WHITE AND LIU WIN THE SPRINT U.S. GRAND PRIX! © World Snowboard Tour 2012
It couldn’t have been a more perfect day for the last 5star event on the North American World Snowboard Tour schedule; the rider field was packed, as were the viewing areas.
U.S Sprint Grand Prix Men's Podium
Shaun White, who won gold in last week’s 6Star X Games event was able to score an impressive 97.25 to take home another win. White’s second run in the Park City Mountain Resort pipe was both massive and technical. It included his huge signature backside air on his first hit followed by a frontside double cork 1080 into cab double cork 1080 to a very stylish front 5 stalefish. On his last two hits he threw down a flawless backside double mctwist 1260 and an alley-oop rodeo 540.
A fall in White’s first run had Scotty Lago sitting in the top spot until the last run of the day; White’s run. “The hard part was that the frontside wall has a lot of vert on it.” Said Shaun about the fall, “it kept putting me at the bottom of the landing, it kills your speed, kills your motivation so after I planted my face on that double mctwist I vowed never to do that again.”
Scotty Lago’s second place run consisted of a cab double cork 1080 to a frontside 540 to a backside 900 mute into a frontside 900 nose to a backside 540 mute. His last hit was a unique frontside 1260 truckdriver that he struggled to put down smoothly at last week’s X Games. Lago qualified into finals in the tenth position and then scored a 94.50 to put him on the podium, “I thought I really had a good shot today, that was the closest I have been to him in a while” Lago said about his run and White’s win. With Lago’s second place finish he was able to move into second place in the World Snowboard Tour rankings for halfpipe.
Luke Mitrani was able to better his fourth place qualification score to round out the podium in third place. Mitrani started things out with a backside indy into a frontside double cork 1080 followed by a cab double cork 1080 into a frontside 9 tail. He finished off his run with a perfectly executed double michaelchuck. With Mitrani on the podium and Greg Bretz and Louie Vito following closely behind it made for an impressive top five sweep for the USA.
The 20-year-old Chinese native, Jiayu Liu, topped the podium for the women and became the first athlete from China to ever win a Grand Prix event. An impressive 82.00 on her second run narrowly edged out Arielle Gold and Kaitlyn Farrington for the top spot. Liu did a massive frontside indy to a backside method into a frontside 540 stale followed by a backside 540 mute to a frontside 720 melon and finally a cab 720. Liu was in second place behind Kelly Clark coming into finals, but with Clark unable to land her runs cleanly it allowed Liu to push her way to the lead.
USA’s Arielle Gold scored an 80.25 and earned second place with her run. “I landed a run that I felt pretty good about, but I know I could have done better,” she said about her performance. “In practice I shinned myself pretty hard on the coping and it made me a bit timid during the contest,” she explained. Her run consisted of a method on the first hit followed by a frontside 540 stale, a backside 540 mute and a frontside air into a backside tailgrab a frontside 720 mute and a cab 720 mute. Although Gold made it into second place, it was not enough to keepKelly Clark from taking the number one spot on the World Snowboard Tour rankings for women’s halfpipe.
In third was the injured Kaitlyn Farrington who was riding with a broken hand. “I had surgery two Mondays ago on my wrist and got my stitches out yesterday,” she said. Even with her injury Farrington’s second run scored a 73.25 – good enough for third. Her run included a backside 900, an alley-oop 540 with an indy grab, a backside 540 tail grab and a frontside 540 which she followed up with a backside method and a frontside 720.
Now that the halfpipe athletes are done here in North America until the 6Star Burton Open on February 25th, athletes will migrate to Laax, Switzerland to compete in the 6Star Burton European Open that takes place on February 4th to 9th.
1. Jiayu Liu CHN 82.00
2. Arielle Gold USA 80.25
3. Kaitlyn Farrington USA 73.25
4. Zhifeng Sun CHN 68.50
5. Ellery Hollingsworth USA 68.00
6. Kelly Clark USA 55.75
1. Shaun White USA 97.25
2. Scotty Lago USA 94.50
3. Luke Mitrani USA 91.75
4. Greg Bretz USA 89.00
5. Louie Vito USA 87.25
6. Scott James AUS 82.75
7. Ben Ferguson USA 80.00
8. Dimi DE Jong NED 58.75
9. Yiwei Zhang CHN 54.25
10. Ben Kilner GBR 51.00
11. Taylor Gold USA 45.50
12. Zachary Black USA 39.00
Check out the event profile here: Sprint U.S. Grand Prix
Check out the photo gallery here: Sprint U.S. Grand Prix