he pulled up to keep it safe for run 3.
Torin YW: Redbull helmet #2. Huge right dub 12, ran out of pipe on his last hit and only had 5 hits while most others are going for 6.
David Wise: Switch drop-in to sw dub 10, L dub 12, R dub 12. Pole toss #1. Clinical. Classic pipe knee-grab mutes. 92, into 1st to close out round 1.
Women's Round 2:
Sabrina Cakmakli: Already qualified for the Olympics just by qualifying for this final. Crash
Carly Margulies: Young american pushing hard. First hit 9 is one of the better 1st hit tricks.
Anna Drew: Right 9 no grab to left 9 no grab & alley-oop 5
Maddie: Solid run, pretty stock. Less spinning, less air, but says it was the best run shes done in like 4 years.
DLO: Singing DMX, “X Gon' Give It To Ya". 1, 5, 5, alley-oop 5, 7, alley-oop flat5. Into 2nd.
Kexin Zhang: Alley-oop 3 lands deep in transition, rest of the run is thrown off. Shows good control/potential though.
Men's Round 2:
D'Artois: R dub 10 landed deep, R dub 12, dub flat 10 fall. Dart is in the Torin category of amplitude.
Blunck: Sw3, sw dub flare (very blind rotation), R dub 12, fist pump, but no pole spinning, he wanted it. 80.8 into 4th.
Benoit: ALLEZ ALLEZ. Almost channeling Joffrey with his boosts and smooth, smaller spins. Crash.
Noah Bowman: Steeze tweaked stale 3 into sw dub12, dub, dub, right 10 to finish. He’s a stylish one, enjoyable to watch. 91 into 2nd.
BJ Wells: Sw 5, dub 12, crash on 2nd dub
Riddle: Dub 12, alley-oop flat 3, r9, dub 10.
Torin: R 12, 1080,alley-oop dub flat 9. 87 into 4th
Birk: Cork 10, dub 10, L dub 10, dub flat 12. 3 dubs, this kid is going to be really good, although he doesn’t have the full podium level run yet.
Wise: Same run as before, crash.
Women's Round 3:
Sabrina: Washed out on trick #1.
Carly: Some bobbles and a crash.
Annalisa: Solid run, into 4th. Above all americans other than DLO. It's going to be a tight race for the Olympics where there are only 3 spots.
Maddie: R 9, L 5, R 7, 5, R 5, L9, alley-oop 5 gets her a 77 and into 5th.
Marie: Flare 5, alley-oop 5 flare, L 10 crash. She looks like the best out today, most composed runs, big airs, grabs. Still 1st though.
Men's Round 3:
Dart: R dub10 washout.
Blunck: Landed low on 2nd dub, capped blunt on his 3rd dub, final hit. Cleaned up, this is a podium contending run.
Benoit: Goes for dubs this time, crashes hard. Looks like a knee injury.
Bowman: Super clean all the way through.
Beau James: 4 dubs, dub 12 both ways, dub flare both ways. Damn.
Riddle: Into 4th, same run as forever.
Torin: Went even bigger, crashed on last hit, hard. Was down for a minute, boot skied out though.
Birk: Same run, his dub down the pipe flatspin is sick.
Wise: Victory lap.